Tips & Tricks — A shortcut that will make your life easier

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I’m betting that your CAD shop is like most: You have multiple projects rolling right now. Maybe even dozens. You wish you had the luxury of having only one project to worry about (what a dream that would be). What’s more, unless you have been very lucky, each project has its own set of standards. Yikes!

When we talk about standards, we’re referring to the different fonts, cell libraries, pen tables and other settings in use while creating the project files for submittal. Anything that can be variable from one client to another is something that you would more than likely define in a project-configuration file for that client’s submittals.

A project-configuration file is a file used to define configuration variables particular to certain projects on which a site may be working. Any variable definitions within this file will take precedence over MicroStation’s default variable definitions. Project-configuration files are located, by default, in the “..ustationconfigproject” directory and follow the naming convention of ProjectName.pcf.

There are a lot of different issues associated with the information above that can make it seem rather confusing. The standards for each project aren’t different just to make life interesting. Clients have their own reasons for wanting the projects presented in a certain way. I can’t change any of that. It is simply how things work in a typical MicroStation shop. What I do want to do here is pass on one little way you might be able to simplify your day-to-day work. I want to show you how to load the right project from your desktop shortcuts. If nothing else, it will guarantee you the right project is selected every time, so you minimize mistakes.

Creating desktop shortcuts to define your projects
To create a customized desktop shortcut for your project, you must first create a new shortcut for MicroStation. We can then customize this new MicroStation shortcut to open the project of choice.

  • Right-click on an empty section of your Windows desktop. From the menu that comes up select New|Shortcut.
  • Right-click on the desktop to make your shortcut.

  • From the “Create Shortcut” dialog box, press <Browse.>. Using the “Browse for Folder” dialog box, navigate to and select the file “ustation.exe” from the folder where MicroStation has been installed. Then click <OK>. From the “Create Shortcut” dialog box, press <Next>.
  • You can name your shortcut anything, regardless of what application the shortcut actually loads.

  • You will be prompted to “Type a name for this shortcut:”. I recommend you enter a name that specifically describes the project that you plan on specifying with this shortcut. Press <Finish> to complete the shortcut. Now you can customize your desktop shortcut to load the right project.
  • Right-click on your newly created desktop shortcut and select “Properties”.
  • In the “Target:” field you’ll see the full path to “ustation.exe”. Next to “ustation.exe” add a space and t hen -WP(project-configuration file name).
    For example, if your project-configuration file is called “867-530.pcf”, the line should look like this:
    “C:Program FilesBentleyProgramMicroStationustation.exe” -WP867-530 (assuming MicroStation has been installed in the default location).

    Notice the file extension is excluded from the line. This is intentional, as it won’t work if you add the file extension.

  • You can name your shortcut anything, regardless of what application the shortcut actually loads.

  • Press <Apply>, then <OK> to exit.

Now, when you load MicroStation from this desktop shortcut, you should find that the correct project-configuration file is automatically selected.

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