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What is it?

MicroStation is a suite of CAD software products for 2- and 3-dimensional design and drafting, developed and sold by Bentley Systems. The latest versions of the software are released solely for Microsoft Windows operating systems.

The most popular versions of MicroStation are MicroStation SE (released in 1997 year), MicroStation J (released in 1998 year), MicroStation V8 (released in 2001 year)

The latest version is MicroStation V8 XM (aka MicroStation 8.9), released in 2006. It builds upon the changes made by V8. The XM edition includes a completely revised Direct3d-based graphics subsystem, PDF References, task navigation, and keyboard mapping. Curiously enough, according to Bentley, "XM" doesn't stand for anything

MicroStation V7 is just common name for pre-MicroStation V8 releases (95, SE, J). It appeared because of significant version change which appeared between MicroStation J and MicroStation V8. Most users which wanted to start their applications which successfully worked under MicroStation J, failed to launch in MicroStation V8. This resulted in huge amount of work for rewriting applications to MicroStation V8.

MicroStation DGN format. How can I view these files?

Bentley created free viewer that allows you to open, view, interrogate, and print MicroStation DGN and AutoCAD DWG drawings and models. With an installed user base in the millions, Bentley View is possibly one of the most widely used CAD viewing tools available anywhere in the world. You can see screenshot of the Bentley View application below:

Free Viewer for MicroStation DGN

That is excellent decision for those people who do not want to spend money for viewing MicroStation DGN files.

Download MicroStation FREE Viewer (Bentley View) now!

MicroStation add-ons

MicroStation is famous for it's flexible ability for extension. Each user can potentially write an extension which can be used with MicroStation to add to its functionality.

Like AutoCAD's AutoLISP, MicroStation has it's own developing tools:

  • The MicroStation Development Language (MDL) which is a 'C' like programming language
  • Visual Basic for Applications
  • MicroStation Basic
  • User Command Macros (UCMs). Once very popular, support for these is no longer guaranteed in V8.
  • JMDL
  • SDK, which can be used for creation of Windows tools, which will be able to launch MicroStation functions