I received an email from a person who was upset that each time he pasted his Microsoft Excel spreadsheet into an AutoCAD drawing and after he rotated the drawing and plotted (printed) it out, the spreadsheet in the drawing would plot out upside down. I called the person to get all the details and then provided the solutions to his problems and told him I would post something on the blog. This is just one of the pains of using Windows OLE object pasting. This is not just limited to causing pain for AutoCAD users but many other applications that use OLE objects although they have got better over the years there is still pain and much better methods.
Here are a few AutoCAD knowledge base solutions explaining OLE.
- Rotating OLE objects
- Microsoft® Excel OLE not updated when columns or rows added
- Some OLE objects do not plot
- XCLIP has no effect on OLE objects in external reference
- Importing Excel spreadsheet tables into AutoCAD®-based products
- Cannot open AutoCAD® objects linked or embedded in Microsoft® Word document
Most know or should know that you should only use the OLE when absolutely nothing else is available to accomplish it. For example never paste an image into a drawing, instead use IMAGE>INSERT. For Excel for a few AutoCAD releases you could always copy the Excel spreadsheet data, then in AutoCAD use Paste Special>as AutoCAD Object which results in a native AutoCAD Table object being created in the drawing and not the OLE. The Paste Special as AutoCAD Object even creates the Excel formulas for the cells and preserves most of the formatting. Now in AutoCAD 2008 the data linking is bi-directional so you can update whether the data in the AutoCAD Table and the Excel spreadsheet will update or when the Excel Spreadsheet is updated you will get a notification that the Tables needs to be updated and then it will do it for you.
Imagine having a complicated spreadsheet you use for design such as calculating the thickness of parts or pounds of material required and calculated live in the drawing. You could even place an AutoCAD Field object in the Table cell which would allow you to link the Table cell data value to objects in the drawing and having that linked with a spreadsheet for others to use and all updated. You could total data based on objects in the drawing or perform design calculations. Pretty cool and useful stuff we used to manage manually and take a lot more time and cause more possibility for errors.
I was going to write a tutorial on this but found there are many excellent examples out there by fellow bloggers so I will just provide the links to those.
Give it a try and spread the knowledge to others.
- One excellent tutorial is on the CAD GEEK Blog by Donnie Gladfelter. Quickly Link Excel Tables to AutoCAD
- AutoCAD 2008 Screencast that includes detailed tutorials of tips including the new Tables functionality I mentioned AutoCAD 2008 Tips and Tricks
- Lynn Allen's Blog: Exporting those Cool AutoCAD Tables
- An AutoCAD (and Excel) Hip Tip on AutoFill
- Heidi Hewett's Blog: Tables in AutoCAD 2008
- Heidi Hewett's Blog: Table Datalinking in AutoCAD 2008
- JTB World Blog: How to link information from tables in AutoCAD
- Through the Interface: Embedding fields in an AutoCAD table using .NET