An Excel CAD (xlCAD)

Excel has enough capabilities to be used as a poor man’s CAD application, not recalling to Windows API to do it (at least not the ones used to draw), which IMHO would be the best way to accomplish full CAD features but could take longer to get working as a whole. Full DXF, SHP, KML,… I/O operations can be done inside the Excel CAD.

A good first reference of what can be done with Excel is this guide.

First, we need to know which are the shapes that we will deal with. So lets draw them in an Excel Worksheet to take a look in their geometry. To do so, we use a VBA macro to generate them, from information in Mso online help.

If we paste the Mso help table in a Worksheet, order them by msoAutoShapeType, we can therun the following VBA code to make the shapes appear (also will show the number of adjustments it has, and the numeration of the connecting sites if desired).

[sourcecode language=”vb”]
Public Sub sShapes_Template()
‘https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vba/office-shared-vba/articles/msoautoshapetype-enumeration-office
‘ConnectionSites are generally distributed from 1=90º in counter clockwise order (from 109 to 136 in clockwise order, and 1=0º)
Dim oCell As Excel.Range
Dim oShpGroup As Excel.Shape
Dim oShp As Excel.Shape
Dim oShpCtr As Excel.Shape
Dim oShpConnector As Excel.Shape
‘Dim oAdjustment As Excel.Adjustments
Dim msoAutoshapeTypeValue As Long
Dim sgHeight As Single
Dim sgWidth As Single
Dim sgLeft As Single
Dim sgTop As Single
Dim lgAdjustment As Long
Dim lgConnector As Long

Const TOP_SIDE As Integer = 1
Const LEFT_SIDE As Integer = 2
Const BOTTOM_SIDE As Integer = 3
Const RIGHT_SIDE As Integer = 4

With ActiveSheet
.Rows(“2:185”).RowHeight = 72
For Each oCell In .Columns(1).SpecialCells(xlCellTypeConstants).Cells
If oCell.Row >= 3 Then
msoAutoshapeTypeValue = oCell.Offset(0, 1).Value
sgHeight = oCell.Height – 10
sgWidth = sgHeight

On Error GoTo NextShp
Set oShp = .Shapes.AddShape(Type:=msoAutoshapeTypeValue, _
Left:=oCell.Left + (2 * sgWidth), _
Top:=oCell.Top + 5, _
Width:=sgWidth, _
Height:=sgHeight)
‘Set new Group
Set oShpGroup = oShp
oShpGroup.Name = “#” & msoAutoshapeTypeValue & “_”

With oShp
With .Fill
.ForeColor.RGB = RGB(255, 255, 0)
.Transparency = 0
End With
With .Line
.DashStyle = msoLineSolid
.Transparency = 0
End With
With .TextFrame
With .Characters
.Text = oShp.Adjustments.Count
.Font.Color = 1
‘.Font.Name = “Garamond”
‘.Font.size = 12
End With
.HorizontalAlignment = xlHAlignCenter
.VerticalAlignment = xlVAlignCenter
End With
End With
‘oCell.Offset(0, 2).Value = oShp.Adjustments.Count
‘If oShp.Adjustments.Count > 0 Then
‘ For lgAdjustment = 1 To oShp.Adjustments.Count
‘ ‘Add adjustment counter
‘ Set oShpConnector = .Shapes.AddShape(msoShapeRectangle, _
‘ oShp.Left, _
‘ oShp.Top + oShp.Heigth, _
‘ oShp.Left + oShp.Width, _
‘ oShp.Top)
‘ Next lgAdjustment
‘End If

oShp.Name = “#” & msoAutoshapeTypeValue

If oShp.ConnectionSiteCount > 0 Then
lgConnector = 0
For lgConnector = 1 To oShp.ConnectionSiteCount
‘Add connector Pointers
Set oShpConnector = .Shapes.AddConnector(msoConnectorCurve, _
0, _
0, _
0, _
0)
With oShpConnector
With .ConnectorFormat
.BeginConnect ConnectedShape:=oShp, ConnectionSite:=lgConnector
.EndConnect ConnectedShape:=oShp, ConnectionSite:=lgConnector
End With
sgLeft = .Left – 10
sgTop = .Top – 10
.Delete
End With

