In last weeks blog post, I showed how to insert a table created in Microsoft Excel into an Autodesk Inventor Drawing.
But with that table placed into the drawing, there's an additional benefit I think makes this work flow worth considering.
When the Excel table is inserted onto the drawing, it maintains a link back to the Excel file, which make it what many like to refer to as "a single source of truth".
In other words, the Excel table can be updated, and all files looking at that table update as well.
Taking the example I used in my last blog post, I used Excel to create a chart that showed small tools and preferred vendors for a wood working project. I used it as a quick way of inserting standard information without recreating the table.
|The Excel table used in my previous blog.|
|The Saturday Table|
|The Blanket Chest|
I'm going to stick with them as a vendor, and just swap "Reed Wood Supply" with "Blue Sun".
To do that, I open up my Excel table, and make the changes. I can do this in one of two ways.
The first is to just open the Excel table up by browsing to it from Excel, the other is to locate it's link in Inventor's browser, right click, and choose "Edit".
|Browsing to the File in Excel|
|Right Click and Edit in Inventor's browser.|
Either way, I can now modify the file and save it.
|Changing to "Blue Sun"|
Once saved, the tables will update to reflect the new changes in both drawings.
|The updated table|
I've noticed that when I right click and choose edit from the browser, the table may not refresh right away. If that happens, right click on the table, and choose, "Update" . After that, all should be as it should be.
|Updating the table manually.|
There is one other capability of this method I find intriguing If the table is edited like an Inventor Table, additional rows can be added to the table for a particular drawing. However, these rows that are added don't propagate back to the Excel table.
I like the thought of this because if a particular project uses mostly the same "common" table items, but has a few that are unique, I can stick them onto the end of the table, and getting the best of both worlds.
To accomplish these steps, right click on the table and choose edit.
Next, right click on the edge of the border, and choose "Insert Row".
Now enter the desired values and repeat as needed. In this example, a different finish is being used on the Saturday table, so I've added a finer grit sandpaper and spar varnish to the vendor list. Since the table was edited in Inventor this time, only the drawing where I made the edits is changed.
The rest remain the same, allowing me to keep common what I want to keep common, and add where I need to add.
|The two tables compared to their Excel source. Notice the added items on the top table.|
So that's it. Utilizing the Excel table as a single reference, and making edits to accomplish different results. I do like some of the things I see here, and I think I'll utilize this more in the future.
I hope you can to.
And to wrap this up, check out the video on this work flow below!