Tips & Tricks — How to Use Live Nesting to Control Level Display in MicroStation V8i

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By Abraham Rodriguez, CAD Manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff

We recently upgraded to MicroStation V8i. As you know, with upgrades come lots of learning and troubleshooting. For the first month or so, we kept having to jump back and forth between MicroStation V8 2004 edition and V8i just to keep production moving until we figured out how to overcome the issues we were running into.

Abraham Rodriguez, veteran CAD Manager and Axiom customer, provides sage MicroStation tips gleaned from his work at Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Abraham Rodriguez, veteran CAD Manager and Axiom customer, provides sage MicroStation tips gleaned from his work at Parsons Brinckerhoff.

One issue we ran into that we had a difficult time finding a solution for had to do with live nesting. “Live nesting” refers to the action of displaying elements from the reference files attached to the reference files you directly attach to a design file. When live nesting is turned on for a reference file attachment, you can see the elements in its reference files as well. In our office, we use live nesting when creating our sheets for ease of use and to help ensure consistency. For those not aware of this method, I will give a quick summary.

Using MicroStation V8 2004 edition, we would have four main types of files for each project:

  1. “Master model files” to contain the work for the project — for example, an alignment file that defines the location, boundaries and path of a road or a topographical file which shows all the elevation contours for the terrain the road passes through.
  2. “Master container files” that have the appropriate master model files attached as references, with level display adjusted as needed for a particular aspect of the project such as drainage or grading.
  3. “Sheet files”, grouped into sets, for each part of the project. Each sheet in a set will have the corresponding master container file attached to it.
  4. “Border files” to define the plotted area of a sheet.

When sheet files for the project are created, two files are attached to each sheet:

  1. A master container file.
  2. A border file.

The idea behind the master container file is to allow someone to do things to a set of sheets — turn off a level, detach a referenced master model file, or clip something, for example — without having to open each sheet to make the same changes. Just change it in the master container file and all sheets that reference that master container file will be updated with the same change.

Axiom’s RefManager has saved us many hours of work when setting up the various sheet sets. For most of our projects, we create an initial set of sheets with InRoads. We use this initial set as our base to create other sheet sets — drainage or grading, for example. In a particular project containing 138 sheets, creating these other sheet sets without RefManager is very time-consuming. With deadlines pressing and budgets being cut, this is not good. RefManager allows us to easily replace the referenced master container file from the original sheet set with a different master container file for the new sheet set — all in a matter of minutes. Without RefManager, we would spend hours opening each of the 138 sheets and manually replacing the referenced master container file.

Thanks to Axiom, we have a solution for setting up the files that saves us hours of time, but there was still an issue using live nesting with V8i. When working within a sheet in V8 2004 edition, if you turned nested reference levels off or on, it would break the level display link between the master container file and the sheet. Even if you went to the master container file and turned levels off or on, it would not update in the sheets that referenced it. The fix for this, in V8 2004, was to change the reference option button from [Live Nesting] to [No Nesting] and then back to [Live Nesting] for the master container file attachments.

Unfortunately, when we upgraded to MicroStation V8i that fix no longer worked. We continually had to go back to V8 2004 and apply the above fix to get it to link up again. After more research, we found how to fix this issue without having to go back into V8 2004. Within the reference dialog box, next to the [Live Nesting] menu button, there is a nested reference [Display Overrides] menu button that you can set to [Allow Overrides], [Always Override] or [Never Override]. If you set it to [Never Override], the on or off state for the levels of this sheet’s nested references will be based on how they are set within the master container file each time the sheet file is reopened.

When the live nesting option for a reference file attachment is set to [Never Override], users can turn on and off the level display of the attachment's nested references while working in the master file, without affecting how those nested levels will display when the master file is reopened at a later time.

When the live nesting option for a reference file attachment is set to [Never Override], users can turn on and off the level display of the attachment’s nested references while working in the master file, without affecting how those nested levels will display when the master file is reopened at a later time.

This allows the user to turn on and off nested reference levels while working on the sheet but when the sheet is reopened their display will revert to the reference’s level display settings as set in the master container file.

Hope this helps those of you who are getting ready to migrate to MicroStation V8i and plan on using live nesting.

This tip was submitted by Abraham Rodriguez of Parsons Brinckerhoff.

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