‘Add connector markers
Set oShpCtr = .Shapes.AddShape(Type:=msoShapeOval, _
Left:=sgLeft, _
Top:=sgTop, _
Width:=20, _
Height:=20)
With oShpCtr
.Name = “#” & msoAutoshapeTypeValue & “_” & lgConnector
With .Fill
.Transparency = 1
End With
With .Line
.DashStyle = msoLineDashDotDot
.Transparency = 1
End With

If .Connector Or .Type = msoLine Then
.Line.EndArrowheadStyle = msoArrowheadTriangle

‘ rough approximation of the Excel 2007 preset line style #17
.Line.Weight = 2
.Line.ForeColor.RGB = RGB(192, 80, 77)
.Shadow.Type = msoShadow6
.Shadow.IncrementOffsetX -4.5
.Shadow.IncrementOffsetY -4.5
.Shadow.ForeColor.RGB = RGB(192, 192, 192)
.Shadow.Transparency = 0.5
.Visible = msoTrue
End If
With .TextFrame
With .Characters
.Text = lgConnector
.Font.Color = 1
‘.Font.Name = “Garamond”
‘.Font.size = 12
End With
.HorizontalAlignment = xlHAlignCenter
.VerticalAlignment = xlVAlignCenter
End With
End With

‘Add Connector to Group
‘Set oShpGroup = .Shapes.Range(Array(oShpGroup.Name, oShpCtr.Name)).Group
Next lgConnector
End If
End If
NextShp:
On Error GoTo 0
Next oCell
End With
End Sub

Once we have the basic shapes, we can focus in what can be done to resemble a CAD application. Mostly, we need a Command entry area, a Command History area, a drawing area, some menus,… and little more. Lets face how to achive all this functionality.

CAD Paper space

So, get a new blank worksheet, add an ActiveX label control (named lbXYZ for tracking the cursor position), two ActiveX textbox controls (named txtCommand and txtHistory), and throw the following code into its coding section (ALT+F11):

[sourcecode language=”vb”]

Option Explicit
Private Const g_Base As Long = 0
‘!!!!!!!!!!

Public Type tPoint
X As Double
Y As Double
Z As Double
End Type

Public Type tPoly ‘also for 3D face?…
‘Id As Long ‘4 bytes

‘Properties
Layer As Long ‘4 bytes
Group As Long ‘4 bytes
Thickness As Single ‘4 bytes
Color As Long ‘4 bytes
Interior As Long ‘4 bytes

‘Geometry
TypePol As Long ‘8 bytes
Lft As Double ‘8 bytes
Top As Double ‘8 bytes
Height As Double ‘8 bytes
Width As Double ‘8 bytes
Rotation As Double ‘8 bytes
Closed As Boolean

Pointº As Integer ‘2 bytes
Point() As tPoint ‘Pointº * 24 bytes
Bulge() As Double ‘Pointº * 8 bytes
Offset As Double ‘8 bytes

‘Comments
Commentº As Long ‘4 bytes
Comment As String ‘Commentº bytes
End Type

Public Type tSpline
‘Id As Long ‘4 bytes

‘Properties
Layer As Long ‘4 bytes
Group As Long ‘4 bytes
Thickness As Single ‘4 bytes
Color As Long ‘4 bytes
Interior As Long ‘4 bytes

‘Geometry
‘TypePol As Long ‘8 bytes
Lft As Double ‘8 bytes
Top As Double ‘8 bytes
Height As Double ‘8 bytes
Width As Double ‘8 bytes
Rotation As Double ‘8 bytes
Closed As Boolean

Pointº As Integer ‘2 bytes
Point() As tPoint ‘Pointº * 24 bytes
Bulge() As Double ‘Pointº * 8 bytes
Offset As Double ‘8 bytes

