TL Title Block

TL Title Block

Win64, English

Todor Latev
Automatically update Autodesk® AutoCAD® title block attributes from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

General Usage Instructions

Refer to the included User Guide PDF document for more detailed instructions!

Once this app is properly set up it is a "press of a button" workflow for each AutoCAD .dwg file.
The setup process however requires some upfront work, typically done by the CAD manager at the start of the project.
It involves several steps:
1. Title Block setup
2. Excel spreadsheet setup
3. Drawing/template setup
4. Existing drawing setup (Optional)
Each step is discussed in detail below

1. Title Block setup
Start by designing your project title block or use an existing one as you'd normally do. There is no additional work required in this step in order to utilize this plugin. Note however that the app will not modify anything other than block attributes so any fields, static text or mtext objects will need to be converted to attributes if they are going to be updated.
Create a list of all title block attributes used and note their Visibility state. By default the app will ignore any "invisible" attributes, however, this behaviour can be overridden, see 'Drawing/template setup' below for more information


2. Excel spreadsheet setup
The name of each title block attribute you created in the previous step needs to appear as a column header in the Excel project index sheet. If an attribute is missing in the spreadsheet the app will produce a warning message but still carry on to update everything else it can.
Note that the topmost non-empty row is considered a column header, so the app will match block attributes to the columns in this row
The Layout column, In order to support multiple drawing layouts per dwg file the app will look for individual layout names in the Excel table rows and match them to your dwg layout name. This very important column serves as a database primary key and should not contain any duplicates. The plugin will internally check for duplicates and will refuse to run if any are found.

In that case, a list of all duplicates will be displayed in the AutoCAD command line. The default name for this Primary Key column is 'Layout', however, a different one may be used in which case you will need to tell the app what it is by setting the TLTitleBlockPrimaryKey dwg custom property, refer to the drawing/template setup below for more information.

Hidden cells
Hidden rows/columns (cell height = 0) are ignored by the App
Block Attributes
Each block attribute you defined in the title block in step one needs to appear as a column header in the spreadsheet. Individual sheets/layouts need to be listed as rows so the app can read the values in the excel file and update the drawing title block.
See the sample Excel spreadsheet file provided

3. Drawing/template setup
Once you have your title block and excel spreadsheet ready the final step is to tell the app /for each of your drawings/ the name of the title block you want to synchronize with excel as well as the excel file and sheet name and path. This is accomplished via custom dwg properties. The following list documents all possible custom properties you can have and what each one does. Note that this workflow does not limit you to a single excel file per project or sheet name or even title block.

You can have multiple files or sheets for different disciplines for example and multiple title blocks. The app however only supports one title block/excel file/sheet name per .dwg file.

Capitalization is ignored in all custom dwg property values

Required custom dwg properties - ALL of these MUST be present in each of your dwgs or the app will fail with an error message:
* TLTitleBlockName - specifies the name of the AutoCAD title block reference in paper space the app will keep in sync with the Excel file.
Example:
Name: "TLTitleBlockName", Value: "123456-GEN-TBLK-D22x34"
* TLTitleBlockXLSPath - specifies the path to the Excel file
Special note on the "TLTitleBlockXLSPath" custom property - in order to support a maximum number of different

corporate environments the app implements the following special system variables which can be used anywhere in the file path and if found will be replaced with the corresponding value returned by the OS, which is likely to vary on different machines - refer to the User Guide for a complete list of all variables
* TLTitleBlockSheet - specifies the Excel sheet name to be used. This allows you to have multiple index sheets for different disciplines or stages of the dwgs over the lifecycle of the project
* TLTitleBlockLogLevelMode - specifies how much output the app generates
* TLTitleBlockPrimaryKey - specifies the Primary Key column name in the Excel file - this would be your drawing registry, duplicate values are not allowed. The default value is "Layout". Values in each row of this column are matched to the individual drawing layouts in your dwg files

Screenshots

Commands

Ribbon/Toolbar Icon Command Command Description

TLTitleBlockUpdateCurrentLayout

Updates all title block attributes on the current layout with the contents of the project Excel file.

TLTitleBlockUpdateAllLayouts

Invokes the TLTitleBlockUpdateCurrentLayout command on all Layouts found in the current drawing.

TLTitleBlockActivate

Activates the TL Title Block App with the Autodesk App Store. An active internet connection is required. Once activated the app can be used offline. This command is not available in the ribbon and needs to be manually typed in at the AutoCAD command prompt.

Installation/Uninstallation

The installer that ran when you downloaded this app/plug-in from Autodesk App Store will start installing the app/plug-in. OR, simply double-click the downloaded installer to install the app/plugin. You may need to restart the Autodesk product to activate the app/plug-in. To uninstall this plug-in, exit the Autodesk product if you are currently running it, simply rerun the installer, and select the "Uninstall" button. OR, click Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features (Windows 7/8.1/10) and uninstall as you would any other application from your system.

Once the installation is complete, start AutoCAD and log in with your Autodesk user id and password. Run the TLTitleBlockActivate command to activate the app. Once activated the app can be used offline.

Additional Information

4. Existing drawing setup (Optional)
In the case of an existing project with a number of drawings already generated probably the easiest method to integrate the TLTitleBlock App is to take advantage of the PROPULATE Express tool most likely already installed along with your main Cad product.


From the official Autodesk documentation:
"Allows quick, automated population of the data fields in the Drawing Properties dialog box. This data is displayed with the DWGPROPS command or when viewing the properties of a DWG file with Windows Explorer.
Drawing Property data can be updated, listed or removed from the current drawing or a folder of drawings."


A custom dwg properties template can be created and easily applied to existing drawings thus providing the necessary initial configuration. Refer to the sample .PRP file provided.

Known Issues

Excel file access functionality
The App relies on functionality provided by the 'ExcelDataReader' and 'ExcelNumberFormat' .NET packages, available under the MIT license.
Excel file cell values are physically stored as numbers in the file along with their format strings and formatted according to regional/custom format settings upon displaying in Excel. The App attempts to process certain data types and their corresponding formats, however, results may vary from their native Excel representation. Therefore for best results, the recommended way to format the Excel table is to use Strings as data types in which case no further formatting will be necessary.

The following cell data types are currently supported: String, DateTime, Double, Float, Decimal, Int16, Int32, Int64, Boolean, Byte, Char

Contact

Author/Company Information

Todor Latev

Support Information

For questions/comments/suggestions/bug reports etc please email to: Todor.Latev@gmail.com

Version History

Version Number Version Description

2021.6.6.1

Initial release.
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