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FAQs for MicroStation, OpenRoads & OpenSite

Frequently Asked Questions for the Bentley CAD software

MicroStation, OpenRoads Designer and OpenSite Designer questions are all included on this page because MicroStation is included inside the "OpenX" products. Any answer about MicroStation will apply to the same function (Drawing ribbon workflow) in OpenRoads Designer and OpenSite Designer.

Use your browser's Find on page command (Ctrl + F) to locate key words in any question or answer on this page.

Q. How can I set up a point control to follow a survey feature definition that's in the existing terrain; it doesn't show up in the list of Linear Geometry?
A. You can graphically select referenced Linear Geometry from the Survey existing terrain file, even though they do not appear in the Plan element pull down list. In the Create Point Control dialog, set the Control Type to Linear Geometry. When prompted to "Locate Plan or Profile Element", left-click on the graphical element, ignoring the yellow banner pop up that says "Linear Feature - not available". After selecting the graphical element, it will appear in the Plan Element pull down list.
Create Point Control dialog with Control Type set to Linear Geometry. Mouse cursor is hovering over a dashed green line Create Point Control dialog with Control Type set to Linear Geometry. The Plan Element pull down list is expanded .
If you wish to use more than one survey linear geometry element as a point control target, consider using Feature Definition and Range. Feature Definition and Range point controls can select linear feature definitions, but not survey feature definitions that come from a field book. In this case, you could create and reference a FEAT file that holds 3D linear geometry transformed from existing Survey feature definitions.
Q. How can I use OpenRoads Designer or OpenSite Designer to track along an alignment to display station and offset to other points?
A. Use the Analyze Point command. Analyze Point may be toggled on in your Quick Access Toolbar and may also be found on OpenRoads (Site) Modeling>Home>Model Analysis & Reporting>Civil Analysis>Analyze Point
Analyze Point Complex Element: L Analyze Point displaying station and offset from the L cnterline to a GR end.
To track along an alignment, make sure that the element you select is a Complex Element or a 3D Linear Element.
Q. Do we have a procedure using OpenRoads Designer to create grade reports and cross section sheets for our construction offices and the eBids package?
A. Yes, first create permanent cross sections for eBids following the instructions in EBids Cross Sections with Cover Sheet. Then, return to the Default model that contains the named boundaries and run the OpenRoads Modeling>Home>Model Analysis & Reporting>Civil Analysis>Cross Section Report command. Select the Named Boundary Group for the aligment.
Cross Section Report Tool Settings dialog
Use the revised CrossSectionGradebookfromCL.xsl style sheet in the Custom folder in the Bentley Civil Report Browser.
Red arrow pointing at the CrossSectionGradebookfromCL.xsl style sheet in the Custom folder of the Bentley Civil Report Browser 
Q. How do I use OpenRoads Designer to check the names of feature definitions in a proposed terrain?
A. You cannot easily check feature definition names in a proposed terrain. Instead, check them in the corridor. Why? Because template points, when modeled, become feature definitions. Then, the feature definitions are used to create the proposed terrain. The feature definitions take on the name of the template points. The time to perform QC on feature definition names is when they are visible in the corridor, looking at the template point names.

Open the Corridor Objects for your corridor and from the Template Drops tab select Edit Template Drop. In the “Editing Roadway Designer Template Drop” dialog, select the “Active Template” tab at the bottom left. In the hierarchy window at the top left, select the Points folder – the point names will all appear in a preview list at the bottom left. This is an easy way to spot leading spaces and misnamed points.
Corridor Objects command on the right-click contextual menu  
Edit Template Drop command in the Corridor Objects dialog  
Point Name List on the Active Template tab of the Template Editor  
Q. How do I respond to the Alert dialog that says the software must be restarted to load the new configuration and asks, "Do you want to restart now?"
A. Click the [Yes] button.
Alert dialog from OpenRoads Designer with Restart now question.  
The Alert dialog will pop up when using MicroStation, OpenSite Designer, and OpenBridge Modeler, as well as when using OpenRoads Designer. The answer is the same for all software - Yes.

