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Microstation vs. AutoCAD

Microstation vs. AutoCAD

Microstation vs. AutoCAD

I have been using AutoCAD for more than 6 years and I have used Microstation for about 2 years. I personally prefer AutoCAD over Microstation because I feel that it is more user friendly. I would like to hear other opinions and thoughts.

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

I have used AutoCad for a long time and have found it to be both intuitive and user friendly.  I  have only just begun to work with Microstation (about a year off and on) and find it cumbersome with a steep learning curve.  Moreover, I don't see what the benefit is with Microstation that has sold so many agencies on it.  In my work its all our clients want now...how did AutoDesk alienate so many people or is there something I'm missing???!

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

I started on Microstation and have been using it for 6 years. I also worked with AutoCAD 12/13 6 years ago and HATED it. ACAD 14 and 2000 are HUGE improvements, but since most of my CAD work is done using Microstation, I am much more comfortable with it and prefer it.

I have found that working with reference files is much easier in Microstation. I have also found the controls and features to be much more intuitive in MS. Manipulating text is the main drawback to Microstation in my opinion.

I have found that most roadway jobs use Microstation due to the large number of reference files (survey, utilities, cogo, etc.) that must be used and the design features it provides (Igrds, geopak). Municipalities generally use AutoCAD because it is cheaper.

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

I think that AutoCAD is more user friendly and is more flexiable simply because when I want to execute a command, I can use the alises such as "Z" for Zoom at the command prompt. I have not had the same success with Microstation. It seems that whenever I want to execute a command in Microstation, I constantly have to hunt for an icon or look for the command in one of the pull-down menus.

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

A key to making Microstation easy to use is the function keys. I have set them to commands that I often use and this simplifies tasks immensely.

Go to WorkSpace-->Function Keys to see what the settings are currently. I have my F1 key set to Lock Axis (toggles between axis lock on and off). Other helpful operations I have on there are show reference (show the reference files), copy par key (copies an parallel to the original a specified value away), move par key, place fence, and measure distance perp.

This tool is makes MS easily adaptable to your personal CAD style.

You can also create your own menu with all the commands you use the most. Whichever is easier for you is the way to go!! Hope this helps all those anti-Microstation guys out there!!


RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

Does anyone know if Microstation has command alises like AutoCAD does? And if so, is there a way to make them somewhat compatibale with AutoCAD commands?. In AutoCAD, I only use these commands and it seems to speed upthe production much faster.

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD


RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

I know it's not in vogue right now, but I use a digitizer tablet with Microstation. All the commands that I need, including some that I like that cannot be accessed any more save by key-in, are right at my fingertips. I also use a 16-button puck, and have customized all the extra 12 buttons as things like zoom commands, toggle axis lock, set AA to 0, etc. Granted, I used MS much more than AutoCad, but I think that it wins hands down. And, now with V8, the few limitations that MS did have have been lifted.

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

You could also try ALIASMGR. To do that, go to the menu Utilities and select MDL Application. On the "Available Applications" list select ALIASMGR and click on "load".

A dialog box appears where you can select an "*.alm" file...you can found some examples of this file type under ...\bentley\program\microstation\mdl\examples\aliasmgr\

Have a good job with this tool!

Philippe Halet


RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

Yea, Rob, but win I used AutoCad with a tablet and digitizer I had all those luxuries too!

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

i think those who use to start working with MS prefer MS and the same with AC. i've been using AC for more than 8 years and MS for 2 years. i appreciated both program because they are very usefull in fields thats uses CAD software. both have thier own advantages, just like autocad it is really friendly user program, but when it comes to 3D drawings, esp manipulating solids, i prefer using MS. in AC, when two solids or surface are not in the plane or UCS, you can hardly modify/manipulate it. while in MS, no matter how you create the solid objects, it easy to manipulate.

for me, the gap between MS & AC becomes narrow because of Autolisp, UCM, Macro commands.

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

With the advent of version 8, there really is NO reason to NOT use Microstation. It reads and writes Acad files AND DGNs natively. And the tools are extremely useful.

Acad is a Pinto, time to step up to a MIcrostation CADDilac.  


Do it right the first time or...
do it all over again!

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

Alright, I hit the "Submit Post" button too soon!

If you guys are concerned with keyboard aliasing, e-mail me! I can show you how to customize Microstation with over 300 "Accudraw Shortcuts". It's very easy. A buddy of mine invented a way to do it and it's VERY simple to do. I FLY on my CADD station and I just set the Accudraw keyboard shortcuts up less than a week ago on my machine. I was using function keys, but they are somewhat limited. There is also a way to set up your mouse so you can DOUBLE the commands that you can issue with your mouse. Currently, I have 8 functions working off of my mouse! Tentative, Data Point, Snap, Select, Zoom Window, Zoom Out and Zoom All. And that's with only a 3 button mouse! There are 8 button mice out there...

