There is an easy solution to your spreadsheet-importing problems!

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By Chris Borales, Product Manager for Axiom
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA, USA — MicroStation portals are filled with users wanting to find an easy, efficient method for importing Excel spreadsheets and Word documents into their design files. As a result, these portals are filled with just as many answers from other frustrated users.

In desperate attempts to import spreadsheet data, I have heard tales of users implementing backbreaking, mind-bending methods in order to reproduce their spreadsheets in their design files. Some MicroStation users have placed their trust in a configuration variable or in a crude MDL application created in a pinch by another MicroStation user. Some have even gone so far as to fly in a congregation of Tibetan monks to preside over the spreadsheet import. While the constant chanting was a comfort to employees, lulling some of the more lethargic to sleep, the monks were all for naught.

While using MicroStation’s native Paste and Paste Special functions, users often report that their spreadsheets and Word documents become nothing like they used to be. What used to be a beautifully-formatted spreadsheet ends up as a random collection of text. Word documents with paragraph formatting become large blocks of monolithic text. Whole words are dropped so that entire text strings are no longer editable, only individual letters. Oh the horror!

Enter Microsoft Office Importer
Since importing spreadsheets and Word documents into design files is something that comes up regularly in most MicroStation CAD shops, the need for a tool that consistently imports properly-formatted spreadsheet and document data into MicroStation was apparent. Axiom answered the call. And since Axiom has offered the Microsoft Office Importer utility, it has become our second most popular solution (after FileFixer).

Microsoft Office Importer’s popularity is rooted in the fact that it not only maintains Word document and Excel spreadsheet formatting, but that it also links the imported spreadsheet or document to the design file it was imported in. This means that when a change is made to the spreadsheet, the design file is automatically updated!

Also, Microsoft Office Importer users have the ability to control all aspects of the symbology and formatting of the spreadsheet or Word document before the data is pasted. For example, a user can map specific Windows fonts to specific MicroStation fonts or put imported text on a specific level with specific symbology and border elements on other levels with different symbology. This total control gives Microsoft Office Importer users the ability to have their spreadsheets or Word documents comply with their CAD standards automatically!

Updates galore!
Axiom’s product development staff is constantly updating Microsoft Office Importer to incorporate more features. Some of the most recent enhancements include options to modify the current symbology of imported spreadsheets or Word documents and the ability to create named pairs of height and width values. The newest version of Microsoft Office Importer boasts features that were implemented in order to respond to overwhelming customer demand.

Filled cells
Microsoft Office Importer can now import filled colored cells from an Excel spreadsheet into a design file. This feature now affords users of Microsoft Office Importer an even greater depth of formatting than they had previously.

Filled cells in Excel.

Filled cells in MicroStation imported using Microsoft Office Importer.

The other feature is the added ability to recognize the modification of individual Excel sheet tab names. Sheet tabs include the names of the individual sheets within a single Excel file. Sheet tabs are displayed at the bottom left hand corner of the spreadsheet.

Example of sheet tabs

Previously, while Microsoft Office Importer recognized these sheet tab names, if the name of a sheet tab was changed mid-project Microsoft Office Importer would lose the link between the Excel spreadsheet and design file. Now, within Microsoft Office Importer’s “Manage Import Link” dialog, a user can specify the new name of the sheet tab and update the existing link in MicroStation.

Microsoft Office Importer’s “Manage Import Link” dialog box

Send the monks home!
Send the Tibetan monks back home, and pick up a copy of Microsoft Office Importer! You will not be disappointed.

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