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James Milkey

Pasting Excel Worksheets

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I'm running 10.1.2 on an XP home machine. I just noticed that when I paste an excel file into VW from a Mac it imports as lines and text but when I follow the same sequence on the PC it imports as a bitmap. I'm sure I'm missing something obvious. Any thoughts?

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This is interesting. It would be great to paste as text and lines, bitmats do not have good enough quality when pasting in windows. When I copy and paste a simple spreadsheet from Excel with just some text the quality is fine. As soon as I add borders to the spreadsheet and paste it, it becomes very pixelated.

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I found that MAC imports the spread sheet as lines and fill and text ... separate objects which can be manipulated in VW... IN PC it DOES ONLY come in as a bit map. It prints OK..

WHat VW needs to do is stop trying to IMPROVE their mickeymouse worksheet and give us a real DYNAMIC "external link" or reference to Excel spread sheets. ACAD has this feature. This would be a terrific feature.

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Personally, I wish that some would give up the hope of A'cad wannabes. Love it or leave it, V'works is an evolving environment with good support and an organization that really tries to listen to user input. It is not necessarily true that the squeakiest wheel always gets the grease. No, we don't have lisp, and no, we don't have excel spreadsheet, but think back awhile, for a very long time you windows/dos people lamented with lotus 1 2 3 and defended it to the death! I for one am willing to evolve with the plan and the technology driving it, in the long run, A'cad will be more like us than we will be like THEM

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In the meantime without dynamic links, we waste a lot of time trying to get the information on the sheets in the form of bitmaps.(unfortunately like it or not, the reality is that PCs dominate the AEC market). God forbid one has to edit the information (back to excel, edit, repaste as a bitmap). FYI I have found that if you print at a "Best" setting on your printer/plotter, resolution is not that bad ( the contractor can read it). This is how I do my specifications. Its cumbersome at best: Lack of edit capability, slower printing speeds, and severe increases in file size. To boot, if the worksheet was worth anything, one would not be in this pickle. But alas, there is no word wrap, so we're stuck with an inefficent solution.

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PC's don't dominate the "AEC world"-AutoCAD is the most prevalent CAD software, even though they don't give a about the ".dxf" they started but won't support!

AND furthermore, I have yet to read an AEC set of specifications that doesn't rule out "scaling" of drawings and/or written specifications as opposed to drawings, which are apart of all contract documents at least in the southeast of the USA for last thirty-five years.

FINALLY, if you understand the power of "EXCEL" as a spreadsheet, you wouldn't be using as a fancy word-wrapped format maker

Sounds like you think V'works can solve your approach problem by turning on a flashlight

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Hey Richard:

I wouldn't have to use excel if vectorworks had more sophisticated text editing capabilites, which incidently I understand from a NNA source, was "dumbed down" in the last release because the Mac could not handle the advanced editing design the engineers had come up with. Since they have to produce a product that is 100% cross platform compatible,text editing was modified.

Personally I also despise Autocad (its why I'm using this software).

As for specifications, my experience has lead me to include the specifications in the document set because builders leave the specs in their office and never read them. Time and again inclusion of the specs on the set has saved me. Anything I can do to make the information more accessible to the builder, means fewer mistakes and less conflict. I know of several large local firms that have adapted this strategy as well.

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I can't imagine why you would be copying excel sreadsheets into vectorworks- it seem so archaic to me, and a huge waste of time. Plus its adds another layer of error to your documents. The worksheets in VW can handle basic data and text info for any project. It seems to me that many users are making a big deal over a minor issue- the power of excel versus the lack of power in VW. The only beef I have with worksheets is that you cannot export them in DWG format. But for us, this issue rarely comes up. PDF files works great for us, and no one can manipulate them. Again, if you like acad so much than go back to using it. Whether you mean it or not, you comments have an acad bias, and vw is not acad- its better. If you have to make a correction to your spreadsheet and recopy and repaste- the problem is not with vw- its with your drawing standards.

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-'You're right, being forced to use another program like Excel is archaic and a waste of time.'-

That's not what I was saying. What I was trying to say is that the forcing is coming from the user, not the program. The worksheets feature may be flawed, but for producing door schedules (on construction documents), let's say, as a database it is excellent. If I hear you right, you are trying to creat long form (?) specifications on a spreadsheet- something I would not do. In fact we do not use written specification if we can avoid it. We do use the worksheets for text items such as code reviews or contact information, an it works fine. we don't worry about making cells biggger or word wrap.

VW is not acad, nor is it microstation, etc. It is an affordable software with good 3D capabilities and great graphic abilities. I understand alot of post-ers have gripes about the worksheet feature- I just don't see it, that's all.