Send an e-mail to: darkside_sith@hotmail.com

I'd be glad to help. (All this stuff is freeware.)


Do it right the first time or...
do it all over again!

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

AutoCad may be more user friendly, but it is a slow and cumbersome tool. There are way too many keystrokes involved. Microstation may have it's drawbacks, but it is easily the far more superior product. I have used both AutoCad (6 yrs) & Microstation (8 yrs), so I have a pretty good understanding of each product.  Given my choice, I would do everything in Microstation and never touch AutoCad, and besides, knowing Microstation opens the door for a higher salary.

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

If you compare feature to feature and tool to tool, both of the software have their very slight advantages and disadvantages over one another. The age of competition compells both of them to match up to the other. You can get away with your drawings on any of the software, practically with the same amount of time spent and the same headache.

Having said that, I still prefer MicroStation. Many people, who once start using Mstation do not come back to acad, and I am one of those. This is, I believe, due to superior look and feel of microstation. The looks are elegant, the rendering is still unmatched by any other software I have seen.

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

I am a software developer who was asked to make a change to a microstation file two weeks ago and found it to be very powerfull, but simple things like color coding the background of a map elude me (theres that learning curve).  Is there a trick to this, or perhaps a site with some tutorial information you could point me to?

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

I've used ACAD since v4, so I admit I am biased towards it. I have always been able tu pick up ANY software just by using it (including autocad v4, MAX, quark,...); However I have never been so frustrated by using a software as I have been with Microstation. No feed back on what is going on, sometimes yo have to left click to accept, sometimes you don't, it depends on the tool and on what's selected. Tools and menu not working properly and not updating to what's is currently selected, bugs, limited to 63 layers (NO it's not enough, even if there is WORK-AROUND by using reference file, which by the way are also limited in number!)
People say it's more like drawing, or like illustrator, but hey! it's very far from wysiwyg: lineweights are not representative, even linetypes aren't! I'm sure experts would know which variable to change to make a linetype look different, but I don't!
Palettes that reset every time you open a drawing, layers without names, complicated plot dialog, Options and variables for one fuction spread all over the menus, unintuitive menus, non-eplorer-like File Open dialog boxes which prevent you from seeing file properties, Network Drives displayed as a letter only instead of it's name, cells limited in size, cells you can't update easily

Everything is complicated, and just thinking of the process I have to go through to make the simplest things just frustrates me.

Let's take an example: I want to change the color of a line I see on screen.

1 - Click Select tool
2 - click on empty space to make sure sure I haven't got anything else selected, or beware of nasty surprises!!!
3 - Select change attributes tool, click Color Tick mark and select my color
4 - click on the line
5 - click to accept
6 - Oops it's not doing it! Why? WHY?
7 - check that level symbology is not on
8 - check that the line is not a cell
9 - go to Information and click on line
10- Scroll all the way down to figure out if it's in a reference file
11- AAh it is. File 6 whatever it is, it doesn't actually tell you, which would be useful so that I could open that file and modify the line.
And by the way, why is the Change attributes tool allowing me to select that line in a reference file if I can't modify it! And no warning whatsoever.
12- open reference file manager
13- select file 6 and Exchange
14- Select change attributes tool
15- click on line
16- Nothing happens, Oh i have to select Color Tick mark and select my color once again, (palette has reset to default)
17- Ok It's done
18- Go back to original file
19- the line has changed color but it's the wrong one, there is probably a different color table for that file than for the current file
20- and on and on and on

This is scary! Don't you realise this.

Let's see this in Acad

1. Click on line
2. oops the whole draing is highliting, must be a block or a reference file. (if you have your properties palette docked in, you can see it straight away and go to step 4.)
3. LI - click on object again.
top of the window: x-reference = filename.dwg
Either user refedit real simple, but I'm old schools so
4. I'll open the drawing, (If I don't know where it is saved, go to Reference manager and copy the location, go to file open and paste it in.)
5. Click one the line, go to Format (as in any other windows menu) properties (as in any other windows menu) change the color.
6. Go back to my drawing


Except for step 2. never any hesitation or frustration

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

Speaking of drawing presentation - since you mentioned that Microstation is supposed to be more like drawing or illustrating - why is it that the lines where they intersect at corners aren't complete.  If you look close there is a little corner left out where the ends of the lines meet but where the lines don't overlap.  

That sort of thing wasn't acceptable when inking and I don't think it should be now!

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

I agree, the screen presentation of microstation drawings is pathetic.  And the fact that it doesn't refresh is strange too.  Ever delete something only to find that there was another copy underneath it when you plot it?  Maybe there is a way to make it automatically refresh, I don't know.  But I sure am sick of clicking the paintbrush button over and over and over...

