Friday, March 7, 2008

Getting Data From Your File

Yesterday I blogged about the data extraction command (dataextraction.) I failed to mention that command was new to AutoCAD 2008. However, there are several other commands that have been around for a while that can be used. They are not as cool as dataextraction, but they might be able to give you the options you need. Lets go.

ATTEXT

The ATTEXT command has been around since at least Release 12. It will count blocks and extract the data from them. It has the ability to place this data in an external file. There are three file types; CDF (comma delimited file), SDF (space delimited file), or a DXF (format extract file). The CDF and SDF files require a template file that has been created in ascii form. This can be difficult to do if you do have a working understanding of this type. For many releases it was the only way to extract data.

So, start the command, select the objects, the file type, the template, the output file and have at it. I have found that this command can be difficult to use, so I use other options that are available.

EATTEXT

The EATTEXT command will now start the dataextraction command in AutoCAD 2008. Eattext came to us in AutoCAD 2002. Thank goodness because the attext command was tough to use. Ok, start the EATTEXT command (I always get hungry when I use this one.) Determine your extraction type; objects, current drawing, or select drawing. You will have choices (as always) that will include the current drawing only, or to include xref files too. If there are nested blocks you will get the option of picking those too, or not. You will then be able to select your output file type, CSV, TXT, XLS, or MDB.

These are two of the “old school” methods of extracting block data from a drawing. However, the dataextraction command that is new in AutoCAD 2008 can get you info on any object, not just blocks!! If you haven’t switched to 2008 yet and you need to use the data in your files, maybe this will be reason enough to upgrade!!

If not, I hope this post helped.

Happy CADDING.


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5 comments:

  1. I am a little surprised by your following statement:

    “DO you ever have the need to count the objects in a file or drawing? The “old school” method was to take a print, different colored markers, and physically count each item. Then you would create a chart, or table. This is one way to create a bill of material, or a quantities sheet, or an assets tracking form, what ever you call it. Well, we use AutoCAD to help us out for many reasons, one to draw quicker, revise drawings quicker, and to count items faster too.”

    As far as I know AutoCAD:

    1. If you need count of objects in your drawing, all you need to type “Select > All” at the command prompt and hit ‘Enter’.

    2. If you need the count of particular type of object (line / arc / circle) with particular properties (layer / length) you could very well use the ‘qselect’.
    I have never felt the need to print and mark drawings by hand to get a count of objects.

    But yes, creating a table (a al BOM) was not possible.

    Am I missing something or are we talking different things?

    - Vilas Date
    ========

    ReplyDelete
  2. Vilas,

    Thanks for commenting. And no you are not missing anything, what you said is correct. The method you gave is another way to count things in AutoCAD. These other methods have different abilities to them. Your way is much faster, but the others have more control of how the information is displayed. the manual method I spoke of provides a means for the counting to be verified by other people and it keeps a record if needed.

    You bring up a great point, there are many ways to accomplish a task in AutoCAD. The difficulty is determining which method best suits your needs.

    Great comment. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you. These are tools that I use often. How about you?

    ReplyDelete

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