Adventures in AutoCadland
Here’s a brief account of my recent foray into the dark world of AutoCad - how I discovered how to get it on speaking terms with Microsoft Excel, and how I fixed a small problem with Autocad insisting that any objects which were linked to an Excel spreadsheet should have a border around them.
Until recently I’ve spent plenty of time up knee deep in drawings but never really had cause to trouble myself with learning AutoCad. I now consider myself to be a complete novice in the program - which is a step up from where I was before!
Most of my involvement in drawings has been to sketch them out in Acrobat or RFFlow then pass them on to an AutoKid ® who would try and interpret my works of art as best he could.
Needless to say a lot of passing the drawings back and forth is necessary before the drawings are finally ready for submission to our client, and then several more rounds of the same are usually needed once the drawings come back from the client.
In many cases the drawings stay the same and only the tag numbers which we show against each piece of equipment change. As an electrical contractor this happens a lot as the numbers are normally determined by the particular circuit which the item is on, and also on its position along that circuit - change one and it usually affects a lot of other items too.
Yesterday I discovered that you can copy a cell from Excel and paste it as a link in a drawing which was great news. All we need to do now is maintain the list of items in a spreadsheet and the drawing will automatically show the new tag number. Great!
The problem was that AutoCad decided that all of these Excel objects needed a border around them - they didn’t, but getting them to disappear isn’t quite as straightforward as you might imagine.
So, for anyone who uses AutoCad and hasn’t hit upon the idea of linking drawing information back to Excel, here’s how I cured the problem with the borders.
Incidentally, this technique could also be applied to labels too - and I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t produce multi-language versions of a drawing simply by linking the labels back to cells in Excel, which contain a formula to display different language versions of the same word depending on the contents of another cell.
1. Copy a cell from Excel - note that I used 64pt Arial Narrow in my source file, with cell backgrounds set to “No Color”. AutoCad seemed to like it this way!
2. Paste Special “As link” in the drawing (the new field will then display but with a border)
3. Select the new field then right click… “Properties”
4. In the “Color” field choose “Select color…” at the bottom of the drop down.
5. Click on the “True color” tab - you will note that the “Color:” box at the bottom is currently disabled
6. Click anywhere on the grayscale slider - this will activate the field at the bottom
7. Move the slider back up to the top - the box at the bottom should then display “255.255.255”
8. Click ok - the border should now be invisible in the page layout view
9. To change any additional items select them all at once then simply choose the new stored color setting of “255,255,255” from the drop down list
Hope this helps someone. Have fun, and remember, “”Be excellent to each other”!