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Linking Record formats to referenced Excel worksheets


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I am starting to explore the new excel referencing in Vectorworks 2024. Am I correct in thinking that only 'dumb' / self contained worksheets can be referenced, ie if we have a worksheet with database rows and or fields that are reading information from record formats there is no way to link them to an excel file? This seems to limit the benefits of this new feature significantly if the worksheet can't take advantage of the data contained within the vectorworks file? Or am I missing how to do this?

How I had hoped this feature would work when I saw it announced would have been; that when have for instance our door schedule generated with information from our door symbols, that we would have been able to link that schedule to an excel file where we could format it more easily and use the filtering funtion in excel to interact with our schedule, and any changes in the vectorworks files would be reflected in the excel file. In an ideal world we would also be able to update any fields not linked to the geometry or location of the object.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@Tim Harland In short, there are two ways you can use referenced Excel data in Vectorworks - just bringing a worksheet in and viewing it as such, for example a consultant list, or a product data sheet. The other, more complex way, is to use referenced Excel data in another database worksheet - for example, creating a furniture schedule that counts the Symbols in your model and hooking that up to a product price list from a manufacturer.

In both cases, integration goes both ways - if you make a change in Excel and update the reference, the data in Vectorworks worksheet will be updated. If you make a change in Vectorworks, you can push it back to Excel and update the worksheet. 

What you seem to be describing is the complex workflow in reverse. It is certainly possible, but I think it's overly complicating - taking advantage of reading the model as a database, then pushing that data back to Excel to be a plain spreadsheet just for the sake of formatting in Excel, which can be done in Vectorworks too, seems overly complicating the workflow to me. As I said, you should be able to do it, but I would recommend a simpler way of formatting a door schedule in Vectorworks.

Good luck with setting it up! 

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Thanks @Tom W. that coffee break was quite helpful - I must have missed it.

HI @Luka Stefanovic OK that is good to know it can be done. It wouldn't just be for formating, we would also use it for data entry, especially as it is much quicker and less destructive to filter lists in excel. There are also still advantages to formatting in excel (printing over multiple pages for instance, adding headers & footers, printing headers on multiple pages) unless there are additional printing option for worksheets that I have missed in the last few versions? It is also necessary for excahnging information with clients and consultants.

As far as I understand it from your Coffee Break, we would have to have a referenced version of the Excel Schedule that is linked to a Database worksheet (eg. via the Door number or a Door Type). But all the information about the item being scheduled would have to be just in the excel file - we wouldn't be able to have the information about the item as a record field in the symbol?  In the coffee break example would it have been possible to change any of the information about the sanitaryware products within vectorworks? I guess it would be possible in the refenced Excel file, but not in the Database worksheet? So again in that example you wouldn't be able to select all sanitary objects from a particular manufacturer, or with a particular finish?

In your example would it have been possible to list all the objects indivually and add other information from a record format eg Layer or class or a record format attached to the symbol? That could potentially work for us.

What would be most useful for us would be to be able to for instance change the fire rating of a door in vectorworks and then update the excel version of our door schedule to reflect this without having to do an export. Of course it would be amazing if we could also make changes in the excel that would be reflected in the vectorworks file but I can see how that is technically very challenging and would essentially need a permanet connection to the vectorwokrs file to know the state of all the objects that were being scheduled.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi @Tim Harland it sounds complex what you're trying to achieve. Can you send an example of what you're trying to do, in Excel and in Vectorworks, and I can try to put it together as a sample. 

I think what you describe should work but it's easier to understand by looking at actual examples rather than just a description 🙂

Thanks, Luka

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/23/2023 at 9:34 AM, Luka Stefanovic said:

use referenced Excel data in another database worksheet

Hello - I'm wanting to use this in a similar way to Tim, I think - for plant schedules. I want to rearrange and group plants in excel because it's easier, maybe add in header rows etc. But will need to keep updating numbers if landscape area sizes change / species get swapped in etc. The webinar was useful, but I didn't understand how you had "referenced the referenced excel in the worksheet", which sounds like what I need to do...

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On 12/6/2023 at 7:14 PM, Luka Stefanovic said:

Hi @Tim Harland it sounds complex what you're trying to achieve. Can you send an example of what you're trying to do, in Excel and in Vectorworks, and I can try to put it together as a sample. 

I think what you describe should work but it's easier to understand by looking at actual examples rather than just a description 🙂

Thanks, Luka

Hi Luca, yes I'll pull something together - I suspect what we are after is going more on the direction of the SQLITE Databases post that was in a recent newsletter, albeit even in those videos it didn't seem to be possible to link back out to the database from record fields.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@Tim Harland I still think it would be possible to do it through Excel Referencing, but I'll need those examples to understand what exactly needs to be done. Let me know when you put it together and I will try to do it.

 

@Amanda McDermott Can you also send me an example of what you're trying to do along with a Vectorworks and Excel file and I can see if I can put that one together for you. It sounds like it should be possible to do. 

 

Thanks! And happy holidays! 

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4 hours ago, Luka Stefanovic said:

@Tim Harland I still think it would be possible to do it through Excel Referencing, but I'll need those examples to understand what exactly needs to be done. Let me know when you put it together and I will try to do it.

 

@Amanda McDermott Can you also send me an example of what you're trying to do along with a Vectorworks and Excel file and I can see if I can put that one together for you. It sounds like it should be possible to do. 

 

Thanks! And happy holidays! 

Thank you very much for the offer - I'm about to leave my desk until the new year, but will send something through then. All the best for the festive season!

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