Tips & Tricks: Where’s my Axiom pull-down menu?

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By Rick Sewell, Customer Support

After you’ve installed an Axiom MDL (MicroStation Development Language) program you should have an Axiom pull-down menu from which to run it. What do you do if it isn’t there?

The truth is, there are several MicroStation Workspace settings that could cause your menu to not show up. I’ve found that it is usually caused by a single equal sign (=) in the active User Configuration File (UCF). The solution is as easy as changing this equal sign (=) to a greater than (>) sign. It really is that easy!

How can this be true? Let me cover some MicroStation concepts to help it make sense. When MicroStation loads, it finds a series of configuration files and reads the configuration variable definitions in those files to determine the majority of MicroStation settings (such as design file settings and workspace preferences). There is one configuration variable that is used to define which applications get loaded when MicroStation loads: “MS_DGNAPPS”. This configuration variable is the one Axiom uses to load the Axiom pull-down menu. The MS_DGNAPPS configuration variable can (and usually does) have multiple definitions. This is because you may have several applications that you want to load when MicroStation loads.

In a configuration file, a typical set of definitions might look like this:

MS_DGNAPPS > c:/apps/
MS_DGNAPPS > c:/axiom/aximenu/
MS_DGNAPPS > c:/apps/

MS_DGNAPPS > c:/apps/
MS_DGNAPPS > c:/axiom/aximenu/
MS_DGNAPPS = c:/apps/

The difference between the two sets of definitions above is the operator. The “>” operator will add the new definition to any existing list of MS_DGNAPPS variable definitions. In other words, if you defined two applications to be loaded by MS_DGNAPPS definitions and then added another definition containing the “>” operator, it would add this as the third definition to be loaded.

The “=” operator works differently. The “=” will nullify any other previous definitions. In other words, if you defined two applications to be loaded by MS_DGNAPPS and then added a third definition containing the “=” operator, it would nullify (cancel) all previous definitions. This would be bad if you wanted all the applications to load. In short, you will lose any definition in the list that occurs prior to the definition containing the equal sign. For example, in the second set of definitions above, the equal sign in the third definition (MS_DGNAPPS = c:/apps/ will cancel the two definitions above it and those two applications will not load.

How to find the culprit
You have installed your new Axiom product, opened a design file and find there is no Axiom pull-down menu. The first thing to do is find out what your MicroStation UCF is called and where it is.

  • While still in MicroStation, choose Workspace|About Workspace.

  • Right there at the top, it shows you exactly where your UCF is and what it is named. Now open Windows Explorer and navigate to your active UCF file.

You can always see the name of the active MicroStation User Configuration File (UCF), among other workspace tidbits, in any session of MicroStation.
  • Open your UCF file using Notepad.

  • Search for any lines that start with “MS_DGNAPPS” and contain a “=” as the next character. It does not matter what else is on the line as long as the “=” is the next character after “MS_DGNAPPS”. Spaces are ignored.

  • Change the “=” to a “>” sign.
    “MS_DGNAPPS =” would be “MS_DGNAPPS >”

The shot on the left is an actual case where the UCF containing an “=” caused the Axiom pull-down menu to not display. The shot on the right shows how to solve the problem.
  • Save and close your UCF.

  • Re-start MicroStation and you should now see the Axiom pull-down menu.

We found it. The Axiom pull down menu is now on the far right, where it belongs.

Again, there are other MicroStation settings that could cause your Axiom pull-down menu to not display. It’s just that most of the time it is caused by an errant “=” and can be fixed with the method above. If you find that this method doesn’t solve your problem, you can always contact Axiom Technical Support for assistance.

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