Anyone who follows me on twitter got a heads up about this post yesterday. Ever since its introduction in 2008, Excel table linking has been one of my favorite features inside AutoCAD. Likewise, it seems I’m not alone with that notion, as my posts discussing AutoCAD and Excel interoperability are consistently some of my post popular posts here at The CAD Geek. Another one of my personal favorite features inside AutoCAD are Data Extraction Tables. The idea is that you can get AutoCAD to create a dynamic table from the information contained inside your drawing or drawings (yes Data Extraction tables can work with multiple drawings – very cool).
Since being posted back in April my post titled Linking Excel and AutoCAD with Data Links has been one of the most visited pages here on The CAD Geek Blog. In that post I go through what I will call the manual way of linking an Excel table to AutoCAD. Thus unless you are a part of the Slowskey family, you’ll likely prefer this quicker more efficient way of making the link.
Start off in Excel by simply selecting the cells you want to link to AutoCAD. Right-click and select “Copy“. This will place the Excel table on your clipboard so we can paste it into AutoCAD.
Open the AutoCAD drawing you wish to insert your Excel table into, and go to the “Edit” menu, selecting “Paste Special”.
From the resulting dialog box, Select the “Paste Link” radio button, and then select “AutoCAD Entities” under the “As” heading.
Arguably the most valuable tool in the modern-day engineer’s toolbox is Microsoft Excel. People love Excel so much that after its launch in 1985 Microsoft redesigned the rest of the Microsoft Office programs to look more like it. Microsoft Excel’s dominance is undoubtedly tied to its flexibility. After all, I think it’s fair to say that nearly all of us have at least one Excel table that is “wickedly complex”. The introduction of OLE objects, and more recently AutoCAD Tables were noble attempts to synchronize AutoCAD with Excel, but still fell short for many real-world needs. What engineers wanted and needed was bidirectional synchronization between AutoCAD and Excel. Among the new features packed within AutoCAD 2008 is just that capability through use of Data Links.