Mission: Project Workflow Optimization

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  • By Agent X
    Clearwater, Florida, USA — On a sweltering summer morning, while enjoying a bowl of Wheaties and Good Morning America, I heard a knock at the door. Stunned by a visit so early in the morning, I put down the bowl of cereal and went to the door. I peeked out just in time to see a white van zoom around the corner. There was a manila envelope on the porch. I threw the door open, quickly grabbed the envelope and rushed back inside. Examining the envelope I noticed a small bulge. Cautiously, I cut the envelope open and spilled the contents onto my kitchen counter. It was a personal recording device with a tag saying, “Press play.”

    I pressed play.

    “Good morning, Agent X. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to develop a solution for MicroStation users where any project file, not just MicroStation design files, can be accessed at any time during the course of a project. This solution should be easy to use, utilize minimal system resources and integrate seamlessly into existing workflows. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.”

    Typically, Axiom product managers do not receive requests for enhancements in such an interesting manner, and I was intrigued by the self-destructing message. By the time the smoke had cleared, I was already busy on the project. The result was revolutionary.

    DgnQuickPick, the MicroStation add-on that allows users to have immediate access to multiple project design files in a single session of MicroStation, now has the ability to open any project-related file, not just MicroStation design files. This means that any file related to a project (Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, PDF files or configuration files) can be immediately accessed using DgnQuickPick. This immediately reduces time and frustration for all users who need access to any project file at any time.

    One time-consuming aspect of working with multiple project files is searching for the file, amidst a sea of files, folders and servers. Greg McKinney, former Huitt-Zollars CAD Manager recalls, “Our projects were organized in such a way that there was one project directory and all of the design files were in a subdirectory of the project directory. Spreadsheets, Word documents and PDFs were each in their own subdirectory as well.” With DgnQuickPick, Greg could have added all of these project files to his DgnQuickPick file lists and had immediate access to any file at the click of a button.

    Once the files have been loaded into DgnQuickPick’s tree list, opening them is simply a matter of clicking on the file name.

    Once the files have been loaded into DgnQuickPick’s tabbed list or tree list, opening them is simply a matter of clicking on the file name. Project managers can even create reusable lists of files with DgnQuickPick. They can share those lists with all members on a project, for example, by saving the lists on a shared drive. That way all members see the standard lists of files in DgnQuickPick. This streamlines the existing workflow and allows users to see all of their project files (DGNs, spreadsheets, Word documents and so forth) in one location. Using DgnQuickPick for V8, there is even an option to open DWG files in AutoCAD, if you prefer. PDFs, Word documents and so forth are opened using the same program Windows would use to open those files when double-clicking on them in Windows Explorer.

    DgnQuickPick uses minimal system resources.
    “When MicroStation users see DgnQuickPick for the first time, many of them ask me, ‘Isn’t this going to use large amounts of memory?’ I explain to them that while the files appear in the list, DgnQuickPick does not significantly increase the use of system resources to keep the files in the list. The memory usage to open the files, once the user clicks on them in the list, is virtually the same as if they opened the files through Windows,” comments Mark Thomas, Axiom’s Executive Product Manager.

    DgnQuickPick is now the only MicroStation utility that allows users to have immediate access to any project file at any time with a single mouse click, saving loads of time and eliminating frustration (no browsing, searching or multiple-clicking required).

    Mission accomplished!

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