Senior Drafter Fran Golding describes how to link spreadsheet data in an AutoCAD file.
"If you've never tried to link spreadsheets into AutoCAD, you will be surprised by how easy it is. As with everything, there are limitations, but the functionality of the whole exercise far outweighs them. I use linked spreadsheets in civil drafting, but once you master it, you will find there are many uses — including drawing index, setout tables (which can be imported directly from either MX or 12D), and drainage tables, just to name a few.
"The first step of the process is to set up your Excel spreadsheet. Each Excel cell, rows and columns, including outlines, should mirror how you want it to look in AutoCAD. The second step is copying the required cells to the Windows clipboard.
"The third step is pasting into AutoCAD. (There are limitations to how much information can be copied and pasted successfully; if you find that not all your information comes across, you may need to perform the process more than once.) The sequence in which you paste the information is the key to whether your spreadsheet is linked or not. You can paste your information into either modelspace or layout. From the Edit menu, choose Paste Special, then Paste Link. Your copied cells will appear so you can place them where you desire, and resize them using the grip points. If you require a specific text size, you can right-click over the OLE object and choose the text height. Once you link a certain number of cells, you can update or amend the information inside those cells in Excel.
"The functionality of linking spreadsheets can now be seen. The drawing number column in your spreadsheet can be populated. Once you save the spreadsheet, the linked cells will be updated in your drawing.
"Once cells are copied, the only way to add new cells is to re-copy and re-link. If cells are subtracted in Excel, they will show as blank areas on your drawing. These limitations can be worked around easily; the usability is only limited by your imagination."
Notes from Cadalyst Tip Patrol: This is a good, thorough explanation of linking Excel spreadsheet data into AutoCAD. The link is limited in that it will only update the cells that were originally copied into AutoCAD. If the data in the spreadsheet changes, the AutoCAD file will be updated. But if you change the format of the spreadsheet (e.g., remove or add a cell, column, or row), the AutoCAD file can't handle it — you will have to delete the link and re-paste the spreadsheet. It is likely that that will not be an issue. Typically what you want is for the data in your drawing to match the data in your spreadsheet.