Working With Dimension Styles In DWG Workmode



In MicroStation V8 XM Edition, the appearance of the Dimension Style dialog box has significantly changed. The new dialog box is displayed by default in MicroStation V8 XM Edition, but can also be activated in MicroStation V08.05.02.35. Key in "MDL LOAD DIMSTYLE," then "DIALOG DIMSTYLE OPEN." The new Dimension Style dialog box in V8.5 is displayed. This article deals with the settings within the new Dimension Style dialog box.

While most of these settings are the same settings as in previous versions of V8, a number of settings have been added, largely for DWG compatibility. Even with these upgrades, there are MicroStation dimension settings that are not compatible with the DWG format and, therefore, are disabled in DWG Workmode. This article is designed to help you through the new Dimension Style settings when working in DWG Workmode or when you know your file will be saved in the DWG format.

A number of settings carried over from previous versions have been grouped together under the four main tabs of the new Dimension Style dialog box, while others have been moved to sub-categories in the Advanced tab. There are some settings that were disabled in DWG Workmode in previous versions of V8 that have now been added in MicroStation V8 XM Edition.

Dialog box icons

The same icons that were found in the Dimension Style dialog box in previous versions of V8 are included in the new Dimension Style dialog box.

One new icon is the Toggle Preview icon. This is the last icon at the top of the dialog box and lets you preview how a dimension will display when it is placed. With this option on, any change to a setting or option in the Dimension Style will update the Preview, displayed at the bottom of the dialog box, regardless of whether the style is saved with that change. In other words, with the Preview toggled on, you can change a setting and see what that change will do to the style without saving the style. It can also be helpful if you are not sure what setting will give you the results you want, as you can see immediately how each option will change the dimensions appearance.

In addition to the preview pane, the new dialog box indicates unsaved changes to a Dimension Style by displaying the tab in which the setting was changed and the setting itself with a different color.

For example, in the Text tab, under Style, change the Text Style to something different, then select the Units tab. You will see the Text and Advanced tabs are now displayed with a different color than the others. Select the Text tab again and you will see that Text Style is also displayed with a different color. This tells you that a change was made to the Dimension Style, but not saved. Once the style is saved, the Text and Advanced tabs will again display in the same color as the other tabs. If the style is not changed, but the Text Style is changed back to the original setting, the tabs will also then display in the same color as the other tabs.

When a change is made to any setting under the Geometry, Units, Text, or Symbology tabs, the Advanced tab will also change color, because the same settings exist under the Advanced tab in a different format. See the ADVANCED section of this article for further explanation.


All symbology settings for color, style, and weight that previously existed under Dimension Lines, Extension Lines, Terminators, and Text settings have now been moved to the Symbology tab. The Level setting that was in the Dimension Lines settings has been moved to the Advanced tab under General > Placement.

Dimension Line Stack Offset and the Relative Dimension Line toggle, previously under Placement settings, now reside under Dimension Line in the Geometry tab.

If Extension Lines is Enabled, the Offset and Extension settings are also enabled. The Join When Text Outside toggle that once resided with the Extension Line settings has been moved to the Advanced tab under Graphics > Extension Lines.

All Terminator and Terminator Symbols settings have now been combined in the Geometry tab under Terminators. As in previous versions, when in DWG Workmode, the only valid setting for Terminators is Automatic. Reversed, Inside, and Outside remain disabled.

However, the AutoCAD equivalent settings have been added in the Advanced tab under Graphics > Terminators > Fit Option. The default setting is Best Fit, but other options include Use Terminator Location, Keep Text Inside, Move Terminators First, Move Text First, and Move Both. In AutoCAD Dimension Styles, the Fit options read[wkd1]: "If there isn't enough room to place both text and arrows inside extension lines, the first thing to move outside the extension lines is: Either the text or the arrows, whichever fits best (Best Fit), Arrows (Move Terminators First), Text (Move Text First), Both text and arrows (Move Both), Always keep text between ext lines(Keep Text Inside), and Suppress arrows if they don't fit inside the extension lines (Suppress Unfit Term. under advanced tab)."

As in previous versions, the Min. Leader setting is disabled. In AutoCAD, the dimension line extending beyond the terminator has same length as text height. This "fixed size" mode is now supported in MicroStation by turning off Min. Leader. The Min. Leader setting controls both the dimension line length outside the extension lines, as well as the length when they are inside the extension lines.

The only options available in DWG Workmode for Terminator Symbols are Default and Cell. The recommended terminator type in DWG Workmode is a shared cell. Symbol is disabled in DWG Workmode. Although grayed out, Uniform Cell Scale is on by default in DWG Workmode. If the file is a DGN that will be saved to DWG, this toggle should be turned on.

If enabled, Tolerance type can be set to Plus/Minus or Limit. The Upper, Lower, and Text Size can also be adjusted. However, in DWG Workmode, the Left and Sep. Margin are disabled, as AutoCAD does not support these settings.

Dimension with Leader can also be enabled in DWG Workmode. However, there are limitations. The type can be set to either None or Line only. The Arc and BSpline are disabled. Terminator, Alignment, and In-Line Leader are also disabled. The Center Size setting that was under Dimension Style Placement in previous versions has been moved to the Center Mark section of the Geometry tab in MicroStation XM Edition Dimension Styles.


