Intro Hello, my name is Mindy Nash I am a member of your Engineering Applications Support Team, better known as east. It is my job to help you with any problems you may have regarding Engineering Software Applications

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View Groups

Hello, my name is Mindy Nash. I am a member of your Engineering Applications Support Team, better known as EAST. It is my job to help you with any problems you may have regarding Engineering Software Applications. The two biggest applications we support are MicroStation and InRoads.

Today I am going to talk to you about MicroStation View Groups.

What is a Model?

Before I dive into View Groups, I want to have a brief discussion about models.

Models were introduced in MicroStation V8. We have been using this version for quite some time, but I have noticed that Models have not been welcomed with open arms. A few disciplines have adopted their use, but not all. Models can increase your productivity if used appropriately.
A DGN file is really just a container or folder that can contain both 2D and 3D models. (A design file is also often referred to as a DGN file, since they contain much more information than just your design.) Each model is stored as an object within the DGN file and a DGN file can contain more that one model. Each model has its own set of 8 view windows. There can be only one active model at a time.
A Model is simply a container for graphical elements in an independent design cube that has its own working units. A design file must have at least one model, but can contain multiple models.
Model and View Groups go hand in hand.
What is a View Group?

A View Group is a saved arrangement of eight view windows associated with a particular model. Each view group stores the number of view windows that are open, as well as each view window’s size, location, level display settings and view attributes. A single model can have more than one view group, which allows you to set up different ways of viewing the model in each view group.

To help explain this, I will show you a little demo.
Open ViewGroups.dgn

This file only has one model, but I have created several View Groups. This one is called Top. See the word Top in the View Groups toolbar? If I click on the drop down arrow here, I can see the list of View Groups. Remember I only have one model in this file and it is called Default. So all these View Groups are associated with that one model. You can think of them as different ways of viewing the same model.

Let’s look at some of these view groups.
The one called 2 windows is just that. Two View Windows opened, both in isometric, View 1 has the View Display Mode set to Constant, while View Window 2 has the View Display Mode set to Filled Hidden Line.
4 window has, as you might suspect by the name, Four View Windows open. View 1 is oriented to top with all four levels turned on, displayed in wireframe. View 2 is isometric with level 2 toggled off and the View Display Mode set to Wiremesh. View 3 is also isometric with level 3 toggled off, and the View Display Mode set to Smooth. View 4 is again isometric, but level 4 is off while the view display mode is set to Filled Hidden Line. So levels differ from window to window, as well as the view display mode and orientation or how the model is rotated.
I already showed you Top. Here is Front. Front is just a single view window rotated to the front. Cone has the views set up to only display the cone shape at various angles. Slab is similar to cone only it displays the slab.
Each of these View Groups is associated with the model default. Different windows are open, different View Display modes are used, different levels are toggled on and off, but they are all just different ways of viewing the same model.
So now you have had a little taste of what View Groups can do. Let’s discuss some View Group basics.
Back to PP
Where is the View Group toolbar?

The View Group Toolbar is docked in the lower left corner of your MicroStation application window by default.

If you do not see it there, you can access it by selecting Window>Views>Dialog from the main MicroStation menu.

Like any toolbar, you can drag it away from the outer border and undock it. Here is what the undocked toolbar looks like.

These eight buttons on the right represent the eight possible view windows that you can have on at any one time. You can click on any one of the buttons to turn a corresponding view window on or off, additionally, you can click and drag your mouse over several buttons all at once to turn them on or off all together.
The area on the left of the view Groups toolbox has a drop down button and when you click on it, you get a list of all the View Groups that are available in the file. I want to stress the list is of all the View Groups in the file not the model. There may be View Groups from multiple models in the list. Clicking on one of the View Groups in the list switches your display to that View Group.
The button in the middle opens the Manage View Groups dialog box. This is where you can Create, Edit, or Delete view groups.
Back to MicroStation

The most common thing I see people doing while using View Groups is using the view Group toolbar to switch between models. You just click on the little drop down arrow and select one from the list. It works, but most people don’t really understand why it works, or that they are actually using a different view group that happens to be associated with a different model. The reason it works is because when you create a new model, you also create a new View Group by default.

I want to open a new file, and create some models so you can see how this works. File>New. I will call my new file something like newmodel.dgn. I will go ahead and use the 3D seed file listed here on the bottom of the dialog box, and click OK. I am now in my new file which has only one model, and one View Group. If I look at the View Group toolbar drop down, I see only one in the list, Default.
Let’s go ahead and create a new model in this file. I will open the models toolbar, and click on the first icon here, Create New Model. In the Create Model dialog box that comes up, take a look at the check box on the very bottom. It says Create a View Group, and it is checked by default. This check box is the reason you get a new View Group every time you create a model. I like to use Design from Seed, so I will select a seed file by clicking on the magnifying glass on the right hand side. For this example, I will use a 2D seed file. OK, OK one more time to accept the default model. Now I will type a name for my new model. I will call it 2D. I will select OK.
You can see in the models dialog box that I now have two models in this file. Default, and 2D. Let’s take a look at the View Groups. When I click on the drop down arrow to see the list of view groups, I can see that there is a new View Group called 2D Views. That is the name MicroStation automatically assigned to the new View Group that was created for the new model I just made. If you look at the right hand side of this list, you can see that the new View Group is associated with the new model 2D, and the View Group called Default is associated with the model Default.
Note the naming of the View Group and how it coincides with the name of the model. This is why you can easily switch models by using the drop down list from the View Groups toolbar. It is really just sort of a beneficial side effect of the tool. I can choose default from the drop down list and now I am in the default model. I can pick 2D and I am back in the 2D model.
Back to PPT

Some technical Stuff

Now we need to dig a bit deeper into the technical side of things. You probably already know that each design file must have at least one model. That model is generally the default model.