‘Comments
Commentº As Long ‘4 bytes
Comment As String ‘Commentº bytes
End Type

Public Type tArc
‘Id As Long ‘4 bytes

‘Properties
Layer As Long ‘4 bytes
Group As Long ‘4 bytes
Thickness As Single ‘4 bytes
Color As Long ‘4 bytes
Interior As Long ‘4 bytes

‘Geometry
Lft As Double ‘8 bytes
Top As Double ‘8 bytes
Height As Double ‘8 bytes
Width As Double ‘8 bytes
SemiaxisA As Double ‘8 bytes ‘clockwise “> 0”, “< 0″ counter-clockwise
SemiaxisB As Double ‘8 bytes
StartAngle As Double ‘8 bytes
EndAngle As Double ‘8 bytes
Rotation As Double ‘8 bytes
Offset As Double ‘8 bytes
Closed As Boolean

‘Comments
Commentº As Long ‘4 bytes
Comment As String ‘Commentº bytes
End Type

‘Public Type tMesh
‘ ‘Id As Long ‘4 bytes

‘ ‘Properties
‘ Layer As Long ‘4 bytes
‘ Group As Long ‘4 bytes
‘ Thickness As Single ‘4 bytes
‘ Color As Long ‘4 bytes
‘ Interior As Long ‘4 bytes

‘ ‘Geometry
‘ ‘TypePol As Long ‘8 bytes
‘ Lft As Double ‘8 bytes
‘ Top As Double ‘8 bytes
‘ Height As Double ‘8 bytes
‘ Width As Double ‘8 bytes
‘ Rotation As Double ‘8 bytes

‘ PointAº As Integer ‘2 bytes
‘ SideA() As tPoint ‘PointAº * 24 bytes
‘ BulgeA() As Double ‘PointAº * 8 bytes

‘ PointBº As Integer ‘2 bytes
‘ SideB() As tPoint ‘PointBº * 24 bytes
‘ BulgeB() As Double ‘PointBº * 8 bytes

‘ ‘Comments
‘ Commentº As Long ‘4 bytes
‘ Comment As String ‘Commentº bytes
‘End Type

Public Type tText
‘Id As Long ‘4 bytes

‘Properties
Layer As Long ‘4 bytes
Group As Long ‘4 bytes
Thickness As Single ‘4 bytes
Color As Long ‘4 bytes
Interior As Long ‘4 bytes

‘Geometry
Lft As Double ‘8 bytes
Top As Double ‘8 bytes
Height As Double ‘8 bytes
Width As Double ‘8 bytes
Ground As tPoly ‘*** bytes
Rotation As Double ‘8 bytes
Autofit As Boolean ‘8 bytes
AlignmentH As Long ‘4 bytes
AlignmentV As Long ‘4 bytes
size As Single ‘4 bytes

‘Text
Textº As Long ‘4 bytes
Text As String ‘Textº bytes

‘Comments
Commentº As Long ‘4 bytes
Comment As String ‘Commentº bytes
End Type

Public Type tCAD
Viewportº As Long
Viewport() As tPoly

Layerº As Long
Layer() As String * 256

Polyº As Long
Poly() As tPoly

Splineº As Long
Spline() As tSpline

Arcº As Long
Arc() As tArc

Textº As Long
Text() As tText
End Type

‘VarType(varName) vbVarType
‘Value Constant
‘ 0 vbEmpty
‘ 1 vbNull
‘ 10 vbError
‘ 8192 vbArray

‘ 17 vbByte
‘ 11 vbBoolean
‘ 2 vbInteger
‘ 3 vbLong
‘ 20 vbLongLong ‘(defined only on implementations that support a LongLong value type)
‘ 4 vbSingle
‘ 5 vbDouble
‘ 8 vbString

‘ 7 vbDate
‘ 14 vbDecimal
‘ 6 vbCurrency
‘ 13 vbDataObject
‘ 36 vbUserDefinedType
‘ 9 vbObject
‘ 12 vbVariant

Private aCmd() As String
Private aShrt() As String
Private PtrCmd() As Long
Private bEnableEvents As Boolean

