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, planners and technicians.

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.

Getting Started

Read the Getting Started section for a quick introduction to AreaAnnotator.

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

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 will discover AreaAnnotator™ CONNECT Edition to be indispensible.

Example DGN Model

Here's a small DGN model for you to examine. It contains a single area feature that represents an office plan view. We've used AreaAnnotator to label the office …

AreaAnnotator example DGN model

Open the example DGN model with MicroStation CONNECT. Try using MicroStation's built-in tools to modify the shape. Note how the labels update automatically when you change the shape.

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 annotation tool for a previous generation of MicroStation (MicroStation V8i). It lets you annotate an area feature, such as a shape or complex shape element. More exactly, AreaAnnotatorn works with planar closed shapes in a 2D or 3D DGN model. 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 …

Search Tool

AreaAnnotator has a search tool …

AreaAnnotator Search dialog showing search results

See the Search page for more information.

Align Annotation Labels

AreaAnnotator has an align tool. When you attach area properties to an element you can place the label manually wherever you want. Subsequently you may want to realign the labels for neatness. The align tool lets you place multiple labels, each relative to its host, in a uniform manner.

See the Alignment page for more information.

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 a MicroStation Item Type schema definition named Area Feature. AreaAnnotator uses several user-supplied properties from its MicroStation Area Feature schema to annotate an object …

AreaAnnotator also uses several non-editable properties from its MicroStation Area Feature schema to format alternative measurements, if enabled …

Non-editable property values are calculated automatically by AreaAnnotator. If you have chosen to use them, you will see alternative measurement in the labels & reports created by AreaAnnotator.

Room ID

AreaAnnotator helps you to annotate room IDs drawn as MicroStation shape or complex shape elements. 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.

Auto Increment

AreaAnnotator will auto-increment the room ID as you annotate area features. In the Settings dialog, you control (a) whether you want to enable auto-increment and (b) the amount by which the ID is incremented (the delta value).

Area Type

You can designate an area to represent an Enclosure or a Void.

For example, a conference hall might be tagged as an Enclosure. Pillars within that hall might be tagged as Void. An external report or calculation could evaluate the net area of the hall as its area less the area of all voids.


AreaAnnotator helps you to tag if a room is occupied or not. While most useful post-build, the occupied Boolean flag lets you identify those offices or room that have been assigned and those that remain unoccupied.

You can use MicroStation Display Rules with the occupied flag to modify the way in which MicroStation displays occupied or unoccupied rooms. There is an example in MicroStation help.


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 lets you assign a purpose to an object.

AreaAnnotator Tool Settings for Labelling

The Purpose is invaluable when creating a report or table. The Purpose property 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 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.

Label Template

AreaAnnotator labels a room with either of two types of label …

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 AREA 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 creates one or two Report definitions when you install it. You can modify those Reports and add more Reports that match your requirements. You can read more about AreaAnnotator reports and tables. From a Report, you can create a table for placement as a DGN graphic element. To create a table from a Report, use the tools that MicroStation provides.

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. ShapeTagger is not required for AreaAnnotator CONNECT Edition.

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 CONNECT Edition 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 license, multiple licenses or a site license. Discounts are available for multiple license purchases.