The software has detected a WorkSet in ProjectWise; you absolutely should load that WorkSet! There's more information in How to Open DGNs in ProjectWise...
Q. How can I see the Bing map aerial image in a sheet assembled using a reference? I'd like to produce a sketch map showing the location image with some graphics drawn on top. The graphics show up in the sheet, but not the aerial.
A. Instead of adjusting the View background (which cannot be seen in references), use the Raster Manager, File>Attach>Bing Maps… (at the bottom of the list). Raster references can be seen when referenced into sheets.
Q. What is a Redundant Reference?
A. Redundant references are recognized by ditto marks (") in the References dialog and by their absence in the reference hierarchy.References dialog with red outlines to show where a redundant reference is seen and not seen.
A nested reference with the same location, scale, rotation, and same clip boundary is a duplicate nested reference.
Duplicate nested references whose display is on will not be redrawn and you cannot control the duplicate's reference or level display.
An Engineering Tips webinar on Nested References explains and demonstrates how to remove redundancy.
Q. How do I change the template interval when applying a linear template using OpenSite Designer?
A. Use the Stroking Definition group in the properties of the complex element that the linear template is applied to. The Linear Stroking value controls the template interval.
Q. Analyze Elevation produces no report and the command simply closes if terrain is not assigned a feature definition.
A. Bug reported for version 10.10

If a terrain has no Feature Definition assigned, the Analyze Elevation command does not function correctly. Terrains may be created from a fieldbook without a feature definition assigned because of another defect with the ODOT Survey Settings not being written to new files from the DGNLIB.

Resolution: Assign a Terrain Feature Definition
Q. Create Cut/Fill Volumes produces "No Existing Surfaces Found" message; how can I get the meshes created for cross sections?
A. Defect reported for version 10.10

The message means that the terrain you have identified as "Existing" has a boundary that is smaller and within, or coincident to the boundary of the "Design" terrain. One workaround is to swap feature definitions between the two terrains being compared, then create the cut/fill volumes. Another workaround is  to edit the boundary of the “Existing” terrain so that it is slightly larger than the “Design” terrain.
Q. What should I do if when opening a DGN file using OpenSite Designer, I get a dialog that says "Incompatible Civil Data"?
A. When you use OpenSite Designer and edit a civil DGN file that was created with OpenRoads Designer, you will be prompted to either open the file as Read-Only or to [Cancel] and close the file.
Incompatible Civil Data dialog prompting the user to open the file read-only [OK] or close the file [Cancel].
If you are not the creator/owner of the file and have not been assigned responsibility for the file, by all means, open it Read-Only or attach it as a reference to a file that you own. You should be doing that anyway.

If you are the creator/owner of the file, follow the instructions in "Align DGN Data for OpenSite Editing" to align the civil schema. After that, you will be able to edit your file with OpenSite Designer.
Q. The File Open dialog for MicroStation or OpenRoads displays a strange document list view from ProjectWise! The columns are not what I expect and I always have to adjust the column widths or sorting to see the names. Can this be fixed?
A. Yes, you can fix the display. When the document list view from ProjectWise doesn't look correct, your ProjectWise "View" needs to be reset.  Here's how:
  1. Exit MicroStation or OpenRoads.
  2. Open the ProjectWise Explorer - that's right, it is controlled in ProjectWise!
  3. Expand the datasource and select the folder that contains the DGN file that you will be opening.
  4. Ensure that the View toolbar is displayed - if it is not, choose PW: View>Toolbar>View.
  5. Change the View on the View toolbar to a different view - this is the key! Then, set the view back to the view that you prefer.
  6. Now launch MicroStation or OpenRoads and you should see the document view list in the File Open dialog matches the presently set View in ProjectWise Explorer.
Q. Some of my text and other elements in an OpenRoads DGN won't export to a Google Earth (*.KMZ) file; how do I get all that info into a KMZ/KML file for scoping, RW acquisitions or API report?
A. KMZ files are most correctly exported from a DGN when the graphics are not civil graphics. Take an intermediate step of creating a non-civil graphics file containing just the text and elements that you want to export to a KMZ file.
  1. Adjust the level display to only what you wish to export.
  2. Use the Save Fence to File command from Drawing>Home>Selection>Fence Tools
  3. Follow the prompts to draw a fence around the graphics and create a new file that contains non-civil graphics.
  4. With the new file open, use File>Export>Visualization File Types>Google Earth (*.kml)
Q. How does the document naming convention and ProjectWise folder usage for OpenRoads Designer DGNs work?
A. All base files that contain civil data (ORD files) will be saved in 6_Civil_Data.  6_Civil_Data is the location of the most up to date and correct information from a designer using ORD.  The files are named with four-character abbreviations like: TERR, GEOM, and CORR.  Only the OPNP file (ORD-generated Plan/Profile Sheets) is stored in the 2_Plan_Sheets folder. The reason for this one exception is because the OPNP file can actually contain plan sheets and for ease of manually attaching references to the design data when manually assembling sheets.
Q. I have referenced the terrain container file to my corridor file, but when looking at the 3D view or the cross section view, I do not see the existing terrain; what could be the problem?
A. It is likely that the last step in creating the terrain container file was missed. The owner of the existing terrain may need to simply open the terrain container file using OpenSite Designer and use Set as Active Terrain Model. That will create the OSD-managed 3D model in the container file so that it can be automatically referenced into your corridor's 3D model.
Q. What happens when I make a referenced terrain model active from the Default model in a new 2D file using Set as Active Terrain?
A. Set as Active Terrain Model is used to cause OpenRoads Designer to do several things automatically, and to set your file up to be used for 3D design. Set as Active Terrain Model is an important last step in the creation of container files.
  1. Creates an ORD-managed 3D model
  2. Attaches 3D models in current references to 3D model
  3. Self-references the 3D model into the 2D model with nesting
  4. Attaches 3D models in future references to the 3D model
Q. I cannot tell the existing work from proposed work in a PDF of a plan sheet - the existing graphics are not grayshaded; what could be wrong?
A. Grayshading of existing elements is performed by a pen table. The pen tables are typically applied using the appropriate print style. All of that will not work unless the Logical Name of the reference attachment to the data uses a unique name that includes the string "exist". In the picture below, three reference attachments include the phrase "exist" (highlighted yellow) in their logical names.
Snip of a DGN file Default model showing the References dilaog at the bottom and three logical names highlighted yellow

