How to Convert MicroStation to PDF Files

By William Harrel

Bentley MicroStation is a Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and 3D modeling program used primarily for drafting, creating interactive 3D models and for architecture. Depending on the types of MicroStation documents you want to convert to PDF, the procedure varies somewhat. To covert 2D drawings and renderings, for example, you can use the Adobe PDF printer driver that comes with Acrobat Pro. Since PDFs don't directly support 3D models, to convert these documents you'll need to embed them into your PDFs with Acrobat Pro's 3D Tool.

Things You'll Need

  • Bentley MicroStation
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro 7 or later

Converting 2D Documents to PDFs

Step 1

Open the MicroStation document you want to convert to PDF in MicroStation. Click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Open" to display the Open dialog box. Navigate to the file, select it and click "Open."

Step 2

Click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Print." This opens the Print dialog box. Click the "Name" drop-down near the top of the dialog box and select "Adobe PDF." Click "OK" to open the Save PDF As dialog.

Step 3

Navigate to the directory where you want to save the PDF. Click "Save." You can now view the file as a PDF in Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Pro or a Web browser.

Converting 3D Models to PDFs

Step 1

Open the MicroStation document you want to convert to PDF in MicroStation. Click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Open" to display the Open dialog box. Navigate to the file, select it and click "Open."

Step 2

Click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Export" to open the Export dialog box. Click the "Save File As" drop-down near the bottom of the dialog box and choose "Universal 3D (.u3d)." Navigate to the directory where you intend to create the PDF and click "Save."

Step 3

Open Acrobat Pro and create a new document. Click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Create PDF," and then select "From Blank Page" from the fly-out menu.

Step 4

Click "Tools" on the menu bar, choose "Multimedia" and then select "3D Tool" from the fly-out menu. Draw a control container on the page where you want to embed your 3D model. This opens the Insert 3D dialog box. Click the "Browse" button and navigate to the U3D file you want to embed. Select it and click the "Open" button. Acrobat embeds the file into the page and displays the 3D control strip. You can now move it around on the page, re-size it and manipulate the model with your mouse cursor or the control strip.

Step 5

Save the PDF. Click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Save As." Navigate to the directory where you want to save the file, name it in the "Name" field, and click "Save."

Tips & Warnings

  • When you export from MicroStation to U3D, MicroStation also creates a JavaScript file (.js) and saves it in the directory with the U3D. This file generates the 3D control strip. When you deploy the PDF to the Internet or burn it to a CD, make sure you include this file.
  • When you deploy your PDF to the Internet or burn it to a CD, make sure you upload or save both the U3D file and JavaScript JS file. These files are not imported into the PDF. Instead, they are "linked" and are separate files.
  • When deploying the PDF, keep your paths and file names intact. Acrobat needs to know where to find the supporting linked files.