What is AreaAnnotator?

AreaAnnotator™ CONNECT Edition is an AddIn or App that adds functionality to Bentley Systems MicroStation® CONNECT. It's a tool for Architects, Engineers and Planners.

AreaAnnotator facilitates annotatation of areas

MicroStation®, created by Bentley Systems, helps you to design, analyse, and present 3D models and 2D designs. MicroStation stores your models and designs in a DGN file.

We often want to create reports about DGN graphic elements. For example, suppose your job is to design an office floor layout or parking lot. You want to know information about the way you've divided the space. You might ask questions similar to the following …

This is where you might find AreaAnnotator™ CONNECT Edition useful.

AreaAnnotator CONNECT Edition: a tool for Architects, Engineers and Planners

AreaAnnotator™ CONNECT Edition works with MicroStation CONNECT to help annotate, measure and report areas in your DGN models.

AreaAnnotator™ is the answer to common questions posed by MicroStation CONNECT users …


AreaAnnotator Tool Settings for Query

AreaAnnotator™ CONNECT Edition works with technology introduced with MicroStation CONNECT to annotate and update object measurements.

Area Measurements

AreaAnnotator CONNECT Edition is a development of an earlier annotation tool for MicroStation V8i. It lets you annotate an area feature, such as a shape or complex shape element. AreaAnnotator uses MicroStation Text Fields to create smart labels. MicroStation observes changes to the area and updates the shape's annotation label automatically.

Annotated Shape

In the example above, you can see the following labels created by AreaAnnotator …

Using Alternative Metrics

By 'Alternative Metrics' we mean the ability to label an area using both the DGN model master units (e.g. feet²) and an alternative unit (e.g. metres²). AreaAnnotator lets you choose to use an alternative metric in addition to the default DGN model master unit. Here's an example …

Annotated Shape showing Alternative Metrics

AreaAnnotator Item Data

AreaAnnotator uses two classes from its Item Types schema to annotate an object …

Object IDs

AreaAnnotator helps you to annotate object IDs. If you are annotating rooms you may want a consistently-numbered room ID. For example, room numbering in your current model may start with room 100 and continue in increments of five. What's more, you can add explanatory text around the ID, so your sequence would look something like Room 100, Room 105, …, Room 125, Room 130.

The ID is invaluable when creating a report or table. The ID provides a visual reference to the tagged object.


AreaAnnotator helps you to explain the purpose of an object. If you are annotating rooms you may want to describe rooms as office space, circulation, meeting etc.. AreaAnnotator's Purpose tag let's you assign a purpose to an object.

AreaAnnotator Tool Settings for Labelling

The Purpose is invaluable when creating a report or table. The Purpose provides a way to classify similar types of object, and filter and sort reports.

The screenshot above shows AreaAnnotator's Tool Settings for Labelling. The text fields show the values assigned to the target area. The toggle buttons on the right let you choose to include or omit data from the labels you create. For example, you might choose to show just the ID, or perhaps the ID and the Area.

What Happens if I Delete a Label?

With AreaAnnotator a label is just a label. It reflects the underlying Item Data attached to a DGN element.

If you delete a label, the Item Data remains attached to the DGN element. If you use AreaAnnotator's tag command, the Item Data is once more visible in the new label.

How do I delete Item data?

If you want to remove the Item data that underpins an AreaAnnotator label, then use the ANNOTATOR TAG REMOVE command.

When you remove the Item data, AreaAnnotator automatically deletes its label,

Automatic Update

The annotation labels you create with AreaAnnotator update themselves when you modify the host shape. That is, when you use one of MicroStation's built-in tools to edit or modify a labelled shape, you see the new measurement displayed automatically in the label.

AreaAnnotator Reports & Tables

MicroStation Reports Dialog

AreaAnnotator delegates the manufacture of its reports and tables to MicroStation. MicroStation provides an Item Types reporting tool. From the reporting tool, you can create a table for placement as a DGN graphic element.

Annotating Multiple Objects

AreaAnnotator™ CONNECT Edition includes a tool to tag multiple objects with the AreaAnnotator Item Types. The bulk tagging tool searches a DGN model for shapes on a named level. When it tags a shape, AreaAnnotator creates a label to provide a visual clue that the element is annotated.

AreaAnnotator Tool Settings for Tagging Multiple Objects

The AreaAnnotator ID, which is visible in the label, is auto-incremented for each shape. For example, if your ID takes the form Room 101, then subsequent labels will be Room 102, Room 103, Room 104 …etc.

It you've used AreaAnnotator for MicroStation V8i you'll appreciate that bulk tagging was implemented in a separate VBA project ShapeTagger.

AreaAnnotator Key-In Commands

The MicroStation key-in to start AreaAnnotator is
mdl load AreaAnnotator

AreaAnnotator Tool Box

Once loaded, AreaAnnotator provides a number of key-ins that are detailed here.

AreaAnnotator Settings

Settings Dialog

AreaAnnotator settings are described here.

Download AreaAnnotator

Visit the download page to register your interest in AreaAnnotator and download the installer.

License Terms

LA Solutions' AreaAnnotator™ CONNECT Edition is licensed software. When you first install AreaAnnotator™ CONNECT Edition we grant you automatically a 30-day evaluation license. To continue using AreaAnnotator™ CONNECT Edition you must purchase a license. You may purchase one or more licenses. Discounts are available for multiple license purchases.

What's Comining in AreaAnnotator CONNECT Edition?

Many of you have asked for aggregation tools. That is, if you have annotated a floor plan, for example, you want to how many offices are on that plan and their total area. AreaAnnotator's Aggregation tools will let you obtain exactly that information …

AreaAnnotator Aggregation Tools

ShapeTagger for MicroStation V8i

If you're familiar with AreaAnnotator for MicroStation V8i, then you may have come across ShapeTagger.

The functions of ShapeTagger are incorporated into AreaAnnotator™ CONNECT Edition. ShapeTagger is not available for MicroStation CONNECT, nor is it necessary.