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Linking Excel to MicroStation

Before you Begin

This process is for linking summary boxes, traffic signs, camber tables, bottom of slab elevations, etc... from Excel to MicroStation.

Since the automatic update process isn't reliable, putting all of your Excel links into one dgn, then using MicroStation to reference them into your other dgns, would allow you to be able to update links in one place.

Consider that anyone who works on the project might print or need access to the Excel file, it should be located near to the linked dgn. Excel files linked to MicroStation dgn files should reside in the same Folder as the dgn file.

Note: If you use your Office Menu Bar to open Excel be sure that Excel 2002 is the target and not the default install of Excel. (The target should be C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 2002\Office10\EXCEL.EXE.)

Creating the Link

  1. Open the MicroStation drawing, then open the Excel spreadsheet that you want to link.
  2. In Excel, the area that you link should to look exactly the way you want it to in MicroStation, i.e. draw lines and borders. Once you are done modifying Excel, highlight the area, click Copy.
  3. Leaving Excel open, switch back to MicroStation. From within MicroStation go to Edit > Paste Special, then choose either: Embedded Microsoft Excel Worksheet or Linked Microsoft Excel Worksheet, and then click Paste. Embedded is a one time shot and you will not be able to update MicroStation if the Excel spreadsheet is changed. Linked will allow you to modify data in Excel and then update MicroStation without having to reattach the spreadsheet.
    paste special dialog box
  4. You may receive a message in the bottom left of the screen saying "The clipboard is empty", ignore this. After a few seconds the Paste OLE window should pop up where you have two options: By Corners or By Size. By Corners allows you to dynamically place and size the spreadsheet, while By Size places it at a particular scale. Using a By Size with a scale of 1 usually fits nicely on a 1:1 border. If your border was placed at the project scale, enter that value in the Scale: box. (Gray shading may appear over the spreadsheet - once you exit Excel this will go away.
    paste ole dialog box
  5. If you need more links go back to step 2, otherwise close Excel (click no when asked to save the clipboard), then close MicroStation.

Updating Links

Since the automatic update of links is not very reliable, the links should be manually updated. Whenever the Excel spreadsheet has changed, you will need to:

  1. Open MicroStation
  2. Go to Edit > Update Links, this will update all links that are within the dgn, this may take a few seconds.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation
PO Box 483  |  7 Hazen Drive  |  
Concord, NH  |  03302-0483
Tel: 603.271.3734  |  Fax: 603.271.3914