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

I am no supporter of Microstation nor friend of ACAD. Sometimes I am required to take test of job-applicants and I just hand them over a small detail or sketch to do on a platform of their choice. Some use Autocad while others MicroStation. At the end they are supposed to take a print and come to me.
I generally cant tell whether the person has used MicroStation or ACAD. But as you will expect, I can easily identify the better performers from the learners. People do make the difference to the quality of the drawing. Learn any software you like, BUT learn it well. Minor discomforts will always happen but this is the way it is!


RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

I have used both AutoCAD and MicroStation, I have found out thru my experience in both the private sector and working for TXDOT that MicroStation is better for Transportation projects,land developement, and  mapping. AutoCAD is good for structural, machine, and architectural.  Both are good design software programs, so it is just to your tailoring what to use.  I use to work for the TXDOT Information Systems Division in the Engineering Systems section, and use to work for the El Paso Community College as a AutoCAD Lab Manager, and also for the private sector.  All I can advise is learn both.  You thank me later for the advice.

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

Hi All,
My turn , I have also been a avid CAD user for more years than I can remember....wait it was when vaccum tubes were still being used.
I have used and still use both AutoCAD & Microstation. The latest versions have been LDDT2i & GeoPak. In Acad the modelspace vs. paperspace is and always will be an issue. In Microstation the advantage is to do the design and reference it to the sheet file. Scaling is just part of the program.
I did do some Beta testing with V8 and Boys & Girls we no longer have to fight between the programs any longer it will read write both DWG & DGN files. Besides if you are doing work for a DOT in the USA you will find that almost all of them require that you have Microstation. Alot of support is available from the DOT's and from other federal agencies:
Try this one and see what I mean.
Besides if you are using GeoPAK alot of the criteria has been written to corilate with federal specs.
Good Luck to All,

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

I am new to Microstation and trying to develop piping isometrics.

I am able to draw isometric lines easily per the Isometric settings on microstation.  However, How do I insert valves in the proper orientation?  

If the x-axis runs horizontally on my screen, how do I rotate with respect to the x- axis?  Currently, I only able to rotate objects with respect to the Z-axis.

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

I resently started working for a company that uses Microstation because that is what our client request.  I used AutoCAD LDD 2000 and AutoCAD 2002 with Eagle Point for the last 2-yrs.  I find there are three issues that affect how people feel about CAD (Microstation vs. AutoCAD).

Mostly I have found that whatever program a person learns fisrt, they preffer in the long run.

Second, you need to compare contemporay version of software.  Comparing Microstation V8 to AutoCAD 10 is pointless.  I run into situations where descisions are based on experiences that happened with 10-yr old software.  Talk about comparing pintos to cadillacs.

Third, ask yourself what CAD stands for.  There are two answers. "Computer Aided Drafting"  and "Computer Aided Design".  As an engineer I use Microstation or AutoCAD to design.  Why do the work twice.  With AutoCAD and I suspect Microstation will be the same, how well the software does design depends on the add-on you use.  Many people I have talked to started as drafters and have learned to draft with the computer, but don't use it as a design tool.  Many of the engineers never learned to use the either software or haven't tried to use it since it was computer drafting and believe it is a waste of the engineers time.  Being young, I find this fustrating.

I suspect there may even be a difference between disiplines.  Which one is better for doing earthworks, roads, electrical, structural, etc...  My experience have been related to site design.

As a civil engineer working on site designs and hydrology jobs, which is better and what add-ons would be most useful?

Any thoughts?  

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

In response to Ben Dar and others...
You don't use the select tool to find out what an element is.. in pre V8 versions tentative on an element and read the status line it tells you what type of element and its level and if its a ref file which one...
In V8 just move the mouse cursor over the element and wait then it will pop out..
I prefered to use infosnap in preV8 its a 3rd party free tool that will blow your socks off..
As to exchange file I just use my function keys setup and accudraw short cuts to execute any command quicker than i ever could in Acad..
If you wanna be a typist use Autocad.. you want to draft use microstation..
If you use V8 you can open all acad as dwg without conversions and just keep working as a microstation drafter.. Autocad only uses autocad files or dxf ..
in mapping you need to be able to open all kinds of files ...

RE: Microstation vs. AutoCAD

It all depends on which platform you learn first. I have worked on both Microstation and AutoCAD.
As a technical mapper I find Microstation not only easier but has many more features than AutoCAD, not to mention programming MDL's and the versatility of them. Now working in the GIS field I use AutoCAD 2002. But I find AutoCAD to be very cumbersome and repetitive in many commands, I could create the same map in Microstation in half the time, and not because I know the proper way in Microstation and not In AutoCAD.
AutoCAD took awhile to even catch up to the Microstation platform with certain commands. Majority in the mapping field that have used to Microstation & AutoCAD will prefer Microstation for the job for the simple reason it does the job faster and better.
But if you learned AutoCAD first then you won't like Microstation because even though they are both CAD programs Microstation I find to be more of a professional level of Computer Aided Drafting programs when seemed to be a simplified version of Microstaion.

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