manipulations within AutoCAD software (which are a cinch to do in Excel), you know how hard it is. Now you don't have to wait for such tools. Byimporting spreadsheet data (or even my linking and/or embedding it), you can bring full text control to your AutoCAD drawings (see Figure 2).Changing the assigned width of columns of textual or numerical data can be as simple as a drop-and-drag operation.
Figure 2: When you bring Excel grids into your drawings, you have complete control overtext formatting, column width, cell border thickness, and even background patterning.
Reason #8: Formulas?
What else can a spreadsheet do with data in a cell? Well for one thing, it can contain a formula to generate cell content based on other cells. Thatmeans that you can actually apply formulas for TEXT entities in your drawings! Aside from obvious uses of this capability (such as generating totalsafter a part count), you could even use Excel to figure out (through conditional states) what text, notes, or details need to be imported into a drawingbased on parts found in a drawing. Yes, folks... this starts getting wild.
Reason #9: Automated
And while we're on the subject of things being imported based on queries and tallies and other amazing spreadsheet operations, we can also generatelinework itself from spreadsheets. You can convert databases to an Excel format, and easily view and edit them. And once you have that data in aspreadsheet format, it is possible to start generating linework from it! Imagine that you have a basic COGO point set of X, Y, and Z values brokendown into three columns. Contour lines or TINs could be generated from this information.
Reason #10: Costing
Out a Drawing
Excel spreadsheets make great reference tables. Imagine that you have a list of prices for items you insert into your drawings, and imagine that youwant a part count and a financial assessment of a drawing. To do this, you can begin with surveys of the entity database, pulling the necessarycomputational information into preset columns in a spreadsheet, and then price out the cost of the entire project based on an entirely differentspreadsheet of price-per-item values. Inventories on steroids, and generated no less by a CAD user!I could give you in a heartbeat another 10 reasons to think seriously about this stuff, from enhanced job opportunities and more competitive salaries tothe complete historical tracking of any drawing. In the coming articles, we'll examine sample code and develop microapplications that accomplish thetypes of operations described above. And it's not miracle working. It is, however, exciting and profitable stuff... for anyone willing to learn the game.