Customizing the Interface - V8i

 Product(s):Promis.e, Bentley Substation
 Version(s):08.11.05.xx -
 Area:PowerPlatform Support


If using CONNECT Edition software (10.xx.xx.xx) see the [[Customizing the Interface - CONNECT Edition]] article.

This document explains how the tasks and tool boxes in Promis.e Standalone V8i and Bentley Substation V8i can be customized.

To demonstrate the techniques, this document describes how to create custom buttons on the Grid Snap Setting tool box. These techniques can be extended to create other tools and customize other tool boxes and tasks, see the Other Customizations section below.

Steps to Accomplish

Create a DGNLIB File
Create a New Tool
Add the New Tool to Tasks
Other Customizations

Create a DGNLIB File

The Promis.e/Substation tools and tasks are stored in a .DGNLIB file.  Depending on the versions of the software involved, the file name would be:

The tools and tasks in this .DGNLIB file could be modified.  However, it is better to create a new, custom file that will supersede the original. Benefits of this technique include:

To create the custom.dgnlib file:

  1. Start Promis.e or Bentley Substation as the case may be.

  2. Select Workspace > Configuration and find the MS_DGNLIBLIST variable.

  3. In the MS_DGNLIBLIST variable, make note of the path that contains "\promise\" or "\Substation\" and " *.dgnlib".  The * wildcard character means the software will find any .DGNLIB file in this path.  If there is more than one path like this, use the one containing "Workspace". If a different path than any listed is to be used for the custom.dgnlib file, it should be added to the MS_DGNLIBLIST variable.

  4. Close the Configuration dialog.

  5. Select File > New from the pull down menus.

  6. Click the down arrow on the selection box next to "Save in" and browse to the path noted in step 3.  It may be necessary to create the folders listed in the path noted in step 3 but missing from the actual file system.

  7. Leave the "Save as type" setting to "MicroStation DGN Files (*.dgn)".

  8. Enter custom.dgnlib for "File name".

  9. Click Save.

  10. The newly created custom.dgnlib file should now be open and listed in the title bar.

Note: The custom.dgnlib file may have been opened as read-only.  If the title bar of the software includes "Read-Only" along with the name of the custom .dgnlib file, use File > Open to open the file again.  Be sure the "Open as Read-Only" check box is disabled on the Open dialog whenever opening the .DGNLIB file for modification.  

Create a New Tool

Continuing with the example of the custom grid snap setting tool, this tool will be created in the Grid Snap Setting toolbox.  Depending on the type of tool being created, a different tool box may be more appropriate.  Custom tool boxes can also be created.

  1. Select Workspace > Customize or key-in customize dialog. This will open the Customize dialog.

  2. On the left, select the Tools tab and expand User Tools and Application Tools.

  3. Expand the entry in the tree for the .DGNLIB file delivered with the software (this may be PowerPromise.dgnlib, PowerSubstation.dgnlib, promiseV8i.dgnlib, etc.).  Depending on the version, this file may be found under Application Tools or User Tools.  The various tool boxes will be listed in the tree.

  4. While holding the CTRL key, drag the Display Options tool box to from the supplied .DGNLIB file to custom.dgnlib with the mouse and release.  This copies the Display Options tool box to the custom.dgnlib file.  The Display Options tool box in the custom.dgnlib file will now be used in the software instead of the one in the supplied .DGNLIB file.

    Note: Clipboard management utilities can interfere with dragging or copying of items in the Customize dialog.
  5. Collapse the supplied .DGNLIB in the tree (this may be PowerPromise.dgnlib, PowerSubstation.dgnlib, promiseV8i.dgnlib, etc.)

  6. Right-click the Grid Snap Setting tool container under custom.dgnlib > Display Options and select "New Tool".  If "New Tool" is grayed out, the .DGNLIB file was probably opened as read-only

  7. The cursor will be positioned to rename the new tool. Rename it to ".0625" and press Enter. The text entered here will be what appears on the tool box button.

  8. In the Command Data area below, set the information as follows:

    Key-in: active gridunit 0.0625
    Balloon Text: Grid 0.0625
    Associate Template: Use Current Setting
    Template Path: None

    The Key-in field is the critical field. Change the value as desired to get different grid spacing.  The Balloon Text is the tool tip that will appear when the mouse cursor hovers over the button.

  9. Custom grid spacing buttons work well with the "Label Only" presentation type. This will display the name of the tool on the button on the Grid Snap Setting tool box instead of an icon or an icon plus the label. Other types of tools may lend themselves more to graphical icons.  To base new icons on existing icons for promis.e/Substation tools, the icons can be exported, modified, and then imported.  In the General Settings area, set the information as follows:

    Icon: leave this as the default or browse to another.
    Tool Presentation: Label Only
    Tool Type: Standard
    Dimension: Both
  10. Drag or use the up and down arrow icons to adjust where the new tool appears in the list.