Similarly, each design file has one View Group called Default. The Default View Group is as its name suggests associated with the default model.
Creating View Groups

MicroStation has two kinds of view groups: Persistent which is permanent, and Temporary which is, well temporary. We are used to dealing with the persistent ones. Let’s explore them a bit.

Persistent View Groups

There are several ways to create a persistent view group. One I already showed you, is to leave the Create View Group check box on when you create a new model. Another is to click on the Manage View Groups button in the middle of the View Groups toolbar, the select Create View Group button, witch is the first button on the Manage View Groups dialog box. A dialog box will open that allows you to give a name and description to the new view group. You should know that any new view group is created using the current view group as a template. That means that what ever view group you are currently in will be copied to make your new one.

Out to dgn

Let me illustrate this by changing the view windows around a bit in the view group 2D Views. Let’s open all the view windows, then tile them by selecting Window>Tile from the MicroStation main menu. Now I will click on the Create View Group button from the Manage View Groups dialog box. The name suggested is a copy of the 2D Views with a -2 added to the end. That is good enough for now, so we will click OK.

We now have three view groups displayed in the Manage View Groups dialog box, or you could look in the drop down list and see all three. It doesn’t look like my display of the view windows changed. Let’s look at 2D Views, all of the view windows are opened and tiled. Once more, let’s take a look at the newly created 2D Views-2. Since it is a copy of 2D Views, it looks pretty much the same, and it is associated with the same model.
Back to PPT

Yet another way to create a view group is to import a model. When you import a model, you also import a view group with it.

And last but not least, for those of you who like key-ins, there is also key in to create a new view group, “viewgroup create [name]”.
Example 10475fd3d.dgn

Let’s look at a file that resembles something we might do in our daily work. This is an old project that was built some years ago. I will open the design file. This is typical of how a designer might work. They usually have a plan view of the project and somewhere they will have some cross sections and profiles and other design stuff. In this case they are all over here to the right of the plan view. There are several models in this file, one for contours, one for the detour work, one that has wetland stuff in it. If we look at the View Groups, we see that they have the typical one View Group per model, and now that we understand how those get created, we understand why there is one for every model, but no more.

These items here in the default model could be organized by using View Groups and greatly speed up the process of moving around in the design file. Let’s create a couple of view groups to show you how they can be used in this design file. Let’s start by creating a new view group, Manage View Groups>Create View Group, let’s call it Mainline and in the description field let’s put something like Plan, Profile, Sections. How about if we open three windows and arrange them so that mainline plan view is in view window 1, the profile is in view window 2, and the cross sections for mainline are in view window 3?
Now let’s create another View Group for P line. Create View Group, name it P line, with a description of Plan, Profile, Section. Again manipulate the contents of view window 1 to the plan view of P line, view window 2 to the profile of P line, and view window 3 to the cross sections of P line. Now we have two new View Groups that are set up so the designer can work on what ever alignment he wants by clicking on the drop down and selecting the line name.
Here is an important piece of working with view groups. Make sure you save your settings. You are probably already familiar with what File>Save settings does. It saves settings like the window arrangement, where you are zoomed in to, what levels are turned on, etc. Those are exactly the same settings that View Groups store. If you use save settings, you have been saving the settings in your view group all along. You may not have known that is what you were doing, but it is. This is another case of it works the way we want it to, but we have no idea why.
Back to PPT

Temporary View Groups

I mentioned that there are two types of view groups. Persistent, which we have just been discussing, and Temporary. Let’s discuss temporary views groups for a bit.

A Temporary view group is automatically created any time a model is made and the Create View Group check box is off. In order to see your design, there must be some kind of view group at all times.
Back to dgn

Let’s take a look at an example to help us see how this works. I’ll just stay in this file and create a new model by opening the Models dialog box and clicking on the Create new Model button. I will name it test. I will pick a 2D design seed, and toggle off the Create a View Groups check box. OK. Notice in the Manage View Groups dialog box, there is a new view group called test Temp Views, and it is associated to the new model I just created called test. MicroStation created this temporary view group so that I could see the model. You must have a view group in order to see a model.

Now if I delete this temporary model by clicking on the black X, or the delete button in the Manage View Groups dialog box, notice that two things happen. The view group is deleted which is what we wanted, but the active model has changed. I think I should point out that the model was not deleted, we can still plainly see it in the models dialog box. Just the view group was deleted, which is exactly what we told it to do.
Now if I try to open that model from the models dialog box by double clicking on it, it does open, but if you look in the Manage View Groups dialog box, you will see that a new test Temp Views view group has been created. Once again, you must have a view group to see a model. MicroStation knows this, so in order to complete your command to open the model, it creates a temporary view group.
How to make a temp view group into a persistent one.

Notice in this file there is a view group called 3D-DTM Temp Views. This looks like a temporary view group that has become a persistent one. If you save settings while you are in the temporary view group, you can cause it to become persistent. When you save the settings, MicroStation is writing down a bunch of settings as they are right now and remembering them for the next time you load this file. If you do that while you are in the temporary view group, you have essentially forced MicroStation to remember the settings in a temporary item. To do that it makes it permanent, or in the case of the view group, persistent.


That about wraps up my presentation for today. As you can see, View Groups are a powerful tool in MicroStation. By understanding how they work with your model, you’ll be incorporating them into your designs and be increasing you productivity in no time.

The last slide I have for you is some helpful links and contact information.
Now is the time for questions.
Does anyone have any questions on View Groups?
How about any questions on MicroStation in general?
Thank you all for attending my session today. Enjoy the rest of your conference.

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