AttMan documentation

Is a plugin for Autodesk® AutoCAD® software, associated with a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. It enables moifying the contents of texts in a block with attributes in AutoCAD, through an Excel spreadsheet without having to open the DWG files. It allows the user to use all the potential of the Excel spreadsheet (formulae, relations between spreadsheets, …).

AttMan 0.9 supports blocks with multiple instances of an attribute tag

Last Revision: November 2019.

Introduction

About

AttMan is an application for Autodesk® AutoCAD® software linked to Microsoft Excel, allowing you to modify the contents of the texts belonging to an block with attributes in AutoCAD through Excel, without opening the files DWG and allowing the use of the full potential of Excel spreadsheets (formulae, relationships between sheets, …).

Simple operation of AttMan:
  • Select the attribute block.
  • Select the files that contain that block with attributes.
  • Display the text contained in the blocks with attributes in the spreadsheet.
  • Modify at will the desired texts within the Excel sheet.
  • Apply the desired changes so that DWG files are automatically modified.

The application has many other secondary functions that we will explain later.

Comparison with the traditional system:

Traditional system to modify attribute texts:

  1. Open plan containing the block with texts in attributes.
  2. Select the block with text in attributes and modify it.
  3. Do the same operation with the 1000 drawings that I need to modify.
  4. Estimated time: 1 min for drawing x 1000 drawings = 1000min

AttMan System:

  1. Open Excel (1 sec)
  2. Read block with text in attributes of a plan containing it (30 sec)
  3. Read 1000 drawings (45min) where the user can do another task.
  4. Modify in the operation chart all the information needed using the full potential of Excel (45min)
  5. Apply changes (45min) where the user can do another task.
  6. Estimated time: 135min where only 45min require our attention, so that estimated time 90min

With AttMan the modifications will no longer require points 1,2,3, only in case new plans are added or existing ones are eliminated, where will we repeat the process for those files. The information resulting from the Excel’s operations chart will allow us to use it for indexes, tables, …

Using AttMan

AttMan is a template for Excel, so to create a new file you have to select the template from the new menu, in thePersonal section. If you want to modify an existing AttMan file, just open it.

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Graphic interface

The AttMan interface is integrated into the basic menus of the Excel spreadsheet.

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Once an AttMan file is created, we will obtain the following window, with two defined spaces:

  • Menus and options box
  • Table of operations

If the program detects an error, a Feedback Message window will appear.

attman_02.png

At the top we find a menu integrated in the Excel menus, with all the applications and options that the program allows.

About

It informs us of the version of the program and allows us to change the language.

1. Configuration

This menu allows us to configure the first part of the program with the following options:

  • Read blocks : Detects all the blocks contained in the DWG. We will select in cell G1 the name of the block that contains the attributes that we want to process.
  • Project path : It allows us to save the path that will be used for file selection dialogues.

2. Read data

This menu allows us to select the files we want to process with the following options:

  • Files : A search window emerges with the address of the project path, where we can select the files we want to process, reading the selected block of each file.
  • Directory : A search window emerges that allows us to select a directory where the program will select all the files it contains, reading the selected block of each file.
    • + Subdirectories : Additionally read the files in subdirectories recursively.
  • Selection : Reread the attributes of the block that we have already processed in the spreadsheet and that are selected in the selection column A.

3. Write data

This menu allows us to write the data represented in Excel to the DWG files with the following options:

  • All : Process all the spreadsheet attributes.
  • Selection : Processes the files marked in the selection column A.

4. Selection

This menu allows us to manage the selection column A with the following options:

  • All : Select all the attributes of the spreadsheet (with an X).
  • None : Removes all X from the selection column.
  • Invert : Reverses the state of the selection column.

The selection column can be filled in by writing an X, or selecting it all and deleting theX of the blocks that we don’t want to process.

5. Handling

This menu allows us to modify the order of the spreadsheet rows without losing the information with the following options:

  • Sort by files : Sort in alphabetical order, the spreadsheet rows by column F of * Files *.
  • Sort by col. order : Sort in alphabetical order, the spreadsheet rows by column B of * Order *.
  • Delete rows : Deletes the selected rows from the spreadsheet. Note: this does not delete the block of the respective DWG file.
  • Clean sheet : Remove all information from the spreadsheet.

6. Other

This menu allows us to connect to the program with other AutoCAD options with the following options:

  • Open in AutoCAD : It allows us to open the Excel file containing the attribute from Excel. We will open a window where we will choose one of the following options:
      • Open Excel selection *
      • Open by column Sel. *
  • Send to [PlotMan] (/ en / PlotMan /) : It allows us to send PDF files containing the blocks with attributes. A window will open where we will choose one of the following options:
      • Print all *
      • Print Excel selection *
      • Print by column Sel. *

7. Files

This menu allows us to manage the files processed by the program with the following options:

  • Copy files : Copy the processed files to any other address, allowing you to modify a copy, keeping the old files.
  • Move files : Move the processed files to any other address without losing connections for this application.

If some External References do not use relative routes, this could result in problems, to avoid them we recommend using [RefMan] (/ es ​​/ RefMan) before and after.

Help

This section allows us to access the help and contact our team of developers, with the following options:

  • User manual : For any doubt with the operation of the program, here we have the Manual.
  • Feedback : If the user has any problem or any proposal for improvement that the program may have, our team of developers will be at your disposal.

Operation table

The spreadsheet where we will find all the information contained in the attribute texts of the different DWG files that we are going to edit.

