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Creating Schedule from Your AutoCAD Drawing

September 15, 2009 by Edwin Prakoso 16 Comments and 0 Reactions

In AutoCAD tutorial series Ive posted, we have created our reusable contents, and use it to draw a building plan. Now, we are going to create some schedules from it. We are going to create a door schedule, column schedule, and a wall schedule. Its not just Revit that can do that!

If you have created your own floor plan, you can use it. Or simply download this one for this tutorial. Open your file (or mine). My file will look like this. You should be familiar with these objects :)

Door Schedule
We can create a schedule using data extraction. Its on your ribbon bar> insert> linking & extraction> extract data.

This will open data extraction wizard. Ive posted about this before, to create a report of lines length and coordinate, so I wont be write many details this time. Page 1 Begin This is the first time we use data extraction, so use create a new data extraction. Click next, and when AutoCAD ask you for file name, give it door schedule.dxe. You can use this file again later when you need to create another door schedule. Save it. Page 2 Define Data Source AutoCAD give you a choice: you want to create a data extraction from file(s) or from some objects in your drawing. If you have several floor plans in one drawing, you can select them separately. But now lets just use drawing/sheetset. Click next. Page 3 Select Objects AutoCAD will recognize all type of objects you have in your drawing. Now we need to filter what kind of objects to be included in the schedule. Lets just select the SingleDoor, and left the rest unchecked. Click next. Page 4 Select Properties This time we will need to define which properties we want to be included in our report. We only need the door width. Lets filter it first. On the right column, category filter, uncheck everything except Dynamic Block. Now it should be only 3 properties left. Check only Width.

Wheres this width property come from? We define it by renaming the parameter to width. You can find more details in this dynamic block tutorial.

Page 5 Refine Data In this page you will see your schedule preview. Nothing hard here. You can sort your data by clicking the header name. Or you can arrange the column by dragging the header name. You can also choose several other options here. Try them, you can see the preview right away. Click next after youve done.

Page 6 Choose Output On the next page, we can select where we want to put this schedule. You can put it in your drawing, or save it to external file (excel, database, or text).

Click next. Page 7 Table Style If you use your own drawing, you might not yet set your table style. If you use mine, just use the standard table style. Type the table title Door Schedule. Click next. Page 8 FInish Nothing here :) Its just telling you youre done. Click finish. Now place your table to your drawing. Or if you choose external file, then youre done.

Column and Wall Schedule

So what about column and wall schedule? Sure, you can create them too. You should try it by yourself. Pay attention to door and column schedule. Remember we only have one door block and one column block. But in this schedule, we can see 3 door type and 3 column type! Yup, their size are different. Data extraction can recognize it. Its great isnt it?

Unfortunately for wall schedule, we cant sum them all and only list wall with the same name. It will only group wall with the same length and name. If you want to do more than that, you should choose the output to external file. Edit it in excel, then import it back. But at least you dont have to count them manually ;) You can also use data extraction to report any kind of data your drawing have. Points coordinate, line length, everything! I wrote how to report line length, coordinate, layer, and color here. Some one ask me that question to create laser cutting estimation.

linking Excel external data to AutoCAD data extraction

October 19, 2011 by Edwin Prakoso 3 Comments and 0 Reactions

We can add information to block using attributes. It can be very handy to create a report/schedule items in your drawings. We can use data extraction to do it automatically. If youre not familiar with it yet, check this tutorial how to create a schedule from AutoCAD drawings.

However, sometimes defining attribute value for each block can backfire to us. If we want to add many information to an object, we need to input data several times. For each block. If we have dozens or hundreds of blocks, using attributes and data extraction like this may not increasing our productivity, but reducing it. If you have this condition:
1. The information are common for object with the same ID/part number. 2. We need to update attribute value regularly. It doesnt make sense if we need to edit attribute value for each block, does it?

If thats your situation, you can link AutoCAD data extraction to Microsoft Excel as external data. We only need to have one attribute as identifier in our block, then link it to a column in Excel. It means we can have objects data separately, and link our drawings to that file. When we need to update the data, we only need to update it on Excel file. Then simply update the data extraction tables on our drawings. Lets see how we can use it. Note: You need to have Microsoft Excel installed on your computer to use this feature

Preparing Excel file

Lets prepare an Excel file. You need to have one column to match to an attribute in your block. In this example, I have door types, their prices, and several more data. I will use door types in my block as attribute. This value shouldnt change regularly (unless I change its type). But door price can change often, right? You may give style to your Excel file, like borders if you need to. It wont affect linking data to AutoCAD.

Preparing AutoCAD block

Now lets check our block. You need to have at least one block attribute to match the column in Excel. Here, I only have one attribute. I put other data in my Excel file. But you may have more attributes as necessary.

After you save your block, you can place it to your drawings.

Using data extraction

After youve done with the preparation and finish with your drawing, we can start using data extraction. Use it as usual (refer to this post as mentioned previously, if youve never done it before). When you get to 5th page (refine data) stop and follow steps below.

Linking data extraction to Excel file

In 5th page, you can see preview of your data extraction. Find link external data button on the right bottom of this dialog. Click it.

If you already link your drawing to an Excel file, you can choose the data link here. Since we havent create it, we need to create it first. Click launch data link manager in this dialog.

Create a data link to your Excel file. Give it a unique name and browse to file we prepared before. It should be straightforward. After you finish, we are back to link external data dialog. Now your data link should be defined as source (1). Match your attribute to your Excel column (2). You can try to check if your data are matched correctly. You can choose which column in Excel you want to include or exclude in this report (3).

Click OK. You should see additional column in your preview. You can see column header for external data showing linked symbol.

Arrange the column as necessary and place table on your drawing (or external file). Very nice, isnt it?

If you have a problem setting external file as described above, you can see this nice video by Donnie Gladfelter: http://youtu.be/QLGoxHMg8Zw.

Updating value in table

What if value in your Excel file changed? Unfortunately data link is not updated automatically. We have to update it manually. After your data changed, you need to select your table, right click, then choose update table data links from contextual menu.

You can use DATALINKUPDATE from command line Another trick to automatically update data link every time you open AutoCAD drawing is to put DATALINKUPDATE in your acaddoc.lsp. I will cover about it later. Do you think external data will be useful? How you do you think you can use it?