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After you’ve been working with MicroStation cell for a while, I’m sure you will be wondering how to modify the cell on your drawing… and how you can modify the cell in your cell library. Well, I guess the best practice in MicroStation is, you don’t change the cells on your drawings, but you replace them.
For AutoCAD Users
If you are AutoCAD users, I know you will be trying to find something like edit in-place or block editor. And you will expect modifying the cell definition will update all cells in your drawing automatically. MicroStation cell might be similar to AutoCAD block. But they are totally different animals.
MicroStation cells are library, objects that you use repeatedly. Imagine you are placing chairs when you design an office space. When you realize that you want other type of chair, you do not create chair on your own, but you pick another type from catalog and use it. I guess this makes sense. You keep the first chair model in your library, but you don’t change it because you might need it later. You simply remove it from the drawing (but not changing the definition) and replace it with another type.
AutoCAD and MicroStation have different concept on this ‘reusable contents’, so don’t try to make cell behave like block!
Modifying MicroStation Cell
However, you will need to modify cells. You may need to correct some mistakes, update the library, or for other purposes. How to modify cell library? There are two ways: you can delete the MicroStation cell definition and recreate it, or you can modify the MicroStation cell within cell library file directly.
Recreate the cell definition
AutoCAD users may love this workflow. You can place your cell to your drawing, then drop the cell.
Drop is a tool that will break your element to simpler elements. You created cell from several elements, and drop element will break the cell back to the original elements.
Make necessary changes, then recreate the cell. You need to delete the original cell from cell library first, before creating cell with the same name.
Opening and Modifying MicroStation Cell Library
Another method to do this is by opening the cell library. Cell library basically is a DGN file. You can open it using file>open, then change the file type to MicroStation Cell Libraries (*.cel).
Each cell is placed in separate model. Each model will use the cell name. To switch to the cell you want to modify, access file>models. MicroStation will open model dialog. This model dialog will show you all cells the cell library has. You can double click to open the model, or right click>open. This will open your cell.
Do the modification as necessary on the drawing. After you finish, save this cell library. Now your cells are updated!
Now if you back to your design file, you will see that your cells are still using the old definition. They are not changed to the new cell definition. Yes, you need to update them manually. Or change the cell to another cell definition.
You can do that by using replace cell tool.
This tool is called replace cells. However, you can also use it for updating your cell definitions.
Activate the replace cell tool, and take a look to the tool options.
You can use update or replace cell as the method. Remember, you need to attach the cell library. Some cell tools won’t work if it can’t find the cell definition in cell library.
You can also change single cell instance, or update every cell that use the same definition.