Confessions of a Microsoft Office Importer user.

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By Tetra Tech CAD designer and experienced Axiom tools user, Bob Kangas
BRIGHTON, MICHIGAN, USA — At our Tetra Tech office, we save a lot of time and headaches by using Microsoft Office Importer to import and update quantity lists and tables from Microsoft Excel spreadsheets into our road-design MicroStation files.

Bob Kangas, Project Manager for Tetra Tech.

The following account illustrates how we did this in the past without Microsoft Office Importer: We calculated the quantities and entered them into an Excel spreadsheet used to generate cost estimates. Then, we entered all the quantities into MicroStation by manually typing them in. Before submitting final plans, we printed a file listing all the quantities by sheet and compared them to what was shown on the plans, and then we made any necessary corrections — again — to be sure that all the data matched. For a 30-sheet project, this would take about 15 hours initially to input all the quantities and then another 8 hours to update them throughout the project.

“With Microsoft Office Importer, we only import a main spreadsheet. The main spreadsheet displays linked information from a set of “sub-spreadsheets”. Each sub-spreadsheet lists the quantities for a specific design sheet (a MicroStation file). By only importing the main spreadsheet into MicroStation, when a change is made to any of the sub-spreadsheets, all we have to do is click on Microsoft Office Importer’s “Update” link button and the information in the design file gets updated and matches the information in the main spreadsheet.

Using Microsoft Office Importer cuts down drafting time, eliminates human error and eliminates errors due to changes in the main spreadsheet that do not get manually changed in the design file.

On average, I would guess that Microsoft Office Importer saves us 30 minutes per sheet. With most projects having 30 sheets or more, the time saved adds up. The data- input time with Microsoft Office Importer is reduced to about an hour or two, and updating is done with the click of a button. Microsoft Office Importer saves us at least 15 hours of busy work per project. Most importantly it reduces error caused by entering the same information in multiple locations by hand. With Microsoft Office Importer, you enter the data in once and you’re done.

About the Author
Bob Kangas is the project manager and group leader for Tetra Tech’s Road Design group based in Brighton, Michigan. Bob has been a MicroStation user for 14 years and an Axiom tools user for the past five years. In his free time, Bob enjoys hockey, softball, hunting, fishing, and downhill skiing.

About Microsoft Office Importer
Microsoft Office Importer enables MicroStation users to import and link nearly unlimited quantities of spreadsheet data into MicroStation with ease. With Microsoft Office Importer users can:

  • Paste hundreds of columns and rows of spreadsheet data into MicroStation in a single paste.
  • Have their linked spreadsheet data automatically updated so it is in sync with the data in the source Excel spreadsheet.
  • Control the symbology and formatting of the information pasted with exceptional precision.
  • And more!
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