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what about pasting as a picture? we use this from appleworks sometimes.

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The worksheets in v-works are very robust. They just don't have word wrap with dynamically resizing cells.

What they do have is the ability to look at a drawing and report the total number of a given symbol,for e.g., or report the total area of objects in a given class, and then perform math on this result and dynamically update as the drawing changes. This is very powerful.

I'm not sure they where ever intended for text lay-out. They are for number crunching.

I build millwork and most plans come with a separate spec "book" and finish schedule which may very well have been layed out in Excel. Believe me, I read it carefully cause it's my a#$ on the line if I don't build to spec. I find it hard to believe that you work with builders who don't bother with it. How do they stay in business?

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Jim:

Let me make myself abundantly clear: I don't know about anyone else, but I hate autocad.

You're right, being forced to use another program like Excel is archaic and a waste of time. There would be no need for a secondary spreadsheet program if the worksheet function in Vectorworks were more robust. However on the PC, there is no other way to get formated specification information on to the sheets. I've tried everything I can think of and so far, pasting from Excel seems to take the least amount of effort.

If the NNA engineers could develop either a text tool (perhaps keep the existing text tool, and add a second for more difficult or larger volume notes) or a worksheet that could handle large amounts of text (i.e., include a word wrap feature)then the issue would go away. In the meantime, since this issue seems to reappear with some regularity, one would think it evident that there are users out there who could benifit from an improvement.

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What if you post the MS Excel cell values to a VW worksheet this works as long as the number of rows and columns are equal.

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Different users have evolved different styles of working in a VW environment based upon their familiarity with the software, their imagination and skill at getting it to do what they want and the nature of their work.

3D is little use to a production drawing operation, but it is a feature which is useful for presentation purposes. Flexibility is one of the strong points of VW.

I personally have found Excel a very useful program in my work. I do not use the VW feature to calculate or perform "take offs" from the drawings. Our work does not call for this.

We do often use several scehdules for each project.. which share "features". Our project setup typically involves "copy and paste" or linking of an Excel spread sheet containing several "worksheets" for such things as.. zoning analysis, drawing list, door, window, hardware, finish schedules, or even some typical notes. The spread sheets are edited. They can be issued as letter or ledger format and emailed as attachements to most clients and contractors etc. The ACAD users in our office use an xref type link when they want to include one of the worksheets or part of one on one of their drawings. I don't believe they have worksheets within their program which is as easy to use as the Excel or even VW worksheets. Their links are dynamic and updates the CAD file. Others who have no interest or skill in CAD can open, edit, print or convey the Excel spreadsheet.. such as a secretary who may get a request for a window scehedule.

VW users typically copy and paste the worksheet or a selection of cells into the VW file. The paste is not editable, not dynamic but it allows the user to use the power of Excel and get the info onto a drawing sheet and also keep a file which other staff can access as discribed above.

What is described above is perhaps a unique way our office works with the tools we have. It is by no means the best way.

However, if there was a real dynamic link to an external spread sheet in VW this would be an "improvement".

I can envision doing the same for lists of notes and word documents. Despite the excellent text handling of VW, it does not compare with MS Word for example. Also spec writers who are not CAD literate CAN contribute their work to the CAD file so that specs can be EASILY issued as separate book for specs as well as included in a drawing set.

I like the idea of "linking" the power of individual software tools to make the output MORE robust by creating ONE file which "talks" to other "files".

[ 06-14-2003, 09:01 AM: Message edited by: defjef ]

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WOW, now all you guys in R&D, we would like to have both the capabilities of WORD & EXCEL, in our CAD program & don't even think about raising the price. All of us will continue to struggle out here until this is done. Do you think you could have this up and running by September? CLOSE THE SUBJECT!!!

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Richard,

This forum is the place where users and VW "engineers" can dialog. Who knows how new features are selected for inclusion in upgrades. If I were participating in the decision, knowing how users are working, what features THEY want would be in the calculus of future upgrades. Ultimately if the product is not serving the users they will find other solutions.

Not being a programmer I have no idea of the complexities or costs involve in including a dynamic link to another program such as Excel or Word. I do know that it WOULD be a useful feature for this user and I have no problem letting VW and other readers of this board how I feel.

The decision to upgrade is a complex one. Are the new features useful, will we be more productive, more precise... Is it easy to learn and get up to speed. If an upgrade offers and array of tools and features which do not impact on the way I work in a positive way, there is no point in upgrading. I still use aol 5.0 because it serves my needs... email. I am still on vw 8.52 for the same reason.

