How to import Microsoft Office files into MicroStation with perfect formatting

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  • Clearwater, Florida, USA — As product manager for Microsoft Office Importer, I recently spoke with a number of Microsoft Office Importer users about what, if anything, they needed from Microsoft Office Importer that it didn’t already do or that it could do better. I wanted to know how we could make it even better for them than it already is. Not surprisingly – to me anyway – the majority of users had no idea how it could be improved.

    Since the customers I surveyed were already so happy, I took a different approach. I spoke with Axiom support and training staff.

    By talking to them, I confirmed that the most frequent questions we get are about how to get the linked data to be the desired size in MicroStation when it is initially created by Microsoft Office Importer. I’ll explain how that works and show you how to do it.

    Microsoft Office Importer is Axiom’s wildly popular tool for bringing Word document and Excel data (including Excel charts) into MicroStation with perfect formatting while maintaining a link to the original file for when it changes in the future.

    How Microsoft Office Importer knows what text size to use

    Like a cargo ship, Microsoft Office Importer can import large quantities of Word and Excel data (and even Excel charts) into MicroStation.

    Microsoft Office Importer looks at the point size of text in the source file (an Excel spreadsheet, for example) and assigns a user-defined number of MicroStation master units to each point. Larger or smaller text is scaled at the same ratio. For example, if you set Microsoft Office Importer so that each point of text would be equal to 0.5 master units, that would bring ten-point text from a spreadsheet into MicroStation as five master units tall. 20-point text would come into MicroStation as double that: ten master units tall.

    How to set text size
    It’s easy to set this in Microsoft Office Importer:

    1. Select Microsoft Office Importer’s button.
    2. Setting text size is easy with Microsoft Office Importer. First, click on the <Settings> button.

    3. Then choose the “Size” tab.
    4. You’ll notice the height-to-width ratio is unlocked by default in the “Size” tab.

    5. Click on the icon to lock the height-to-width ratio. I’m assuming you’re starting with default settings, which are 1.0 height and 0.8 width.
    6. Type “0.5” in the “Height” field. Then hit the key.
    7. >Hitting the <Tab> key after entering “0.5” in the “Height” field will automatically update the “Width” field with the correctly proportioned value.

    8. Press <OK>.

    That’s it! Really. You’ve just changed Microsoft Office Importer’s text scaling settings. These settings will affect your future Microsoft Office Importer pastes. That’s as hard as it gets, so you’ve got an easy road ahead using Microsoft Office Importer.

    Making easy-to-use software isn’t actually easy. But it is fun and challenging and there’s always room for some kind of improvement. So please drop me a line at if there is any aspect of Microsoft Office Importer that you believe can be improved.

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