Join Jeanne Aarhus for an in-depth discussion in this video Controlling focus, part of Microstation: AccuDraw.
- For this exercise, open the file "Welcome to AccuDraw.dgn" The key to controlling AccuDraw is to control the input focus in MicroStation. By default, MicroStation has the focus in the tool settings dialogue for most commands. This might not be the best behavior when using AccuDraw. Let's look at how you can control the application focus yourself. First, let's look at the default settings. Using the pull-down menu Workspace, Preferences, select the Look and Feel category.
Here you can see the setting for Auto-Focus Tool Settings Window, which is on by default in many versions of MicroStation. I prefer this to be off when working with AccuDraw, especially when first learning AccuDraw. What does this setting do? This setting basically automatically moves the focus to the Tool Settings Dialogue whenever a command is selected. Next, select the Input category, and verify that the allow escape to stop a current command is also turned on.
Pick OK to save these changes, and close the dialogue. I also want to turn on the key-in browser to demonstrate how to control the focus with this turned on. Use the pull-down menu Help, Key-in Browser, to open the key-in field. I will shrink this and dock it at the top of the application window. Use the escape key to cancel all running commands and automatically select the element selection tool. The current focus is in the home position, which is displayed in the status bar here.
There are four possible focus locations in MicroStation. Home, this is the top level input focus, which means that you are not currently performing any specific command action. Tool Settings means the tool settings dialogue has input focus. Key-In, which means the key-in browser has input focus. And AccuDraw, meaning the AccuDraw dialogue has input focus. No icon at this location indicates that the input focus is in a specific dialogue or window, most likely selected by you.
MicroStation tries to follow your actions and moves the input focus as needed based on your activity. For example, when you use the "Place Line" command, the focus moves from Home to the AccuDraw dialogue automatically, and then back to Home after you reset to complete the command. Let me demonstrate. I will select the line command, and if you watch the status bar input focus icon, you can see that it is in the Home position. When I issue the first left click or data point in the view window, the status bar's input focus changes to the AccuDraw icon to indicate that AccuDraw now has focus. And if I look at the AccuDraw dialogue, I can see that it does have focus and is waiting for me to key-in some input.
When I right click or reset to complete the line command, the input focus displays the Home icon again. If I select the circle command, and change the method to Diameter, the focus moves to the tool settings dialogue, as shown here in the status bar. When I issue the first left click in the view window to start drawing the circle element, the input focus changes to the AccuDraw icon. And when I left click to define the circle element, the command input focus changes to the Home icon again because the command is complete.
If I want to place a circle at a specific XY coordinate, I can use the key-in browser to specify the XY value. I will select the circle command again, this time I want the center of the circle to be at 0,0. There are two ways to do this. The first is to use the key-in "XY equals 0,0", which is how most users do it without AccuDraw. For this method, I need to pick in the key-in browser which moves the input focus to the key-in browser as displayed in the status bar.
Then, I need to key-in "XY equals 0,0" and hit enter to start the circle at 00. When I move the cursor back into the view window, AccuDraw takes over and the input focus changes to AccuDraw, as displayed in the status bar. If I drag my cursor in the X direction, I can key-in one for the circle diameter, and left click to except. Now the input focus will change back to Home, and I am ready to draw another circle. Let's use control Z to undo that.
Since this is an AccuDraw course, I could also use AccuDraw instead of the key-in "XY equals 0,0" to input the coordinate value. Using the circle command again, look at the AccuDraw dialogue, and verify that you have X and Y fields. If not, use the space bar shortcut to move the input focus to the AccuDraw dialogue and use the space bar again to toggle to the X and Y fields. Use the AccuDraw shortcut P to open the data point input dialogue and verify that it is set to absolute XY equals, and key-in 0,0 and press enter to close the dialogue. This will start the circle at the coordinate 00, and I can again drag my cursor in the X direction, and key-in one for the circle diameter, and left click to accept and complete the circle.
This method, using AccuDraw as the primary input focus for drawing the new circle, requires less key-in input from the user. Now that you have witnessed how the focus moves around in MicroStation, I want to demonstrate in the next exercise how you can control it when MicroStation moves the focus somewhere that is not convenient for your current workflow.
- Using AccuDraw and AccuSnap
- Controlling focus
- Using multi-snaps
- AccuDraw basics in 2D and 3D
- Using AccuDraw shortcuts
- Drawing and modifying 3D solids
- Advanced AccuDraw techniques
- Custom AccuDraw shortcuts