At 03:57 PM 2/18/2002 -0500, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
>I've followed most of those discussions, though I'm just now putting it into
>practice. I've discovered some things which seem to be at odds with what I
>remember reading:
>1) The GUID for each part (the "hidden handles") are actually in the
>spreadsheet, in column B. That column is hidden by default, but can easily be
>opened up.

Yes. When the file is loaded into Excel 97, the handles are visible. I 
haven't tried to make the field visible in the Spreadsheet Editor.

>2) The reimport is very buggy, and assumes that you exported ALL the possible
>columns. If you try to export just the columns you need to work with, it
>reimports to the wrong places.

I have not found this to be the case. Perhaps the field names (the first 
record of each section) were deleted.

I just tested it with pad export, I exported only x1 and y1. I then edited 
x1 (the x-coordinate of a pad) to a different value, File/Update and then I 
looked at the PCB. The pad had moved as edited.

>3) Because the GUID is actually present in the spreadsheet, you can sort rows
>any way you like and still be able to reimport them. I recall that you
>described a procedure for getting a unique number into every row, so that you
>could re-sort the rows back into the original order before reimporting them.
>This dosen't seem to be necessary in 99SE SP6.

I would expect that this is true.

>  I'm having good success (thus
>far - knock on wood) with just sorting the spreadsheet the way I want it
>(shuffling whole rows only, of course), editing, and reimporting with it in
>the sorted state.

Good news. The problem with incantations and incense is that you can never 
tell exactly what it was that made it work, likewise what does *not* make 
it work. Perhaps a word was pronounced wrong. On the other hand, my spell 
for keeping away elephants works perfectly, I haven't seen any around here 
for quite a while....

>4) I wish I'd explored this long ago. I agree that this is an essential tool
>for real work - makes it actually workable to get consistent part type and
>BOM info. And I hope Protel is actually going to fix some of the bugs in
>this! Protel, are you listening?

I'm sure they are. We have asked for ways to be able to close and reopen 
both the spreadsheet and PCB or schematic file, which means some way of 
re-linking them. Since the spreadsheet might have been edited, this is what 
I'd suggest:

A wizard would interactively guide the user through the selection of keys. 
For example, a schematic might be re-linked through reference designators, 
or it might be re-linked through physical locations. If a particular key 
results in unmatched primitives, the user is warned before import is done, 
likewise if import results in illegal values. If the user chooses to go 
ahead with illegal values or unmatched primitives, illegal values are 
filtered out and a report is generated which details all exceptions.

However, the really big change would be a better user interface for the 
wizard, and better help files, or, even better, a way to use Excel directly 
on files within a ddb. Why reinvent the wheel? And why force us to learn to 
use a different spreadsheet editor?

If the interface between the editor and spreadsheet can be made more 
seamless, we might start using the spreadsheet more often. It would help if 
more primitive attributes were accessible, for example, I have wished we 
were able to modify the selection attribute for primitives. This would then 
allow us to use calculations and other complex criteria for selection, 
without requiring more complex functionality to be built into Protel, since 
spreadsheet editors like Excel can easily use calculations to set values 
and field contents.

Abdulrahman Lomax
Easthampton, Massachusetts USA

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