Attaching References (Auxiliary Views)

 Product(s):Promis.e, Bentley Substation
 Area:Platform Support
 Subarea:MicroStation Support, AutoCAD Support


It is sometimes desirable to show the same devices in a given mode more than once in a project. Some examples include:

To avoid duplicated device IDs and incorrect bills of materials, reference the existing drawings instead of making copies of items or drawings. This article describes how to accomplish this using tools of the CAD platform.

In this document, "auxiliary views" will mean any additional views of items, such as detail views, side views, etc.

The techniques described can also be used to reference non-Promis.e drawings on promis.e project pages. This displays a view of the external drawing on the page with or without embedding it.

Steps to Accomplish

For Promis.e (Standalone) and Bentley Substation

Auxiliary views can be created by "attaching a reference" in MicroStation / MicroStation PowerDraft. Updates to the referenced drawing will be reflected in the drawing to which the reference is attached. A drawing can reference itself or another drawing; the process is the same.  The reference can be "clipped" so that parts of the referenced drawing are hidden.

To attach a reference:

  1. Set the Display Options as desired on the original page. Toggle the display of part numbers, connection points, insertion points, etc. so they appear as desired in the auxiliary view.
  2. Open the page that will receive the auxiliary view.
  3. Select File > References from the pull down menus.
  4. On the References dialog, select Tools > Attach.
  5. Browse to the drawing file to be referenced. Again, this can be the DGN file for the current page, a different page, or other file, including DWG and PDF files.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Configure the settings as desired on the Reference Attachment Settings dialog that appears.

    Settings of particular interest on this dialog are:

    • Scale
    • The "Treat Attachment as Element for Manipulation" option. When a reference is attached with this option enabled, the entire reference is selected when any element in the reference is selected, keeping it nicely grouped for moving or other operations.
    • Orientation.  In the Orientation box, expand Standard Views and select an alternate view if appropriate. For example, when attaching a reference in order to create a side view, the Right or Left view would probably be used instead of the Top view.

  8. Click OK.
  9. Move the inserted attachment so that the area to be depicted in the auxiliary view is in the desired location.

 To clip the referenced drawing:

  1. Using MicroStation tools such as Place Circle or Place Block, draw a shape surrounding the portion of the reference that is to be visible in the auxiliary view. This shape will be used to clip the reference. The portion of the reference outside of this shape will become hidden.
  2. Open the References dialog again, and highlight the reference.
  3. On the References dialog, select Tools > Clip Boundary.  The status bar should be prompting "Set Reference Clip > Identify Clipping Element".
  4. Select the shape drawn in step 1.

If the clip boundary shape is to be hidden, there are two common ways of approaching this:

Assign the shape to a hidden level:

  1. Create a new level named "ClipBoundary", for example, using Tools > Levels > Level Manager from the main MicroStation menus.
  2. Turn off the display of the new ClipBoundary level.
    1. Right click a column header in the Level Manager and enable the "Global Display" column.
    2. Clear the check mark in the "Global Display" column for the ClipBoundary level.
  3. Close the Level Manager.
  4. Assign the boundary shape to the hidden ClipBoundary level using Element > Information or
    Tools > Properties > Change Attributes > Change Element Attributes.

Clip with a Fence instead of shape:

  1. Use the Tools > Selection > Fence > Place Fence tool to draw a box for the clip boundary instead of drawing a boundary element.
  2. Select Tools > Clip Boundary on the References dialog.
  3. On the resulting Set Reference Clip Boundary dialog, select "Active Fence" for the Method instead of "Element".
  4. Click on the drawing area to accept. The reference will be clipped and the boundary shape will not be visible. 

Note: Toggling layers in the source drawing will not affect attached references.

To turn levels on or off in a referenced DGN file after it has been attached:

  1. Open the page that contains the reference.
  2. Open the Level Display dialog (Tools > Levels > Level Display)
  3. Change "View Display" to "Global Display"
  4. Select the desired reference in the tree. It will appear as a sub-item under the main drawing.
  5. Click the desired level to toggle it on or off.

To embed the attached file

Right-click the file in the References dialog and select Merge Into Master. When complete, the referenced file will be embedded in the DGN file, will not update when the source file is updated, and will no longer appear on the References dialog.

For promis.e AutoCAD

The appropriate method to use to create auxiliary views in AutoCAD depends on whether the source for the view is on the same drawing or a different drawing. Auxiliary views of items on the same drawing can be created by creating a new viewport. Auxiliary views of items on a different drawing can be created by creating an external reference, which can then be clipped to hide parts of the referenced drawing.

To create an auxiliary view of items on the same drawing, another viewport can be created on a layout tab:

  1. Switch to a layout tab by typing LAYOUT at the command line and then "S" for Set, then select the name of the layout.
  2. Create another viewport by typing MVIEW then drawing a box where the detail view should be.
  3. Zoom and pan while in the new viewport until it appears as desired.

The border of the viewport can be hidden by moving it to a hidden layer.

Use this LAYOUT view for plotting, but be sure to go back to the model (type MODEL) when adding items to the page because is it possible but undesirable to add components on the AutoCAD LAYOUT tab.

Consult AutoCAD Help for details about the MVIEW, LAYOUT, MODEL, and PSPACE commands.

To create an auxiliary view of items on another drawing, create an external reference:

  1. Type XREF at the command line.
  2. Select "Attach .DWG" in order to attach another promis.e page.
  3. Browse to and select the desired drawing.
  4. Select the Reference Type and Path settings.  Consult AutoCAD help to make the proper choice.
  5. Select the desired scale.
  6. Click OK and insert the referenced drawing in the proper location.

To clip an external reference:

  1. Type XCLIP at the command line.
  2.  Select the referenced drawing then right click or press Enter to end selection.
  3. Select the New Boundary option
  4. Select the type of shape the clip boundary will be.
  5. Draw the boundary.

Consult AutoCAD Help for details about the XREF and XCLIP commands.

 Original Author:Matt_P