Constantin Stoilov sends us a spreadsheet that can help speed up shape drawing in AutoCAD. Constantin uses it to draw cross sections of steel profiles such as HEA, HEB, and IPE.
"Attached is an Excel table. In its rows are the different profiles. In its columns are the profile's dimensions. In the last column, an AutoCAD command is generated. To use it, simply right-click in the AutoCAD command cell and 'copy' the contents. Then right-click and paste the command from the Excel spreadsheet onto the Command line in AutoCAD to draw the shape. The command you pasted will draw the shape with its real dimensions (mm), and the mass center is in the current coordinate system origin.
"To update the Excel table with new profiles, copy a row and modify it with the dimension values of the new shape. The command will be generated because of the formulas that are set."
Notes from Cadalyst Tip Patrol: This is a very good use of Excel to help create shapes in AutoCAD. The spreadsheet provided is limited to metric-based shapes, and does not include all possible shapes. The AutoCAD command cell uses formulas in Excel to read the dimensional values entered in the other cells of its row. It generates a script that will draw the desired shape as a polyline, to scale, with the center of the shape located at the origin of your file. Once drawn, you can copy the polygon and use it over and over again. Once the AutoCAD command script has been generated, it wouldn't take much effort to store it in a tool palette, pull-down menu, toolbar, or ribbon panel. If you add the code to your user interface, you won't have to store blocks.