In the snip of the resulting PDF shown below, it is obvious that some of the line work is gray-colored and some of the line work is black.
Snip of a plan sheet PDF showing some line work is gray-shaded.
Q. What should I do if when opening a DGN file using OpenRoads Designer, I get a Civil File Upgrade dialog that says "To edit this file it requires upgrading to the installed software version."?
A. Ask yourself, "I am the creator/owner of this file?".

When you use ORD 10.10 and edit a DGN file that was created with ODOT's previous versions of MicroStation or ORD, you will be prompted to upgrade the civil schema in the file or open the file read-only. If you are the creator of the DGN file - it is recommended that you upgrade the civil schema. If you are prompted to upgrade a file that was created by someone else, courtesy and ProjectWise usage guidelines dictate that you choose to open another's file read-only.
Civil File Upgrade dialog prompting to upgrade [Yes], open the file read-only [No] ,or close the file [Cancel].
Q. How do I perform ODOT CAD drafting with MicroStation?
A. Use the same tools in MicroStation CONNECT from the Drawing ribbon workflow that you used in MicroStation V8i SS4.  The ODOT standard line styles, cell libraries, text styles and levels are all available in the ODOT_CONNECT WorkSpace. There are even discipline ribbon work flows that have choices similar to the ODOT Discipline Tasks - look at ribbon workflows like ODOT Roadway.
  • PDFs from 11x17 Models in the OPNP File - video
  • PDFs from Long Uncut Models in the OPNP File - video
Q. Why does the sheet model that I just created not have the correct size (11x17)?
A. Because you did not select Sheet from Seed, but just used a type named Sheet. The Sheet from Seed is totally set up as a B size sheet (11x17) and displays the boundary.
Q. What's up with my Feature Definition Toolbar in OpenRoads Designer? There's room on the bottom, why won't it dock there?
A. The Feature Definition toolbar is ever so slightly taller than other toolbars and only docks to the bottom row on monitors with a certain vertical resolution. There is nothing that you can do except float the dialog and don't dock it.
Q. When am I required to use OpenRoads Designer for projects that are in production?
  • Projects that have already been created in ProjectWise are likely to continue their life as a “V8i” project if they are at or past DAP by July 1, 2021.
  • New projects created in ProjectWise after July 1, 2021 will be assigned the CONNECT Design Platform attribute and managed by ProjectWise. MicroStation V8i and InRoads V8i will not operate in a CONNECT Design Platform project – so MicroStation CONNECT and OpenRoads Designer will be required to be used in these new projects.
Q. Does ProjectWise document naming have names for OpenRoads Designer files?
A. Yes. DGN files for straight MicroStation use have not changed and are at the top of the list still when selecting a document description with the ProjectWise Document Naming tool.  Descriptions for OpenRoads Designer files were added for every discipline at the BOTTOM of the document description list.

Q. Where can I find a list of ProjectWise document names for OpenRoads Designer DGNs?
A. In ProjectWise, in the _PW_Resources>PW_Standards folder, at the top of the PW_ODOT_PROD datasource, is a spreadsheet named "ProjectWise_Document_Naming_Tool_Search.xslx".  Follow the instructions in the active worksheet to display the descriptions, names and correct folders for the discipline that you select.