Applying Link Sets to Elements

Published on July 8, 2010

In MicroStation V8i the ability to link elements to files, folders, keyins, and websites is handled through the Project Explorer dialog. By linking supporting data such as existing photos and details to your design you are maximizing your design. In the following example we have a culvert replacement, there are photos and details that will be linked to the elements in the design file.

Create a New Link Set

  1. From the MicroStation pull down menu File > Project Explorer. The Project Explorer dialog will appear.
  2. Click the Browse button (magnifying glass). The Link Sets dialog will appear.
  3. From the drop down list select Active File.
  4. Click the New button in the Link Set dialog.
  5. Type the new Link Set Name. Click the OK button to create the link set. Close the Link Sets dialog.

Define Project Explorer

  1. If desired create new Folders in the Project Explorer dialog to organize the Details, Drawings, and Photos.
  2. Drag and Drop desired files from Windows Explorer to the MicroStation Project Explorer.

Add Link to Element

  1. From the Project Explorer dialog Right Click the file and select Add Link to Element. Then Select and Accept the existing culvert from the topo file.
  2. Now the JPEG has been linked to the element. Right Click on the culvert element in the design file and select Follow Link > culvert.jpg. The JPEG will open in MicroStation as read only for viewing.

  3. Additionally the PDF details could be linked to the proposed culvert.


See all of our MicroStation tips on this YouTube playlist.


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13 Responses to “Applying Link Sets to Elements”

  1. Dmitry Says:

    January 18th, 2012 at 12:52 am

    How can I remove the link to the item?

  2. Bob Mecham Says:

    February 6th, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Dmitry, select the element using the Element Selection tool. Then select the Element Info icon in the Primary Toolbar. In the Element Info dialog there will be a Link Set category. Right Click on the Link Set and select Delete Link. In the above video watch about the 3:30 mark.

    Bob Mecham

  3. Martin Says:

    February 10th, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    when linking a PDF, adobe acrobar opens but not the file itself…. am i doing something wrong?

  4. Bob Mecham Says:

    February 15th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Martin, It should be opening the file and not just the application. Use the element selection tool then go to the Element info dialog to see what the directory path is. If that looks okay then perhaps you need to use UNC to find the file.

  5. cad blocks Says:

    March 4th, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for this tutorial… is that applicable in all Autocad software versions?

  6. JB Says:

    April 11th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    When I right click on the element and select follow link I get the message Follow Link failed.

  7. Bob Mecham Says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    JB, perhaps the file has moved location or you do not have the correct software to open the particular file type.

    Go to the Element Information dialog and expand links. There you will be able to check the path of the link and make sure it is correct or browse to the new location.

    Bob Mecham

  8. Martin Says:

    May 6th, 2012 at 11:14 pm


    The directory path looks good. What do you mean with “UNC”?


  9. Lorys Lea Says:

    July 18th, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Links to pdfs no longer work if acrobat reader or writer version 10 or X is installed
    Bentley are not going to fix this and neither is adobe .. real shame .. only option is to roll back acrobat to pre (10 or X) version…

  10. Martin Says:

    November 7th, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    if you roll back to Ver. 9 then your photo links won’t work…. 🙁

  11. Martin Says:

    November 8th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I take the back, photo do work.

  12. Marina Says:

    October 3rd, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Hello there,
    just yesterday I discovered your podcasts and I am amazed, have already learned lots of new stuff.
    I use Microstation V8i at work, I tried to link photos to elements and it works but the photo actually opens as a Windows Photo Viewer instead of Microstation, what am i doing work?

    The other problem i have is that all the attachments are store in our server and when I (the link creater) try to open the link it works but if a colleague tries it doesn’t open. Is there a solution for it?

    Thanks a lot,

  13. Rod Wing Says:

    October 3rd, 2013 at 9:20 am


    This blog was written over three years ago and has not been updated. In later versions of MicroStation links to raster images will open in the Windows application for that file type. In your case this is Windows Photo Viewer, does the same for me as well.

    As for your other problem the relative paths to linked files are defined by the MS_RFDIR configuration variable. This is the same variable that tells MicroStation where to find your Reference Attachments. Verify that your colleague’s MS_RFDIR configuration variable contains the paths to the linked files.

    Rod Wing
    Senior Systems Analyst

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