MicroStation is the former name of known workstations for GIS, and a group of CAD software products for 2 - and 3-dimensional drawing and design. The software is developed and distributed by the company Bentley Systems. The current versions only run on the Microsoft Windows operating system, although they were also available for Macintosh platforms and many Unix - based operating systems earlier.


MicroStation is the basic product of an architectural and engineering software, which is developed by Bentley Systems, Incorporated. Among many other things can be created with this software 2D/3D vector objects and elements.

Supported file formats

The file format is the DGN (design file) format, although MicroStation can also read many additional standard CAD formats and write. This includes the DWG and DXF. About the many different versions additional advanced features have been added in the area of modeling and rendering. Among them are the use of Boolean base, raytracing, and keyframe animation Particle Tracing. There are, among others, special working environments for architecture, civil engineering, mapping and plant.

In 2000, the DGN file format in version MicroStation V8 was first changed fundamentally to enable additional features like Digital Rights and signatures, design history - a kind of revision management and better support of the AutoDesk DWG format.


Numerous extensions are available that can be used in conjunction with MicroStation to extend its functionality. These are for example:

  • Generating a bill of materials that lists every detail drawing
  • Generating a chronological construction schedule
  • Collision checking between different drawing objects
  • Automatically Publish all drawings on a public website
  • Generating a detailed model of an entire plant including its virtual operation for training and testing purposes
  • Auto Turn, for example, for the simulation of drag curves for complex vehicle maneuvers

Additional extensions can be produced using:

  • The MicroStation Development Language ( MDL). This is one of the programming language 'C' like programming language.
  • User Command Macros ( UCMs ). This type of user-specific programming was very popular in the past, but is no longer supported since MicroStation V8.
  • Visual Basic for Applications ( VBA).
  • JMDL ( Java).

History of development

MicroStation has been developed for the PC first as Igds (Interactive Graphics Design System). At that time, the product was still called "pseudo Station".

Almost two years later, MicroStation 3.0 came on the market that is specifically optimized for the rapidly increasing computing power.

MicroStation 4.0 was completed in late 1990 and had many new features: Cut and masking of reference files, a DWG translator, various fence modes for selecting elements, ability levels ( Level, Layer) to appoint and changes in the GUI to to name a few.

1993 MicroStation 5.0 was released and in turn brought with it many new features: support binary raster files, custom line styles, a hiring manager and the so-called dimensionless drive design, a parametric form for the production of drawings.

In 1995, Windows 95 to the market. Bentley was soon followed with a MicroStation version for this operating system, the first foray into the 32- bit world. This was the first version that did not carry the version number in the name. It was called MicroStation 95, but was internally v5.5 MicroStation.

The last version that was available for several operating systems was, MicroStation SE (SE means Special Edition). The internal version number is MicroStation 5.7 and was released in 1997. This version included colored icons - were going to switch to a borderless presentation - as in Microsoft Office 97. The new features in this version include mechanisms for working over the Internet. In this version, an extended precision and the power selector has been added.

MicroStation / J (also MicroStation 7.0, or MicroStation V7) was released a year after MicroStation SE. The J in the name stands for Java, because in this version the MDL programming interface has been extended to Java. This extension JMDL was called. Further improvements are QuickvisionGL and a revised help system. MicroStation / J was the final version, which was based on the file format Igds. This file format - almost unique in the software industry - was used virtually unchanged over a period of 20 years. This file format has since been called after the last supporting version V7 format.

In 2001, MicroStation V8 has been published. The new file format based on the IEEE 754 standard and DGN called V8. The new file format makes it possible to define an almost unlimited number of levels. With the transition to floating-point arithmetic is now a much larger drawing room. With the optimization of the Microsoft Windows operating systems, a significantly larger maximum file size is now possible. Further improvements are AccuSnap, Design History, models ( multiple drawings in one file), unlimited undo, VBA interface, True Scale, standard definitions for units of work ( the new format stores internally in meters and expects to other units around ). But the most important addition is the support of the very popular DWG file format of Autodesk's AutoCAD.

MicroStation V8 2004 Edition ( V8.5 ) followed three years later with the support for new formats DWG, Multi - snaps, PDF generation and feature modeling.

MicroStation V8 XM ( V8.9 ) was then published in 2006. The XM edition includes a completely revised, based on Direct3D graphics subsystem. This version can reference PDF files. The user interface has been redesigned and includes task navigation and keyboard mapping.

The current version of MicroStation V8i is ( v8.11 ) The Task Navigation has been revised and expanded. Micro station now includes a module for processing GPS data.