‘– LISTENERS ——————-
Public bClickListener As Boolean
Public bSelectListener As Boolean
Public bTextListener As Boolean
Public oPointListener As tPoint
Public strShpListener As String

Public lgListen As Long ‘Counter for number of clicks it has to listen to before TRUE (zero for undefined)
Public msoAutoshapeTypeValue As Long ‘Autoshape type to draw
‘——————————–

‘– MOUSE ———————–
Public LastX As Long
Public LastY As Long
Public LastZ As Long
‘——————————–
Private Sub txtCommand_DblClick(ByVal Cancel As MSForms.ReturnBoolean)
‘ txtComman.Select
End Sub
‘Set for txtHistory and txtCommand:
‘ Multiline = True
‘ SelectionHide = False
‘ Scrollbars
Private Sub txtCommand_KeyDown(ByVal KeyCode As MSForms.ReturnInteger, ByVal Shift As Integer)
If KeyCode = 13 Then
With txtHistory
.Value = .Value & vbNewLine & txtCommand.Value
‘txtHistory. autoscroll to last line
‘In VB6: .SelectionStart = .Text.length
‘In VB6: .ScrollToCaret()
lgLen = lgLen + Len(txtCommand.Value)
.SelStart = lgLen ‘Len(.Value)
End With
txtCommand.Value = vbNullString ‘Clear content
ElseIf KeyCode = 32 Then
With txtCommand
‘Look for command if no spaces before:
If .Value = vbNullString Then
‘Repeat last command
.Value = LastCmd & VBA.Chr(32)
ElseIf VBA.InStrRev(.Value, VBA.Chr(32), Len(.Value) – 1) = 0 Then
LastCmd = VBA.Trim$(.Value)
‘Run associated command function
‘Application.Run(“fcmd_” & LastCmd)
End If
End With
End If
End Sub
Private Sub Worksheet_Activate()
bNoFollow = True
‘Do
‘ Me.lbXYZ.Caption = “X=” & MouseX & “;” & “Y = ” & MouseY ‘ & “;” & “Z = ” & MouseZ
‘ DoEvents
‘Loop While bNoFollow
End Sub
Private Sub Worksheet_Deactivate()
bNoFollow = False
End Sub
Private Sub Worksheet_BeforeDoubleClick(ByVal Target As Range, Cancel As Boolean)
‘Select near entities…
End Sub
Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
Me.lbXYZ.Caption = “X=” & MouseX & “;” & “Y = ” & MouseY ‘ & “;” & “Z = ” & MouseZ
LastCell = ActiveCell.Address(True, True)
Me.txtCommand.Activate
End Sub
Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range)
Me.lbXYZ.Caption = “X=” & MouseX & “;” & “Y = ” & MouseY ‘ & “;” & “Z = ” & MouseZ
End Sub

As you can be see, there are a short number of public variables used all along the worksheet and the userforms, so information can be passed from one procedure to another and to set conditions to roll on the alternatives.

Also, it is insinued that we need an object structure to store all the drawing information (Lines, Polylines, Arcs, Splines, Texts, Meshes,…) so I/O operations can be performed. Export/Import format can be anyone, KML, DXF,… but it has to be coded as an apart.

Entering COMMANDS

Sooner than later we’ll have to deal on a method that lets us enter CAD commands. They have to be introduced on txtCommand ActiveX control, waiting for commands to be entered through keyboard, but first we must gain focus for it, avoiding Excel ActiveCell’s default focus. This only can be done via code.

A not comprehensive list of CAD commands can be obtained from http://academics.triton.edu/faculty/fheitzman/commands.html, and also the complete list of command shortcuts aliases: https://www.autodesk.com/shortcuts/autocad.

