Speed Up Design Projects Using the Microsoft Office Importer App


You have been there — a project deadline is closing in and you still have to import several giant spreadsheets, containing material information, specifications or measurements, into your CAD drawing. You try to import one spreadsheet and, to your horror, they’ve imported strangely. The cells are off, the numbers are misplaced and they don’t follow any standards that you’ve ever seen. The clock is still ticking.

Today, we’re going to show you how to avoid the end-of-the-project panic because you haven’t imported those spreadsheets or Word docs. Specifically, I’m going to save you time by showing you how to paste a large spreadsheet into a DWG or DGN in one operation, even though it may seem too tall to fit in the border in a single piece.


Figure 1. Microsoft Office Importer can easily import your spreadsheets into MicroStation or AutoCAD® with perfect formatting.

MicroStation or AutoCAD?

The process I’m going to describe today can be performed in Microsoft Office Importer for MicroStation and for AutoCAD, with only subtle differences between the two applications. For example, users of Microsoft Office Importer for MicroStation will run it from a toolbar while Microsoft Office Importer for AutoCAD users will run it from the buttons in the ribbon. In this article, we’re going to be focusing on the AutoCAD instructions. This shouldn’t, however, be a deterrent to MicroStation users. Despite small differences, if you can use the AutoCAD version, you’ll be immediately at home with the MicroStation version as well. So if you jump from MicroStation to AutoCAD projects, you will have a comfortable, consistent Microsoft Office Importer experience on both sides.

Here’s how to bring a large spreadsheet into a DWG perfectly with a single action — not a bunch of pastes, one for each “page” worth of spreadsheet data.

Note: Today’s brief how-to assumes you have Microsoft Office Importer for AutoCAD installed in AutoCAD or Civil 3D. This how-to won’t go into all the particulars of how you work, like setting your fonts, your text sizes, your symbology (color, weight, style) and your layers. Those are usually a one-time setup for a particular site, discipline or client and you can make them right in Microsoft Office Importer for AutoCAD’s Settings box.
  1. To bring in a paste, open Excel. Any version of Excel is fine.
  2. Open the spreadsheet you want to paste into a DWG file.
  3. In Excel, select what you want to bring in.
  4. Copy it to your clipboard with {Ctrl-C}.


    Figure 2. Your Excel spreadsheet copied and ready to go
  5. Open your DWG in AutoCAD.
  6. Microsoft Office Importer for AutoCAD can paste into model space or a paper space layout, so go to wherever you want to paste.
  7. On your Axiom ribbon tab, press the Microsoft Office Importer {Paste Clipboard} button.


    Figure 3. Here is how the {Paste Clipboard} button will look.
  8. If your paste is so tall that you need to split it into multiple columns to fit inside your border, check to ensure that the Microsoft Office Importer setting “Split paste into columns.” is checked on.
  9. In your DWG, choose the top-left corner of your paste area with a {Left-Click} of your mouse.
  10. Now move down and to the right to get the paste laid out just how you want it inside your border. As you move to the right, you’re controlling the space between each column that Microsoft Office Importer creates; as you move down, you’re controlling the maximum height of each column of data that Microsoft Office Importer distributes your Excel data into.


    Figure 4. Here’s your DWG before the paste. The red part designates where your columns will go.
  11. Once you’ve got it just the way you want it, {Left-Click} your mouse again. Microsoft Office Importer will draw your data in the DWG using clean AutoCAD objects — mtext and lines inside a block. Now, you have objects which follow your CAD standards.


    Figure 5. Here’s what your DWG looks like after the paste — Microsoft Office Importer in action!

Behind the scenes, besides effortlessly recreating Excel’s formatting in the DWG, Microsoft Office Importer silently created a link from your pasted data back to the Excel spreadsheet that it came from. There’s no extra step that you had to perform to create this link — nothing to add time, mess up or simply forget to do.

In the future, Microsoft Office Importer will automatically and instantly check the spreadsheet for changes every time you open that DWG file on a computer with Microsoft Office Importer for AutoCAD installed.

Whenever it sees that the spreadsheet has changed, Microsoft Office Importer will update the data in the DWG from that spreadsheet. There are no extra steps to set this up, check for the updates or to manually update the DWG. It just works, automatically and efficiently.

Once you’ve tried it or seen it live, it will be completely obvious how simple this whole process is. It’s hard to choose what’s most important about Microsoft Office Importer. Is it the ease with which you can paste even huge Excel spreadsheets or Word documents into a DWG file, with perfect formatting?

Is it the automatic updating of that data in the DWG that effortlessly keeps it in sync with the spreadsheet or Word document throughout your projects?

Is it the fine control you have over things that impact your CAD standards like text size, font, color, layer and more? Or is it the other 20 years of customer-driven refinements to this indispensable CAD tool?

Pictures and words will have to suffice for now. But to see this for yourself, contact Axiom for a live online demonstration today. Operators are standing by!

Import Your Spreadsheets With Perfect Formatting today!

For more information on Microsoft Office Importer or to schedule a free, online demonstration contact an Axiom Consultant today! Call 727-442-7774 extension 5346, e-mail Infomail@AxiomInt.com or visit Axiom on the Web at www.AxiomInt.com now!