Data Tables in AutoCAD

Topics covered in this Lesson:

Creating Tables in AutoCAD

Tables are an AutoCAD object that is can be created and customized by the user. Tables can be used for parts lists, revision history and any time you need to organize text and data. If you have used a spreadsheet before, you are already familiar with tables.

Table TABLE Distance Icon Annotation > Tables... Creates and inserts a new table.

Before starting this tutorial, open a drawing that has three text styles or start a new drawing and define them as shown in Tutorial 2-6. We'll need one style each for Title, Header and Data (name your text styles for easier reference later).

Start the command TABLE and you will see this dialog box:

Insert table Dialog Box

The labels look pretty straightforward - you can define the number of rows, columns, row height, column width and press OK. could press on the button shown in red above to open up the Table Style dialog box.

Create New Table in AutoCAD

This allows you to create your own table style - sorry, just had to state the obvious. Press the "New..." button and give your new style a name and press "Continue".

Table Style

Here, you can define the parameters (color, text height, borders, etc.) in your new custom table style. We're not going to delve very deep into this as it is something you can explore on your own. the concepts are quite easy to follow along.

First look at the menu shown above in red (1) and allows you select a section of the table: Data, Header or Title - and begin formatting that area.

The second section to look at is the tabs for General, Text and Border.

To fully format a table, you would potentially change all three tabs for all three sections. Make the following changes:

General > Alignment Middle Left Aligns all data text to the left of the cell.
Text > Text Style Use your lightest text Make sure the text is easy to read, there could be a lot of it.
Borders > Lineweight 0.30mm We'll give this a more visible border.
General > Fill Color Yellow Provides a background color to the header text.
Text > Text Style Use your lightest text Use your medium weight text.
Borders > Lineweight 0.40mm We'll give this a thicker border than the one for the data.
General > Fill Color Yellow Provides a background color to the title text.
Text > Text Style Use your heaviest weight text This text style should stand out from the rest.
Borders > Lineweight 0.40mm We'll give this a thicker border than the one for the data.

This is just a demonstration of how to style your table, and when you have a style that you like, you can save it as part of your template file. Having a consistent look throughout your drawings helps the people viewing your drawing and gives the drawing a more professional appearance.

When you are done formatting, press OK to close the dialog box and you will see your new style added to the list on the left in the Table Style dialog box (which you can now close).

If you want to see how your table looks, you can press OK in the Insert Table dialog box - just be sure that "Start from an empty table" is selected.

Insert table, insert options, Start from empty table, OK

So now that you have defined your table style, you can insert one into the drawing and enter data using the Mtext editor and tabbing through the cells. Anyone who has used a simple spreadsheet will be able to use this. One major drawback is that there is no formula function in the table.

Formatted table in AutoCAD

You can always go back and edit your table style at any time.

Once the table is in the drawing, you can double-click in any cell to edit it or right click (below) it for more options:

Right-clicking a table in AutoCAD 2007

What once used to be a very tedious task in AutoCAD has become easy with this new tool. You also have the ability to copy styles from one table to another to add consistency to your drawing. Practice creating a table or two.

In case you missed it, you can also extract your data from attributes to create a table that is dynamically linked to your drawing's blocks. This tutorial is in Lesson 2-4.

Extra Practice: Use this drawing (which contains blocks with attributes) and create a new table style and extract the data from the blocks as shown Lesson 2-4 and create a new table.

Video: Formatting Tables in AutoCAD

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