Watch: Automating Data Entry with 12d Synergy’s Sheet Set Manager Integration – Industry Solutions Webinar
It’s No Secret: Data Entry Sucks
In this article you’ll learn how to use Sheet Set Manager with 12d Synergy to save time and minimise risk through automating CAD data entry.
Managing CAD Title Blocks with Sheet Set Manager
Sheet Set Manager is a tool within AutoCAD and BricsCAD that allows drafters to more easily organise the many drawings (DWGs) and layouts within their projects.
The key benefit of the Sheet Set Manager is allowing attributes to be updated, and sheets to be plotted, without having to open each separate DWG file. This is a major time (and sanity) saver compared to doing it all manually.
Here’s how it works:
The problem however is that Sheet Set Manager doesn’t eliminate the data entry when setting up and updating these attributes. So, managing your title blocks is still a major pain, and is still very manual and very risky.
Say for instance your project has 25 sheets, and each sheet is revved up five times during the life of the project. Five title block changes are needed for each rev up.
Very quickly you’re looking at 625 title block fields to be manually updated just for revving up your sheets on a single project.
Not only will this be incredibly time-consuming and tedious, but it’s also error-prone. Errors are inevitable when manually typing out title blocks: spelling errors occur, drawings get skipped, incorrect information is used.
Minimising Data Entry with LISP Routines
Another option for managing your title blocks is to use LISP routines, script routines and an Excel drawing register to minimise data entry and automate title block updating.
Updating title blocks is much faster and easier in a drawing register spreadsheet because you have copy & paste, drag & drop and formulas to do the heavy lifting.
Once you’ve updated your drawing register, the LISP routine then mechanically opens each DWG, updates the title block attribute(s) and then closes it. This saves you time, reduces errors and eliminates tedious work.
But the reality is that most companies using Sheet Set Manager are small-to-medium sized companies who lack the in-house skills, spare capacity, time and money to create and fine-tune their own scripts and drawing registers.
So, you’re left with having to manually type out all your title block attributes.
Automating Title Block Data Entry Without Needing Scripts
12d Synergy’s Title Block Manager helps you easily change any block attribute quickly – whether in AutoCAD, BricsCAD or Civil3D, automatically and on dozens, hundreds or thousands of drawings at a time.
It’s easier, more accurate and faster than LISP routines, and doesn’t require any scripting, coding or Excel.
12d Synergy’s built-in drawing register minimises data entry with copy & paste, drag & drop, automatic incrementing. If you don’t have one set up, 12d Synergy will interrogate your drawings, and automatically populate one for you from the attributes already in your DWGs!
12d Synergy will then update your attributes without you having to open a single DWG or fiddle with any coding, saving you time and money.
Better still, all the updating occurs silently in the background. So you aren’t forced to wait and watch DWGS open and close while your LISP routine runs.
All the changes are pushed to your DWGs, taking less than 1.5 seconds to update each title block.
To give you a better idea of the speed, those 625 title blocks can be updated in just 15 minutes – that’s a coffee break.
Why You Should Use 12d Synergy’s Title Block Manager
• Achieve consistency across all your title blocks
• Easily manage all your title blocks within one central location
• It’s hassle-free and super easy to use, without having to code, run scripts and create and maintain a CSV file
• It’s much easier, faster and safer than Sheet Set Manager because our drawing register minimises the data entry
Simplify, automate and transform how you manage and update your title blocks with our new time-saving Title Block Manager tools.
Free CAD Workshop
Learn more about our Title Block Manager tools in our free 30-minute online workshop. Sessions running throughout today.
Minimising Risk When Issuing CAD Data to Clients
Another challenge Sheet Set Manager users face is the risk of litigation when issuing drawings to clients.
Often clients require the formal issuing of all the project’s IP: all the sheets, DWGs and Xrefs. Companies have spent months building elaborate Sheet Set Manager templates, drawing registers and scripts, and yet still issue their drawings through a risky Windows Explorer, email or third-party cloud service environment.
This is a process which has been seriously neglected.
The workflow for issuing drawings generally looks like this:
The Two Major Risks in your Issuing Workflow
There are two major issues here. Firstly, between producing your drawings, and the client actually receiving them, there’s a major black hole of information.
You’ve heard it all before: “I didn’t receive that!”.
A party can dispute that the wrong versions or drawings were sent, were sent late or were never received at all. You know this isn’t true, but you have no record to prove it. And this can mean disaster in a legal dispute.
The second major issue is the risk of errors in the transmittal record itself and the documents being issued. Creating your transmittal document is a very complex, manual and error-prone procedure if you don’t have scripts set up to generate its creation.
There are lots of fields that need filling, and this means even more data entry and errors for you. You must maintain all the issue numbers, dates and all other information manually – and hope that it’s all up to date and correct.
You can also send the wrong version of documents, or the wrong documents altogether.
If you make a mistake here not only will it be embarrassing for you and your company, but it could cause problems down the line if you find yourself in a dispute.
Transforming Issuing & Transmittals into a Rock-Solid Process
12d Synergy’s Issuing and Publishing bridges this blackspot of information, making the process highly controlled and rock-solid with complete accountability and traceability.
Your data is kept safe on the server and is securely downloaded straight from a private download link on your web-browser.
The simplicity is brilliant compared with having to transfer via a third-party such as DropBox, and have your data on an unknown overseas server.
12d Synergy tracks the full process, logging when the link was sent out, when they received it, who has downloaded what and when. You can also include a password and expiry date on the issued files.
The downloads page is fully customisable in 12d Synergy. You can add your company logo and your own headers.
In addition, all the information in your transmittals – for example, recipient, authoriser, version number, files included – are all automatically populated from attributes within 12d Synergy; further saving time and eliminating potential for embarrassing errors.
12d Synergy ensures that you’re always sending the right versions of all documents, as well as providing quick central access to them.
You can also centrally file all email correspondence with the client to the job in 12d Synergy so no emails are lost in users’ mailboxes.
Eliminating Version Duplicates and Rework
The third problem with using Sheet Set Manager is that it doesn’t protect you from version duplicates and rework. These issues are inevitable when collaborating with other drafters in a risky ‘free-for-all’ Windows Explorer environment.
12d Synergy’s Document Management system provides full version control for all file types with our rock-solid centralised check-in check-out environment.
This ensures that you’re always working on the latest version of the file, and prevents two drafters from making edits to the same drawing at the same time.
12d Synergy also gives version control to your DST file. It records a full history of all edits made, and who did them. This allows you to rollback to an earlier version of a file at the click of a button rather than having to involve IT and recover data from long-lost backups – a major time-saver.
12d Synergy’s Sheet Set Manager Integration
To help you work seamlessly between Sheet Set Manager and 12d Synergy, we’ve developed a plugin and toolbar for Sheet Set Manager. You can watch the video below to learn how it works.
If you’d like to learn more about all of 12d Synergy’s other CAD, email and document management features, book a free personalised demo of 12d Synergy.