PDF Print Driver [CS]

This Client Server article is republished in its entirety from 2005 for reference purposes.

By Todd Combs, support engineer, Bentley Huntsville Office 31 May 2005

One of the most significant enhancements in MicroStation V8 2004 Edition is support for generating output in PDF format. PDF (Portable Document Format), developed by Adobe, is an industry standard format for electronic publishing.

PDF Support

A PDF printer driver is provided with MicroStation V8 2004 Edition. The file is named "pdf.plt", and it is installed in the "Workspace\System\plotdrv" directory.

You can use the Batch Print utility to generate a multiple-page PDF file with one page per file. In this case a bookmark is generated for each page by default. You can generate a single-page PDF representation of the open DGN file using the Print dialog box (File > Print).

You can edit the PDF printer driver to set the following options for PDF generation:

A special syntax applies to these options, but it is not necessary to know the syntax. For each setting, or command, the PDF printer driver file contains a line for each of that command's possible values, or qualifiers. Selecting a different qualifier is a simple matter of moving a semi-colon (";") - which causes the rest of a line to be ignored - from the beginning of one line to the beginning of another and saving the change. Use a text editor to do this.

To select the PDF printer driver file

  1. In the Printer and Paper Size section of the Print dialog box (File > Print), choose Bentley Driver from the option menu or Click the Select Plotter Driver icon to the right of the option menu. The Select Printer Driver File dialog box opens.
  2. If necessary, navigate to the Workspace\system\plotdrv directory.
  3. Select the printer driver file "pdf.plt."
  4. Click OK.

Viewing and Printing PDF Files

To view and print PDF files, including those generated using MicroStation's print driver, use the free application, Adobe Reader.

3D Content in PDF Files (effective with V8.5.2)

Using the PDF printer driver you can generate PDFs that contain 3D models, either with or without associated animations. When viewing a PDF generated from MicroStation that contains a 3D model - using Adobe Reader v7 - you can dynamically rotate the model, pan, and zoom. If an animation is associated with the model, you can play it from within Adobe Reader.

To enable this capability, with the PDF printer driver selected, turn on Plot To 3D setting in the Print dialog box. As well, there are a number of settings that affect the output. These settings are adjusted using the 3D Plotting Options dialog box, which opens when 3D Plotting is chosen from the Settings menu in the Print dialog box.

Printing 3D content to PDF is the most powerful way to benefit from MicroStation's support for the Universal 3D (U3D) format. Effective with V8.5.2, you can also export the open DGN file directly to the U3D format by choosing File > Export > U3D.

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