  • Edit Fields : Once we have the files sorted as desired, we can start editing the different fields of the different columns that have been created, of the attribute block.
  • Fill Fields : In the same way we can fill in the fields of the block where there is no information.

Beware of the reorganization of rows and columns, you must always keep in mind to move the entire column or entire row.

Once we have all the desired fields edited we will use the Menu 3.Write data to apply the changes.

A process bar will appear on our desk, indicating the operation of the program.

Feedback Messages

In the event of an error in the execution due to a program failure, a window will be activated, where the user can explain at what point the process has stopped working, and our technicians will receive this communication instantly to solve the problem.

{{ figure (“feedback.png”) }}

Practical cases

AttMan utility to control project indexes and plan titles

We have a project with a large number of plans. These plans have a format of margins, legends, box, … etc. The box is where the information that explains the plan is described with text next to the project that belongs, among many other information.

The box is usually a reference and each box has a block with text in attributes inserted with different information according to the project (title of the plan, description, enumeration of the plan, scales, code, technician, criminal, … etc.) The program allows control that block with all the attribute texts it contains.

  1. Open a file in Excel, in PERSONAL, select the AttMan application.

  2. We choose application language.

  3. Select “read blocks”, where a window will open in which we must indicate a file that contains the block with texts in attributes that you want to use.

{{ figure (“attman_03.png”) }}

  1. The application will read the file and detect all the blocks in the file, we select the name of the block that contains the attributes we want to use.

{{ figure (“attman_04.png”) }}

Then, we go to option “2. Read data” and click where it says “Files”. We select all the files that the project encompasses and we give it where it says “Open”.

{{ figure (“attman_05.png”) }}

The application will read the attributes contained in the indicated block in each of the files and store them in the Excel sheet.

Depending on the quantity and weight of the files, this process can be more or less long

{{ figure (“attman_06.png”) }}

Once all the files have been read, all the information of each attribute associated to the block that we indicate is available.

Thanks to the fact that AttMan is a bi-directional application, we have the possibility to manipulate data from Excel so that files are modified in autocad or vice versa.

From the table in Excel you can verify, analyze, correct or change any data that we consider to be modified and then with an indication, the application will make the change directly in the corresponding file (s).

The important thing is that at this point we have all the information that we want to appear in our index in a centralised and manageable way, so, the subsequent steps will simply be to sort in the Excel sheet the way we want this data to appear in our “Index” file and then transfer it to autocad.

AttMan utility to modify project indexes

Continuing with the previous example.

If after generating the index that encompasses the project, a change arises, either by updating plans or because the number of these increased. It is not necessary to generate the list again, we simply search, in the list of the AttMan , the file to which a new layout was made and in the option “2. Read data “click where it says” Selection “and the AttMan will read only the selected file and update the database in the Excel.

Whenever any new data appears, the application highlights it in green

attman_07.png

Thus our index would be updated almost automatically.

AttMan utility to modify the description of the attributes of a block

Suppose that we have generated, with the AttMan , a list in Excel of the attributes of the box to make the Index of a project (as explained in the previous cases). It turns out that, once generated, a change arises and it is necessary to modify the description of one of the attributes.

According to the normal procedure, it would be necessary to go file by file modifying the attribute (s) affected, a procedure that would be very long.

With the AttMan application of Camilion, it is only necessary to modify, in the list of Excel generated by the AttMan , the description, then place an X (column “A”) in the rows that are modified

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Then, select the option “3.Write data” and the application will directly modify all the files involved without opening them one by one.

AttMan utilities to generate list of materials

If we have a project with multiple files, and we need to make a list of the materials specified in that project, we have to do the following:

We open the application AttMan , by Camilion.

As described above, you must open a file in Excel, and in PERSONAL, select the AttMan application.

After choosing the language that will work in the application, we select “read blocks” that is in the option “2.Read data”. A window will open in which we must indicate the file that contains the block that represents the material we want to post.

It is important to be sure that the block to be accounted for represents the material we want and is present in all files

In this case, we want to count the number of Cabinets, Power Outlets and what type they are within a single-family housing project.

In box G1, we select the name of the block that represents the material we want to post: CABINET.

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Then, we turn to option “2. Read data “and click where it says” Files “. We select all the files and give it where it says “Open”.

attman_11.png

The application will read the attributes contained in the indicated block in each of the files and store them in the Excel sheet.

Depending on the quantity and weight of the files, this process can be more or less long

attman_12.png

The resulting Excel tells us that we have: a 36-circuit cabinet (C36) named “T-PA” and another 24-circuit cabinet (C24) named “T-PB”.

Then, if we wanted to analyze another block that represents another different material (outlet), we must: first, go to the “Other” option, select “Clean sheet”. Then in box G1 change to the name of the block that interests us, for our example: TAKE CURRENT.

If we do not click on clean sheet and reload the files, what will happen, is that the application will highlight in red the rows that refer to the previous block.

attman_13.png

And we give it again in option “2. Read data “where it says” Files “; we select all the files again and we give it open. The process described above will be repeated and the result will be a list with the attributes of the CURRENT TAKE block “

attman_14.png

Despite having cleaned the sheet, the application leaves, in the “Attributes of the block” part, the boxes of the block already analysed, however it does not place any value on it in the rows corresponding to the new block

Among the attributes, we can see that they refer to the cabinet to which the power sockets are connected (CABINET), to the circuit that they are associated (CIRCUIT) and to the quantity (QUANTITY) and to the type (TC). With this you can make a filter and get the desired result: amount of outlet of each type and to which cabinet are referred.