Introduction to MicroStation

I wrote this tutorial years ago, while I still working in a Bentley reseller. I wrote it in Indonesian, when it’s still V8XM. I decided to rewrite it in English, and update some screenshot with V8i. Thanks for my partner, I can get 30 days trial to do so. I know there are not many similar tutorial available. That’s why I decided to share this on my blog. I hope this tutorial series will be helpful to you. Enjoy! You can also bookmark the complete list in this table of content.

MicroStation Manager

MicroStation is a Windows compliant software. As any other software, you can start it from Windows start menu, double click the icon from desktop, or clicking the icon in quick launch if you put it there.

When you start the application, you will see a dialog box: MicroStation Manager.

MicroStation Manager

Not like another popular CAD platform, this application allows you to select user, project, and interface at this dialog. You can find these options on lower right of this dialog.


Let’s change the user to examples. And change the project to building. What we just did is we set the folder to examples>building at default location. This is where is it on Vista. If you use XP, you will see it on different folder.

user and project folder

Let’s just open folder drawings, and select file BSI300-GroundFloorPlan.dgn. You should see it because it’s included in default installation. Open it.

The Interface

This is how MicroStation looks like. It’s not as complicated as this actually. I just arrange them closer so you can see all components in limited image.

MicroStation Interface


I assume that you already get used to Windows applications. Menu in this application work just the same. You can access all the tools and settings through available items in this application menu.

Task Navigation

Task navigation is where your tools are.

You can change active task from tasks list. Let’s say you need to give your objects dimension. If you want to focus to dimension tools only, you can switch the active task to drawing>dimension. You will only see dimension tools in active task.

Main tasks are the tools you will see no matter what your active task is. Main task mostly consist tools related to objects manipulations and modifications.

task navigation

See several icons next to active task title bar? You can change the display by clicking it. Choose which you think suit you most.

Now try to click the icon. That will activate the tool. Yeah, aren’t all Windows application works that way? But now try to click on Place SmartLine tool, hold your mouse button. What do you see? You will see all similar tools to create lines! You can select any other tools you want.

Try to click the ‘open linear as toolbox’ from the selection. That will open a toolbar for linear tools.


Activating and Using tools

Now you already know how to start MicroStation. You know where you can access MicroStation tools. You just need to click on a tool from the list to activate it.

So how do you know what tool is active? You can see it from status bar and from tool settings.

tool settings

Tool settings will show you only settings related to active tool. In this example, place smartline. Try to click several points in your drawing area. There you go! It’s easy isn’t it?

Next, we will learn how to work with MicroStation files.

Share the knowledge...Facebook0Twitter0Google+1LinkedIn0Email
  • Bill Foster

    Edwin, These are awesome. I send them to lots of new Microstation users and clients.

  • EdwinPrakoso

    Thank you very much Bill :) It means a lot when someone from Bentley itself say that… I appreciate it.

  • EdwinPrakoso


    • Gary Joachim

      Hi Edwin

      I am looking for a free copy of Microstation software to learn it as I am AutoCAD user for many years. I used Microstation yearsr ago for a short while I have a new job using Microstation. I liekot get up to speed.

      Kind Regards

      • Edwin Prakoso

        I’m sorry but I can’t help you with licensing.

  • Pingback: Best of CAD Notes: 20 Most Viewed in 2009 | CAD Notes

  • Pero

    I’m working in cadastra so I need some literature for MicroStation v8 to make easier work.If there is any chance to send me some literature I’ll be gratefool, but free please because I have no money to pay for it. Thank you

  • saurabh

    I am an autocad user shifting to microstation,
    while starting microstation i am getting 3D-V8 DGN insted of 2D-V8 DGN as shown in this tutorial.
    how to change it also what is the difference between two?

    • Edwin Prakoso

      Hi Saurabh,

      You need to select 2D seed file to get 2D DGN. Follow the next tutorial, you will get the explanation there.
      2D DGN does not has Z axis, only X and Y. 3D DGN has X,Y, and Z.

  • EYLA


    I’m an AutoCad user and interested to learn Microstation since most of our projects require drawings in microstation.
    What is the fastest / easiest way to learn Microstation?

    Thanks & regards,
    eyla omar

    • Edwin Prakoso

      The easiest way is to have a training. Alternatively, you can try training video, so you can learn at your office. Try this training video.

  • shaun

    I am an autocad user trying to learn microstation via this tutorial. i downloaded the trial version outlined here, but cannot find the file BSI300-GroundFloorPlan.dgn that is said to be included. am i doing something wrong? did i miss downloading something?

    • Edwin Prakoso

      I use old trial version of MicroStation. That file might not be available in later released. You may use any DGN or DWG to do exercise in this chapter.

  • chon

    I’m a draftswoman in gov.can i downloads the microStation and revit?..i wanna learn this so i can apply to my work..thank you..

    • Edwin Prakoso

      You can download MicroStation trial from and Revit trial from



  • Edbert H

    I am very impressed with what you have done so far in improving the CAD industry. In fact, I was surprised to see that you are Indonesian; I was also born in Jakarta.
    Keep up the good work!
    Edbert H

  • hari prasad

    am an electrical engineering student …what are the advantages of MICROSTATION software and how it will help me

  • zookyprr

    Is this compatible with Windows & Apple OS?

  • Rubie

    Hi Thank u for sharing your knowledge in microstation, im just a beginner here and each lessons are very useful and you made it easier for us to understand each commands and functions . Keep up the good work. God bless u.

  • kalai (india)

    Hi lm use for Auto Cad but I lean to microstation how meny day to lean than it’s frnd software ya…command are same or any change’s

  • Anirban.M

    I am Anirban. I am working mainly on Auto-Cad. Few weeks ago, I find your Revit tutorial & it helped me a lot to get started with the software. Recently I installed Microstation V8 XM in my PC and looking for a tutorial here. What I see is your training is on the latest version of microstation V8i. My PC does not have enough hardware profile to load the latest version. So Can I ask you if you have any training material on Microstation V8 XM?

  • ibrahim kabiru

    tutorial on micro station i need it pls