Tips & Tricks

Breakthrough — Finally — in DGN and DWG Translations!

Get translations between DGN and DWG files right the first time.

Axiom, the world’s most experienced developers of time-saving CAD software products, announces the release of new software that helps eliminate the hassles normally associated translating files between MicroStation and AutoCAD. The highly-anticipated new software, Translation Manager, simplifies the process of translating files between MicroStation and AutoCAD and greatly improves the results.

Manage Translations Between AutoCAD and MicroStation

Figure 1. Translation Manager simplifies translation between
MicroStation and AutoCAD and helps eliminate messy translations.

Translating files using MicroStation’s or AutoCAD’s built-in translator alone often creates messy files requiring someone to spend hours fixing each file after the translation. In some cases, it’s faster to recreate CAD files from scratch, rather than trying to correct translated design or drawing files. For years, both MicroStation and AutoCAD users have been clamoring for a better way to do translations. Some of the more common types of problems with translated files include fonts that don’t map correctly, problems with element or entity symbology (such as incorrect style, weight or color), incorrect units (DWG units or MicroStation working units), symbols (such as degree symbols) that come out wrong, lost levels (when translating from MicroStation) and lost layers (when translating from AutoCAD).

Rick DeWitt, Axiom’s Product Manager for Translation Manager, said, “With more and more companies needing to translate files from MicroStation to AutoCAD and AutoCAD to MicroStation, we felt that it was critical that we provide our customers with an easy-to-use, effective program that simplifies the task. Translation Manager works beautifully in helping to eliminate messy translations and it greatly reduces the time needed to polish up translated files afterwards.”

Translation Manager simplifies translations between MicroStation and AutoCAD

Figure 1. Translation Manager simplifies translation between
MicroStation and AutoCAD and helps eliminate messy translations.

A Simple Process Makes CAD Translations Easier
According to DeWitt, Translation Manager makes the translation process considerably easier and can save companies hundreds or even thousands of man-hours correcting translated files. Translation Manager uses a three-step process: data gathering, translation configuration and an optional, post-processing step. In the first step, data gathering, the user simply selects all the files to be translated and Translation Manager then records vital information such as the levels, line styles, colors and fonts that are used in the files to be translated. Next, an easy-to-use translation wizard is provided to walk the user step by step through correctly configuring the translation and translating the files so the translated files come out as expected. Translation Manager uses the information in the first step of the process (data gathering) to provide recommendations during the translation step (via the wizard) to help ensure that the translated files adhere to the CAD standards required. Once the configuration settings are determined, all the files previously selected are then translated in batch with a single button click. After the files are translated, a final, optional step (post-processing) provides tools that allow users to make additional changes — in batch — to the newly translated files. Until MicroStation and AutoCAD are the same product, there will frequently be issues that can only be addressed after the translation such as special characters (like degree symbols and fractions) that don’t display correctly. That’s why Translation Manager includes this optional, third step. In this step, Translation Manager, using the information recorded earlier, provides users the ability to make additional changes on all of the translated files — in batch — in order to ensure, for example, that reference file level display is correctly set and special characters display correctly in all files.

Using the wizard to correctly configure the translation, in conjunction with the data-gathering and optional post-processing steps, helps make the translation process easier and helps ensure that required CAD standards are met. Once established, all of the translation settings can be saved, allowing them to be easily used over and over.

More on How Translation Manager Helps with CAD Standards
Per DeWitt, during the data-gathering step, Translation Manager automatically scans every file selected by the user to be translated and records:

  • All level or layer names used in any of the source files.
  • All the line styles and line style scales used in any of the source files.
  • All the colors and weights used in any of the source files.
  • Every font used in any of the source files.

Once the data has been gathered from all of the files, Translation Manager’s wizard:

  • Provides guidance and useful recommendations on how to get the best results.
  • Allows the user to save all the configuration settings for reuse at any future time.

Once the configuration settings have been saved, a single click of a button translates all of the files previously selected, based on the configuration settings.

DeWitt says that some issues, such as “Extents” and “Fit” issues, have to be addressed after the translation. That’s why Translation Manager has that optional third step that allows the user to do any or all of the following tasks on a single file or any number of the translated files — in bulk:

  • Correct “Extents” or “Fit” issues.
  • Remove unused shared cell definitions or block definitions that can create numerous problems and clutter files.
  • Drop shared cells and blocks to component geometry or, in MicroStation files, to normal (non-shared) cells.
  • Make sure reference file level display matches the original source files.
  • Find and correct text problems that are the result of remapped fonts.

“With a combination of the above, getting newly translated files to meet the user’s CAD standards is a snap compared to what users are going through now”, contends DeWitt.

Software Requirements
Translation Manager uses MicroStation to do the translation between MicroStation and AutoCAD. In order to translate and process files (MicroStation to AutoCAD or AutoCAD to MicroStation), a copy of MicroStation is required. The version of MicroStation used will determine which version of AutoCAD files can be translated:

  • MicroStation V8 2004 Edition can be used to translate between MicroStation and AutoCAD Release 11 through AutoCAD 2005.
  • MicroStation V8 XM Edition can be used to translate between MicroStation and AutoCAD Release 11 through AutoCAD 2008.
  • MicroStation V8i can be used to translate between MicroStation and AutoCAD Release 14 through AutoCAD 2010.

Want Translations Done Right? Call Now!
For more information on Translation Manager, call Axiom at 727-442-7774 extension 2494 or e-mail or visit Axiom on the Web at today.

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