  11. Close the Customize dialog.

  12. Select File > Save to save the custom.dgnlib file.

Following the procedure up to this step will make a new grid spacing button appear in the Grid Snap Setting tool box but not in Tasks > Design > Display Options.  Select Tools > Tool Boxes > Grid Snap Setting - Custom or Display Options - Custom to turn this tool box on and test the new tool.

Repeat this procedure for any additional custom grid spacing buttons desired.

"Separators" are optional lines that can be added to distinguish groups of tools or help differentiate two adjacent "Label Only" tools. To add a separator, right click a tool box and select "New Tool Separator". Use the arrow buttons to position the separator.

Since the original Display Options tool box still resides in the supplied .DGNLIB file, it is safe to delete unused grid snap settings from the Display Options > Grid Settings tool box in the custom.dgnlib file

Note: If the grid snap settings are never accessed via a tool box and are always accessed from a task such as the Design task, then only tools for the custom spacings would have to be created in the custom.dgnlib.  The Display Options tool box would not have to be copied from the supplied .DGNLIB file as described in step 4.

Add the New Tool to Tasks

Now that the custom tool has been created, it must be added to the tasks where it will be used. Otherwise it will only appear in the tool box.

  1. In the Customize dialog (Workspace > Customize), expand the User Tasks and Application Tasks items in the tree in the Tasks area on the right.

  2. Expand the Promis.e or Substation .DGNLIB file in the tree (this may be PowerPromise.dgnlib, PowerSubstation.dgnlib, promiseV8i.dgnlib, etc.)

  3. While holding the CTRL key, drag the Design task to the custom.dgnlib item with the mouse and release. Alternatively, right-click, Copy, and Paste. This copies the Design task to the custom.dgnlib file. The Design task in the custom.dgnlib file will now be used in the software instead of the one in the supplied .DGNLIB file.  Note: in older versions of the software there will be a Schematic Design task instead of Design; copy Schematic Design in that case.

  4. In the left pane, expand User Tools > custom.dgnlib > Display Options > Grid Snap Settings to reveal the new custom tool(s) created in the previous section.

  5. In the right pane, expand User Tasks > custom.dgnlib > Design > Display Options > Grid Snap Setting

  6. Drag the new grid spacing tool(s) from the left pane into the Grid Snap Setting task on the right pane. Alternatively, right-click the new tool in the left pane, select Copy, then right-click the Grid Snap Setting task in the right pane and select Paste.

  7. The new tool can be positioned relative to the existing tools by dragging or using the up and down icons.  Unused tools can be deleted by right-clicking them and selecting Delete.

  8. Close the Customize dialog.

  9. Select File > Save to save the custom.dgnlib file.

Repeat this procedure and copy the new tool(s) into the remaining tasks such as the Pneumatic/Hydraulic task as desired.

Notes regarding the grid button example:

Important: Restart the software after creating or modifying the .DGNLIB file.  Otherwise new customizations may not appear or operate as expected. 

Other Customizations

The techniques described in this document can be extended to create other customizations as well.


Substitute the desired wire use, such as 3Phase  for <Wire Use>.  Be aware that the wire use name is case-sensitive.  Substitute the desired wire command, such as ECAD EXEC THREEPHASELINE, for ECAD EXE DRAWWIRE.  Use Workspace > Customize to look at the tools in the Wiring toolbox in the .DGNLIB file supplied with the software to see their Key-in commands.

level set display off ECT_DGRM_TAGS

To turn the level on:

level set display on ECT_DGRM_TAGS

To toggle the level:

level set display toggle ECT_DGRM_TAGS

active color 2; active style 3;active weight 5; ECAD EXEC DRAWWIRE

active color bylevel; active style 0;active weight 0

Use Utilities > Key-in and MicroStation Help to experiment with other key-in commands that might make useful tools.  Recording a macro (Utilities > Macro > VBA Project Manager) while executing the desired actions is sometimes useful to find the necessary key-ins.  See How to extract keyins for the tool settings in MicroStation V8i for information on affecting the settings box that appears with many tools.

See Also

[[Customizing the Interface - CONNECT Edition]]

[[3599|Platform Fundamentals for promis.e Standalone Users]]

Creating Tool Icons

AskInga - Export MicroStations icons from the open DGN library

AskInga - What command was that?

AskInga - Combine your keyins

AskInga - How to extract keyins for the tool settings in MicroStation V8i

External Links

YouTube - Demonstration of menu customization in Microstation V8i

 Original Author:Matt_P