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Assign "Fixed" data to a symbol

Andrew Davies




I would like to be able to assign data to a symbol (such as manufacturer, quantity available) that is permanent for that specific symbol.


Aware you can do this with record formats now - but the data can be changed per symbol - I would like the data to be fixed by symbol - so if you change the data for one symbol - it changes for all instances of the same symbol.


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Probably has to be a wish list item, but there might be some possible work arounds.


1. There is currently no way (that I know of) to have a record or field permanently linked to the symbol definition. As soon as you insert a symbol instance, it gets its own copy of the record and if forever after independent.


2.  Potentially the easiest solution would be a script that when run would read all the data from the record attached to the symbol definition and write that to every symbol instance. Down side is that you have to remember to run the script.


3.  If you don't need to be able to see the data in the OIP, another possibility would be to create a hidden record format and attach that. You could then edit the data with a worksheet or a script. Also, you would still need the script from Option 2 as changes would not propagate to each instance.


4.  It might be possible to create a PIO that could act as a "container" around a symbol and have effectively the script Option 2 included in the PIO code so that when the PIO regenerates it "grabs" the current data from the symbol definition. But you still have to remember to regenerate the PIO.


5.  It might be possible to create a "master" layer that would hold a single instance of each Symbol/Record/Field. Potentially a link to the correct "master" could be stored in a record attached to the instance. With the correct (probably a worksheet script) functions, it might be possible to extract the data from the "master" rather than the instance.


I understand and can see the benefit of what you are asking. Can you better explain your exact use case/need right now so we can possible offer a better solution?


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Thanks Pat - I appreciate this.


Another work around (which I think I will use)  - My worksheet  is summarised by symbol name and has a column for each data value - then a count of number of instances of that symbol.  As the worksheet is summarised by symbol name - entering the data there updates all the record formats for the symbols in the document.  Perfect!


To better answer your question regarding exact use - best to give an example :


300 pieces of furniture coming from 6 different suppliers for an event.  Approx 20 different types (Chairs, tables, sofas etc).

I want to have a symbol for each of the 20 types - with the data attached for "Supplier", "URL for reference" & "Quantity ordered".  My worksheet then (summarised by furniture type) counts the number placed on the drawing, shows how many a left available to be placed - and who supplies them.


Essentially - the "Supplier" and "Quantity Ordered" fields should behave the same way as the geometry of the symbol - ie - the value is sourced from one location and changes everywhere if it is changed.


The current record formats are still fantastically useful - I use them lots for table numbers, seat numbers etc. where the value is different for each instance of the same symbol.


Hope that helps better explain it!  Screenshot attached which may help too.  Next stage is to add a "Count-quantity placed"  column so you can see at a glance how many of each type you have left.  Can't get that to work at the moment (Formula is C2(Qty ordered)-B2(Count) but gives an odd result - haven't got to the bottom of it yet)

Best wishes & thanks,





Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 14.05.17.png

Edited by Andrew Davies
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Ok that's clever. However  "Quantity Ordered" will be different for every project so why make it part of the symbol definition? In a way the record fields should be about that particular instance of the symbol.


I'm not a worksheet expert by any means however to solve your glitch with "Quantity" ordered: perhaps if that was a text field rather than an integer field it would summarise to be the same text (E.G.. would always be "7" for the Whisper Love Seat no matter how many instances of that symbol in the file). Could the "Remaining" formula not then reference that "text" field, convert it to an integer and subtract the "count" field?


I'm sure other experts would know how to write that formula!

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HI - I am aware this may be in the wrong forum now - or it has gone off topic.  Apologies if so.


@Boh  Tried the integer thing - to no avail I am afraid.  I would keep the Quantity Ordered by symbol for me though.  It would be set per project and as a file is in effect a project, that would work for me.


@Pat Stanford I am hoping you can help me with the other thing that is baffling me! Tying to subtract a "=count" column from a  a data value ("='Furniture Info'.'Quantity Available'") column in a database. I just can't get it to work!  It seems that the "=count" formula returns a 1 in the column it is being referenced from, unless the "Sum values" checkbox is checked.  See screenshots where I have set up another column next to the count column to demonstrate this.


That's what is causing my problem.  Is that correct behaviour?  Is there a formula I should be applying to my column B??


Thanks in advance.



Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 22.55.43.png

Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 22.55.33.png

Edited by Andrew Davies
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I think the Sum Values is just how it works.  If you check Sum Values for a column it will use the SUMmed values when doing calculations if you don't check Sum Value it will use just the single value for that cell.


Since you have to use Sum Values for everything and you are trying to use a single value minus a summed value, I think you will have to get creative. If you post a simple file with some objects I will try it here, but I think the following will work. But it will only work if the available quantity is the same for every instance of the symbol.


=Record.Available/Count-Count with Sum Values checked I THINK will get you what you want.


Or not. I thought I got it to work once, but not can't replicate.  The issue appears to be that you want to use something that is SumValues and something that is not SumValues in the same cell.  Should be possible, but I have not cracked it yet.

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