Tips & Tricks

Instantly Get Rid of Unneeded, Non­displayed Reference Attachments

Avoid having to manually remove reference attachments when you’re done with them.

By Eiren Smith, Axiom Product Manager

It’s easy to grow accustomed to managing reference attachment settings completely manually, one attachment at a time. But when you need to make a single change (or multiple changes) to a lot of reference attachments in one or more sheet or master files, manually tweaking design files is inefficient, time-consuming and tedious.


From removing unneeded reference attachments to changing reference file paths and more, RefManger let’s you make the changes you need in batch.

One major source of reference attachment work is client demands. One client wants references set up this way; another client wants references set up that way, but you need the references set up yet another way to do the work you’ve been hired to do.

You may get files from clients or contractors with references that are not set up the way you need them to be set up. Sometimes you can tell the contractor to get their act together and submit the drawings exactly the way you need them. But what if you are that contractor? Also, even if it isn’t your job to fix this, how long can you afford to wait for someone else to get it right? RefManager makes changing reference attachment settings — across one, hundreds or thousands of sheet files — quick and easy.

Today I’m going to go over a frequently overlooked area of wasted reference management time: Detaching undisplayed reference attachments prior to a submittal. While working on a project, users often turn off the display of reference attachments when they don’t need them for the work they’re doing that moment, but they leave them attached because they may need them attached later in the project. When the project is complete though, many users need to detach the non-displayed reference attachments. Doing this manually can be a hassle and time-consuming unless you have RefManager, which can detach these specific reference attachments totally automatically! Here’s how:

  1. Start RefManager from your Axiom menu in MicroStation. For “Action”, choose “Detach Reference Files”.
  2. microstation-reference-attachments-01

    Figure 1. RefManager solves just about any reference file problem. For example, RefManager can detach multiple reference attachments in multiple sheets or master files, in one batch process — and you can control which reference attachments get detached.

  3. Now push the {Attachments…} button. We’re going to tell RefManager to only detach references that are set to not display.
  4. Pick “Advanced” in the Category list. (See Figure 2.)
  5. microstation-reference-attachments-02

    Figure 2. The reference attachment filter allows you to very specifically define which reference attachments will be reported on or modified. This kind of pinpoint accuracy is part of what makes RefManager so powerful.

  6. Set “Reference File Display:” to “Off”, which tells RefManager to only process non-displayed (Display = Off) reference attachments, ignoring all displayed reference attachments.
  7. Push {Close} to close the “Filter Reference File Attachments…” box and return to RefManager’s main dialog box.
  8. Next to the “Master Files:” field, push {Select…}. The “Choose Files to Process” box will appear. This is where you will make a list of all the sheets and master files you want to process. Your active file will already be in the list. If you don’t want to process that file, push {Remove All Files} on the button bar above the list.
  9. Next, simply create a list of files. There are several ways to create a list of files. One of the easiest — and possibly the most popular — is to just drag files into the list from Windows Explorer. To do this, open Windows Explorer, navigate to your project directory and choose some of your DGN sheet or master files. Just drag them right into the list area of the “Choose Files to Process” box. You’ll notice all the files are immediately added to your list.
  10. Once you’re done making your list of sheet or master files, push {OK} to close the “Choose Files to Process” box. Notice that the “Master Files:” field in the main RefManager box now says “” where “n” is the number of files you have in your list.
  11. microstation-reference-attachments-03

    Figure 3. RefManager has an intuitive, easy-to-use dialog box for selecting which sheets or master files to process.

  12. Now you’re ready to have RefManager run your “Detach Reference Files” job on your chosen DGN files. Simply push {Start} in RefManager’s main dialog box. Choose {OK} when the warning appears explaining that your job will cause some references to be detached and then RefManager will go through your list of selected files. When RefManager has completed its task, it will display a message telling you the process is finished. Push {OK} to close that message box.

When processing is complete, open one of your processed files and go to File | References in MicroStation. You’ll see that any previously non-displayed reference attachments will no longer be in the list, as RefManager has detached them. That’s all there is to it!

Call Now for a Better Way to Manage Reference Attachments!
For more information on RefManager, contact an Axiom MicroStation Consultant today! Call 727-442-7774 extension 3424, e-mail or visit Axiom on the Web at now!

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