Messy Translations Between MicroStation and AutoCAD?

Translation Manager now fixes the problem of Intergraph CIT raster images being lost when translating to AutoCAD.

Axiom, one of the world’s most experienced developers of time-saving CAD software products, announces the release of Translation Manager 2.0. This release adds many new features and enhancements that help eliminate the hassles normally associated with translating files between MicroStation V7 or V8 and AutoCAD DWG or DXF. “In addition to several other added features, this new version of Translation Manager automatically fixes the problem of Intergraph CIT raster images being lost when translating to AutoCAD,” states Rick DeWitt, Axiom’s Senior Product Manager. This highly-anticipated release includes the ability to convert Intergraph CIT raster files, that are not supported in AutoCAD, to TIF images that are supported in AutoCAD and to update the raster attachment in MicroStation so it points to and displays the new TIF image; the ability to run a MicroStation VBA (Visual Basic for Application) routines; and the ability to attach a specific color table to MicroStation files after the translation to help meet CAD standards requirements.

This release also includes batch processing options to translate between different versions of AutoCAD, different versions of MicroStation and to batch process within the same versions of AutoCAD or MicroStation to take advantage of symbology remapping and reference file merging, both of which are powerful tools available through Translation Manager. For example it may be desirable to create a new set of MicroStation design files, from existing design files, where all the reference file information is merged.

Some of the more common types of problems with translated files include fonts that don’t display correctly, incorrect element or entity symbology (such as wrong line style, weight or color), incorrect coordinate location or element size, symbols (such as degree symbols) that come out wrong and unexpected levels in MicroStation files or layers in AutoCAD files. Translating files using MicroStation’s or AutoCAD’s built-in translator alone often creates messy files that require someone to spend hours or even days fixing them after the translation. For years, both MicroStation and AutoCAD users have been clamoring for a better way to do translations.

Rick DeWitt, Axiom’s Product Manager for Translation Manager, said, “With more and more companies needing to translate files between MicroStation and AutoCAD, we felt that it was critical to provide our customers with an easy-to-use, effective program that simplifies the task. Translation Manager works beautifully in helping to eliminate messy translations and it greatly reduces the time needed to polish up translated files afterwards.” According to DeWitt, “The new features in Translation Manager 2.0 give users increased ability to get the results they want.”

New Translation Modes
One enhancement to Translation Manager was the addition of different translation modes. Prior to this new release, Translation Manager only translated MicroStation (V7 or V8) to AutoCAD or AutoCAD to MicroStation V8. Translation Manager now also supports translations between AutoCAD and MicroStation V7, AutoCAD and the same or other versions of AutoCAD, and MicroStation and the same or other versions of MicroStation. Translating between the same version of a file type allows users to batch process a set of files and do things like remap levels or other symbology settings from one name or value to another in order to meet a CAD standard change. For example, this feature can be used to merge external references (xrefs) or reference file data into a sheet rather than retaining the reference files, which could be lost or forgotten when files are moved about or distributed.

New Additions to the Pre-processing Features Help Evaluate and Prepare Files for Translation
One of the most important aspects of any translation is the evaluation of the original files to find out all the various levels or layers and element (MicroStation) or entity (AutoCAD) symbology that are used within source files so that they can be correctly handled when translating to the new format. Other information — such as the different working units (MicroStation) or drawing units (AutoCAD) used throughout a set of files and any special characters, like degree symbols or diameter symbols that may create problems in the output files — is also important to know. Without this information, translation results are almost never what is wanted or what a boss, customer or client will accept. Fortunately, Translation Manager automatically collects all this information, on all the selected files, with a simple button click.

New to Post-processing
After files are translated, there are often things that still need to be done to clean up the translated files or modify them to meet a CAD standard. An example of this would be changing the color table of the output MicroStation design files after they are translated from AutoCAD. Built-in translators always give the new MicroStation file the AutoCAD color table. This could be acceptable in some cases, but most MicroStation standards require the default MicroStation color table or the client’s own custom color table. Translation Manager’s post-processing tools now include the ability to easily attach the default MicroStation color table (or any selected color table) to any number of selected MicroStation design files, in batch.

Translation Manager Features Help Ensure Translations Meet Required CAD Standards
Translation Manager automatically scans every file selected by the user to be translated and records from all source files:

  • All level or layer names used.
  • All the line styles used.
  • All the colors and weights used.
  • Every font used.
  • All the different working units or drawing units used.
  • All the reference file level display data.
  • All the cell or block names.

Once the data has been gathered from all of the files, Translation Manager provides an easy-to-use wizard that guides the user through every aspect of the translation configuration process. Translation Manager’s wizard:

  • Provides guidance and useful recommendations on how to get the best results.
  • Allows the user to save all the configuration settings for reuse at any future time.

Once the configuration settings have been saved, a single click of a button translates all of the files previously selected based on the configuration settings.

In some cases, not all issues can be addressed during the translation. Some issues, such as “Extents” and “Fit” issues have to be addressed after the translation. That’s why Translation Manager has an optional third step. During this final step, Translation Manager has tools that do any or all of the following tasks on a single file or any number of the translated files — in bulk:

  • Correct “View extents” or “Fit” issues.
  • Remove unused shared cell definitions or block definitions that can create numerous problems and clutter files.
  • Drop shared cells and blocks to component geometry or, in MicroStation files, to normal (non-shared) cells.
  • Make sure reference file level display matches the original source files.
  • Find and correct special character display problems resulting from remapped fonts.
  • Attach the default or selected color table file to MicroStation design files.

How to Contact Axiom
For more information on Translation Manager or to receive a free 30-day trial version, call Axiom at 727-442-7774 extension 2873 or e-mail or visit Axiom on the Web at today.

About Axiom
Axiom is the world’s most experienced developer of time-saving MicroStation software solutions and the largest third-party provider of general-purpose add-ons and e-learning for MicroStation. Axiom focuses on making MicroStation work easier by creating time-saving and productivity-boosting tools based on real-world problems MicroStation users encounter. Based in Clearwater, Florida, Axiom has been developing software for over 25 years.

MicroStation is produced by Bentley Systems, Incorporated of Exton, Pennsylvania. AutoCAD is produced by Autodesk, Incorporated, of San Rafael, California. Translation Manager and Axiom are trademarks of Axiom. MicroStation is a registered trademark of Bentley Systems, Incorporated. AutoCAD is a registered trademark of Autodesk, Incorporated.

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