The settings from the Units and Unit Format sections of previous versions of MicroStation, with the exception of Use Stacked Fractions, have been included in the Units tab of the MicroStation V8 XM Edition Dimension Style settings, as well as the Reference Scale setting that previously existed in the Placement section. The ability to set the Primary Units to Working Units has been disabled in DWG Workmode. This is because AutoCAD functions in terms of a Drawing Unit and does not support MicroStation's Working Units concept.

The Label Format options have changed. In the V8.5 versions, while in DWG Workmode, this option is disabled. In MicroStation V8 XM Edition, the Label Format Option Is enabled and gives you a list of valid AutoCAD units. You can choose from Architectural, Decimal, Engineering, Fractional, or Scientific. If Decimal, Fractional, or Scientific is chosen, you are given the ability to set Master Units to Feet, Inches, Meters, etc. If Architectural or Engineering is chosen, this setting is disabled. In all cases in DWG Workmode, Sub Units setting is disabled. If Decimal or Engineering is chosen for Label Format, the Accuracy setting will allow you to choose between 0 and 0.12345678. If Architectural or Fractional is chosen, these options will flip to the fractional choices. If Scientific is selected, the Accuracy choices again flip to from 1.1E+01 to 1.12345678E+01. If Show Secondary Units is toggled off, only the Main Prefix and Suffix are enabled under the Primary Units section. If Show Secondary Units is toggled on, these settings become disabled and the Upper Prefix and Suffix settings become enabled. The Alternate Label option and Settings are disabled under both Primary and Secondary Units while in DWG Workmode.

In the Angle Format section of the Units tab, the Units option is disabled.

The Accuracy and Display options, however, are the same as previous versions.


The Use Stacked Fractions option that was under the Unit Format section, the settings that were under the Text section, and the settings that were in the Place Note section of previous versions have been placed in the Text tab of the Dimension Styles dialog box.

Under the Style section of the Text tab, the only options enabled in DWG Workmode are Text Style and Height. All other settings, in AutoCAD, are determined by the same settings in the Text Style, not the Dimension Style. The Orientation, Location, Justification, Text Frame, and Lower Margin settings are enabled under the Format section of the Text Tab. In the V8.5 versions, the Justification settings remain Left, Center, or Right. However, in the MicroStation V8 XM Edition, The Center justification has now changed to Center>Left or Center>Right. If the dimension text and the terminators fit between the extension lines, both of these settings will allow the text to be centered on the dimension line. However, if the dimension text and the terminators do not fit within the extension lines, the text will be placed to the left or right side of the extension line, depending on the option selected. In the Text Frame option, only the None and Box options are enabled. AutoCAD does not support the Capsule Text Frame, so it is disabled. Left Margin is also disabled.

Under the Stacked Fractions section, the Enable toggle is on, but is grayed out. In DWG Workmode, simply toggle from On or Off. The Type options are limited to Horizontal or Diagonal. From Font is disabled, as AutoCAD does not support this option.

In the Notes section, The Leader Type, Terminator, Text Frame, Text Rotation, and Edit About options are enabled. As in the Format section, The Text Frame options are limited to None or Box because AutoCAD does not support the other options. The Frame Scale, In-Line Leader, Left Margin, Lower Margin, and Horizontal Attachment settings are disabled in DWG Workmode. The Justification and Leader Attachment settings are the same as in previous versions of MicroStation.


All symbology settings found in various sections in previous versions have been placed under the Symbology tab in MicroStation V8 XM Edition. In DWG Workmode, for compatibility with the DWG format, all Terminator options are disabled, as well as all Style
options in other sections. Because dimension text weight in AutoCAD is controlled by the text style, Weight is disabled under the Text section in the Symbology tab.


All settings from the other four tabs are included in the Advanced tab under the appropriate section. If a setting is changed in the Advanced tab, that change will be reflected under the corresponding tab as well.

There are also a number of additional settings in the Advanced tab that are not found under the other tabs. The Placement and Tolerance settings that were not moved to other tabs are now located in the Advanced tab under General. The Tool Specific section of the Advanced tab will allow you to set options that are only available for specific dimension tools, such as the Center Mark or Prefix for the Diameter tools. In this section, options that are not supported in AutoCAD will not be grayed out, but will be set to the option AutoCAD will support and cannot be changed. The Advanced tab will also allow you to Compare two different Dimension Styles, as well as compare the settings in the active file with those in the Dimension Style library.

To make changes to any Dimension Style setting, set the Mode at the top of the Advanced tab to Edit. When a change is made to a Dimension Style, that option, as well as the style name and the tab in which the setting resides will turn blue. This is to indicate that some setting in that style has changed. If the setting is changed back to it's original setting, that option will again turn black. If the Dimension Style is saved or if the Reset Style is used in the Dimension Styles dialog box, everything will revert to black again.

To Compare two styles, set the Mode to Comparison. Select the two Dimension Styles to be compared. The General, Units, Graphics, Text, Notes, Symbols, and Tool Specific sections will be displayed. Expand any section to see the differences between the two styles.

To display only the differences between two styles, set the Mode to Differences and select the two styles. Only those settings/options that differ in the two styles will be displayed.

See also

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 Original Author:Bentley Technical Support Group