To me linked spreadsheets would defintely have me writing the check for an upgrade. It would pay for itself in no time. A spril tool for example, may be nifty, but it owuld be something I rarely use and alone would not be a reason to upgrade.

Since I know of no formal survey of users for features, this forum is the best place I know of to communicate our desires for an improved product.

Get it?

[ 06-14-2003, 01:43 PM: Message edited by: defjef ]

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Well...there's no question that a live link (Open Data Base Connectivity) would be a great improvement. If we had it I would probably be using it.

The question is how much is it going to cost to implement it. I'm guessing it's a pretty tall order otherwise we would have it now.

It's easy for users to say "we need word wrap in our work sheets!" without having any idea of the hours needed for rewrites and testing to make it work. And that's just the beginning of what would be needed for ODBC. Maybe someday this will be available as an add-on, but it will still require rewriting the existing worksheet code. (yipes!that puts fear in my heart!)

As I've said before, it's not realistic to compare the features of one app to another that costs 3 times as much.

Somehow I feel obligated to defend our lowly worksheets when I see them referred to as "not worth anything" or not "robust". They are an indispensable part of my work flow and for my business they are hugely powerful. Much more so than any stand-alone spread sheet program including Excel. Which,BTW,is what was used before VW.

That said, I can see that other users have other needs. It seems there's a lot of room for improvement in text formatting.

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CC,

I dont believe you can make an argument about the costs of developing and marketing software... and comparing two or more competing products. First a lot of the "cost" of software has nothing to do with the cost of writing code and testing it. It includes marketing and overheads and so on. Secondly, why do you assume that a program like ACAD was more expensive to develop than VW which is much cheaper?

And fianlly text formatting is not the only issue for wanting links to spread sheets and word... but it is a powerful one.

It appears to me that the direction of development is toward 3D... making that a more powerful and easy to use feature. Since a drawing usually represents something which is meant to be a 3D experience it is only natural that this virtual reality so to speak be placed within our grasp... on our 2D screens and 2D output.

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If AutoDesk can sell it's product for 3 times the price and can sell, I don't know, say 3 times the number of seats, it is going to have a lot more resources for the development of new features.

In one of your posts you said "Not being a programmer I have no idea of the complexities or costs involve in including a dynamic link to another program such as Excel or Word". I don't really either, but I would suggest that if it was simple we would already have it. We're talking here about a program with over a million lines of code. It may require some fundamental restructuring. I've written a few thousand lines of vectorscript and even that takes time.

I am aware of the benefits of ODBC beyond text formatting. That's why I said I would probably be using it if it was available, even though text formatting is of no concern to me.

Sorry if I came off as argumentative. I'm not trying to argue against anything. I'm all for improvement, for myself and for other users. Like I said, no question that ODBC would be a great improvement.

You may want to post this in the wish list, where you will find a number of suggestions for improvement from users, both on this topic and others. I think you will see while you are there that the engineers have a lot of work ahead of them!

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YES-BUT, dream-on, whether it was DielGraphsoft or NEMETSCHEK, our CAD software alternative, I say this as a truebeliever coming from the mac world, the capabilities of cut & paste, exists in both worlds but not if you "didn't get here by chasing the AutoCAD rabbit down the road blindly" You don't know the difference between copyclip & pasteclip.

You're really talking about model space linking -x-ref->spreadsheet(EXCEL) and/or wordprocessing(WORD) to avoid separate written specifications on the CAD drawings, that can simply be updated by (cut & paste from revised drawings dated with change order request # **** dated ***** GET REAL

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Guest

I don't want to rattle any cages here .. but you can send wish list suggestions to bugsubmit@nemetschek.net.

They can imput the data into a database here for the engineers to review when it comes time to look at new features.

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By the way, Archicad, which I believe is the only other cross-platform competitor to Vectorworks, has ODBC capability.

Yes it is more expensive, but on the other hand I could imagine that one would easily recoup the difference in cost in labor savings.

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"If the NNA engineers could develop either a text tool (perhaps keep the existing text tool, and add a second for more difficult or larger volume notes) or a worksheet that could handle large amounts of text (i.e., include a word wrap feature)then the issue would go away."

This is a wonderful suggestion and an idea that could be built upon...It's just that when you start talking M'soft, it drives mac folks nuts. We acknowledge and probably use EXCEL & perhaps, probably WORD. But I for one, will struggle to the death, to avoid both, in my engineering drawings & spreadsheet table automated counts on objects/symbols

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Whatever is done it needs to be exportable to autocad. Worksheets do not export easily, text is so-so.

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