This Week's Software Tips
Paste or Link Excel Files in AutoCAD
Ralph Harrison shared this simple method for inserting Excel files directly into an AutoCAD 2008 drawing. "Highlight the portion of the Excel file you want copied and select the Copy command. Next, in the AutoCAD drawing, go to the Edit dropdown menu and click Paste Special. (Note: Paste Special is not available on the right-click menu.) The Paste Special dialog box gives you two choices: Paste and Paste Link. Paste will act like an Excel file in your drawing. You will be able to edit the data just like you would the original Excel file, but it must always be updated in the AutoCAD drawing. Paste Link will create a link to the original Excel file. When the Excel file is altered and saved, the link in your AutoCAD drawing will prompt you to update. This option works very much like an xref."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: This method is a major improvement from earlier versions of AutoCAD! It's much easier to update an Excel spreadsheet and have the changes reflected automatically. You could also use a table. Some companies have tight revision controls on their drawings, so changing drawing data outside AutoCAD needs to be adequately policed to ensure drawings are updated within the revision.
Draw 3D Pipes
Jimmy D'Hondt sent in 3DPIPE.DCL and 3DPIPE.LSP for drawing 3D pipes. He says, "Draw some lines in 3D model space that define the centers of the pipes (no fillets, no polylines). Start the routine, select the pipe size you want (the list can be modified inside the AutoLISP file), select the radius you want and the fuzzy factor. The fuzzy factor lets you select lines that aren't touching exactly. The routine should then draw the pipe. The last screen allows you to remove the original center line that was drawn.
"When you select User on the main screen, it is possible to enter your own user values for the pipe. Remember to fill in the radius and fuzzy factor on the main screen. Caveat: This routine involves a bit of error checking, but it has helped me a lot for drawing 3D pipes in vanilla AutoCAD (R14-2005)."
NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: This routine works as Jimmy describes. To further improve it, you could make some additions to the dialog box to be more user-friendly and better reflect what you select.
Note: These follow-up tips have not been tested by the Cadalyst Tip Patrol.
Follow-Up: Customize Copy with Basepoint
Felipe Aspillaga wrote, "I saw the tip to copy items using 0,0,0 as a basepoint (July 21 edition). I find the following code to be a useful companion to that one. It pastes items on the Clipboard to original coordinates. I like, in particular, how close the o and 0 are to the p on the keyboard."
(prompt "\nType PO to run this Lisp")
(Defun c:PO ()
;;Pastes Items on Clipboard to 0,0,0;;
(prompt "\nType P0 to run this Lisp")
(Defun c:P0 ()
(command "_pasteclip" "0,0,0")
MicroStation Tip: Quick Access to Past Values in AccuDraw
You can use the Page Up and Page Down keys to cycle backward and forward through past key-in values. This ability is helpful if you have to make lots of entries of similar distances, but not the same one over and over, which AccuDraw already does well. For example, you may be drawing a line string. The first segment is 6':6", the next is 8':4.5", and you want to reuse the 6':6" value again. Lock to the appropriate axis and hit Page Up twice and then select the data point. The new segment will be 6':6".
This tip courtesy of Axiom, which offers many MicroStation Tips on its MicroStationTips.com Web site.
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Tips & Tools Weekly software tips for AutoCAD are reviewed by Cadalyst staff and the Tip Patrol before publication. Use all tips at your own discretion, please, and watch later editions of this newsletter for updates and corrections. We're sorry, but editors and Tip Patrol members cannot provide assistance with technical problems; please refer to Cadalyst's Hot Tip Harry-Help discussion forum.Sincere thanks to our volunteer Tip Patrol members: Brian Benton, Don Boyer,
Mitchell Hirschklau, R.K. McSwain, Kevin Sawyer, and Billy Wooten.
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