In the latter half of 2012, a meeting was quietly convened in a small coastal town in the southeastern United States. No news outlets heralded the meeting. No heads of state were present. The only invitees were our senior technical staff. The subject of this meeting: AutoCAD and Civil 3D.
Developing software to help CAD users save time, eliminate headaches and get home on time is a driving purpose for all of Axiom’s staff.
Axiom’s COO, a canny character with a glint of mischievous intelligence in his eyes, and his crack team of developers knew AutoCAD users needed help. In addition, there was a growing number of MicroStation users demanding that we make our tools available for AutoCAD and Civil 3D users. The time had come to light the AutoCAD/Civil 3D fire and begin to create AutoCAD and Civil 3D versions of Axiom’s most popular MicroStation tools. But it wasn’t possible to create all the tools at once, so what should the first one be? There was so much demand for so many different tools that it seemed like a hard choice, at first.
Where to Start?
The answer came that it should be the tool that provides the greatest help (measured by time-savings and reduced frustration) for the greatest number of users. Once it was so plainly stated, everyone present knew what that meant — Microsoft Office Importer™ for AutoCAD and Civil 3D must come first. Other popular Axiom tools came close, but there was no doubt that Microsoft Office Importer would help the greatest number of users in the least time.
MicroStation users — accustomed to using Microsoft Office Importer to easily paste large excel spreadsheets into MicroStation with perfect formatting and a link back to the source file so the DGN data can be automatically kept up to date with changes made to the spreadsheet — wanted the same abilities on their AutoCAD and Civil 3D projects.
Some customers were unhappy, and rightly so. Microsoft Office Importer made our customers’ MicroStation lives easier, but when they had to do projects in AutoCAD or Civil 3D, they were still stuck using the less-than-stellar, built-in pasting tools. Years spent with Microsoft Office Importer for MicroStation had shown them how good things could be, making it all too obvious on their AutoCAD and Civil 3D projects that there was much room for improvement when it came to pasting spreadsheets into their DWGs.
Did Axiom’s senior technical staff really expect these users to live the easy life on MicroStation projects with Microsoft Office Importer, only to fend for themselves on AutoCAD and Civil 3D projects?
Time to Get to Work
And so it would be — our development team would create their first commercial Autodesk software utility and it would be Microsoft Office Importer.
Microsoft Office Importer for AutoCAD and Civil 3D would benefit from the years of customer-focused improvements made to all aspects of Microsoft Office Importer for MicroStation since its creation in 1996. Its formatting would be perfect, owing to almost two decades of refinement to the MicroStation version.
Microsoft Office Importer for AutoCAD would have the features real users really needed, thanks to eighteen years of feedback from its tremendous (in size and quality) MicroStation user base.
Simply stated, Microsoft Office Importer for AutoCAD and Civil 3D would be born mature and would be able to immediately help people in great numbers. Years of growing pains would not need to be repeated.
A small development team was assembled. This project would have to fly below the radar, in the beginning. If customers heard it was coming, it would make the wait even harder for them. Also, fielding “is it done yet?” and “when will it be done?” questions from excited customers would distract development and other staff from actually getting the products into those customers’ hands.
All that was left was to make it a reality. AutoCAD development has its own challenges. Fortunately, the development team was no stranger to AutoCAD development. With one full-time AutoCAD development veteran and nearly forty years of CAD development experience between the three core team members, they were up to the task.
And, as they say, nine months later Microsoft Office Importer for AutoCAD and Civil 3D were born. (Actually, it was a little bit longer, but that is considerably less romantic.)
The very first version of Microsoft Office Importer for AutoCAD was born with support for pasting both Excel spreadsheets and Word documents into DWG files. It was now not only easy to paste huge amounts of perfectly formatted information from Excel and Word into a DWG with a single action, that data would also be kept up to date, naturally, with changes made to the Excel or Word source files in the future. DWG files would be updated automatically, whenever opened, to reflect the latest changes made to the spreadsheet or document. Users wouldn’t even have to worry about remembering to check for updates.
Microsoft Office Importer for AutoCAD allows users to paste perfectly-formatted, huge spreadsheets into their drawing files with correctly sized columns on the fly.
Gone were the sorry days when AutoCAD users had to settle for whatever came built into AutoCAD for pasting their schedules, summaries, bills of materiel, quantities and other spreadsheets from Excel or their notes from Word documents into their DWG files. Also that data pasted into the DWG (using AutoCAD’s native paste command) would not be formatted correctly, that newly added rows in the spreadsheet wouldn’t show up in the DWG and that their links would simply go bad.
Which brings us up to present day: Microsoft Office Importer for AutoCAD and Civil 3D are being used by our customers world-wide, to turn the import of schedules and other Excel spreadsheet and Word document information into their DWG files into a transcendent activity. Using Microsoft Office Importer is a superior experience from beginning to end that must be seen to be appreciated.
With our senior technical staff’s sights set on helping AutoCAD users reduce time, frustration and double-work, the way they’ve helped MicroStation users for the past three decades, I can’t wait to see what the development team at here at Axiom comes out with next.
See it for yourself! Try Office Importer for free today!
To schedule a free, online demonstration or for more information on Office Importer, contact an Axiom AutoCAD Consultant today. Call 727-442-7774 extension 4821.