- Standardizing Data with AutoCAD P&ID
- Using Fasttrack Plant for Standardizing Data
One tool we put into Fasttrack Plant aids in the import/export of data with Excel. Today we are going to start a series looking at the advantages of our Import/Export to with Excel. We have some more ideas of how to make the tool more powerful, so this workflow may change as it enhances.
Because most engineer’s and designers are comfortable spending a lot of time in Excel, we think it makes sense to make tools that let them stay in Excel as much as possible. Also, we lower the cost of development and the cost of licensing if you just have to pay to import the data, and not for a separate application to work with the data.
Also, Excel is REALLY powerful. With the tools in Excel, you can already link it to several different databases which extends the import/export capabilities to Plant 3d even further. Let’s get into some details though.
The overall process is as follows:
- Export data to Excel
- Make formula changes to setup a suitable Excel template that can be re-used.
- Import/Export the data as necessary to sync with the current project and make design changes.
Export Data To Excel
We have several options for getting data to Excel, but we’ll start with the simplest, exporting from the Data Manager. Right-clicking on the data manager on a class we want (1) gives us the Export option (2). Then we can choose the export settings (3), the classes to export (4), and the location (5).
Now we have a plain Excel file with some data in it. Note that we could also export reports from the data manager, use custom export settings, or the report creator to create a data dump. Because we’re staying high level in this post, we won’t get into the details on those topics though.
Two features of our import/export process is that it recognizes Excel formulas (and doesn’t overwrite them), and that it imports behind the scenes, so every drawing doesn’t have to open. In this example, we used a formula to populate additional service data from a spreadsheet we keep in a shared location on our network.
Set up Sync Settings
We have the ability to customize sync settings for the import/export process. In this case, based on the selection of the Service CF, we populated the Design Pressure, Design Temperature, Operating Pressure, and Operating Temperature from a standard company spreadsheet.
Once the sync is setup, using the Import Excel button and browsing to our spreadsheet pulls the data into the project.