A table (year 2018) of 406 commands is shown here:

Command Shortcut Parameters Description
3D Creates three-dimensional polygon mesh objects
3DARRAY Creates a three-dimensional array
3DCLIP Invokes the interactive 3D view and opens the Adjust Clipping Planes window
3DCORBIT Invokes the interactive 3D view and enables you to set the objects in the 3D view into continuous motion
3DDISTANCE Invokes the interactive 3D view and makes objects appear closer or farther away
3DFACE Creates a three-dimensional face
3DMESH Creates a free-form polygon mesh
3DORBIT ORBIT Rotates the view in 3D space, but constrained to horizontal and vertical orbit only
3DPAN Invokes the interactive 3D view and enables you to drag the view horizontally and vertically
3DPOLY Creates a polyline with straight line segments using the CONTINUOUS linetype in three-dimensional space
3DSIN Imports a 3D Studio (3DS) file
3DSOUT Exports to a 3D Studio (3DS) file
3DSWIVEL Invokes the interactive 3D view and simulates the effect of turning the camera
3DZOOM Invokes the interactive 3D view so you can zoom in and out on the view
ABOUT Displays information about AutoCAD
ACISIN Imports an ACIS file
ACISOUT Exports AutoCAD solid objects to an ACIS file
ACTRECORD ARR Starts the Action Recorder
ACTSTOP ARS Stops the Action Recorder and provides the option of saving the recorded actions to an action macro file
ACTUSERINPUT ARU Pauses for user input in an action macro
ACTUSERMESSAGE ARM Inserts a user message into an action macro
ADCCLOSE Closes AutoCAD DesignCenter
ADCENTER ADC Manages and inserts content such as blocks, xrefs, and hatch patterns
ADCNAVIGATE Directs the Desktop in AutoCAD DesignCenter to the file name, directory location, or network path you specify
ALIGN AL Aligns objects with other objects in 2D and 3D
AMECONVERT Converts AME solid models to AutoCAD solid objects
ANALYSISZEBRA ZEBRA Projects stripes onto a 3D model to analyze surface continuity.
APERTURE Controls the size of the object snap target box
APPLOAD AP Load Application
ARC A Creates an arc
AREA AA Calculates the area and perimeter of objects or of defined areas
ARRAY AR Creates multiple copies of objects in a pattern
ARX Loads, unloads, and provides information about ObjectARX applications
ATTDEF ATT Redefines a block and updates associated attributes
ATTDISP Globally controls attribute visibility
ATTEDIT ATE Changes attribute information in a block
ATTEXT Extracts attribute data
ATTIPEDIT ATI Changes the textual content of an attribute within a block
ATTREDEF Redefines a block and updates associated attributes
AUDIT Evaluates the integrity of a drawing
BACKGROUND Sets up the background for your scene
BASE Sets the insertion base point for the current drawing
BCLOSE BC Closes the Block Editor
BEDIT BE Opens the block definition in the Block Editor
BHATCH Fills an enclosed area or selected objects with a hatch pattern
BLIPMODE Controls the display of marker blips
BLOCK B Creates a block definition from selected objects
BLOCKICON Generates preview images for blocks created with Release 14 or earlier
BMPOUT Saves selected objects to a file in device-independent bitmap format
BOUNDARY BO Creates a region or a polyline from an enclosed area
BOX Creates a three-dimensional solid box
BPARAMETER PARAM Adds a parameter with grips to a dynamic block definition
BREAK BR Breaks the selected object between two points
BROWSER Launches the default Web browser defined in your system’s registry
BSAVE BS Saves the current block definition
BVSTATE BVS Creates, sets, or deletes a visibility state in a dynamic block
CAL Evaluates mathematical and geometric expressions
CAMERA CAM Sets a camera and target location to create and save a 3D perspective view of objects
CHAMFER CHA Bevels the edges of objects
CHANGE Changes the properties of existing objects
CHECKSTANDARDS CHK Checks the current drawing for standards violations
CHPROP Changes the color, layer, linetype, linetype scale factor, lineweight, thickness, and plot style of an object
CIRCLE C Creates a circle
CLOSE Closes the current drawing
COLOR COL Sets the color for new objects
COMMANDLINE CLI Displays the Command Line window
COMPILE Compiles shape files and PostScript font files
CONE Creates a three-dimensional solid cone
CONSTRAINTBAR CBAR A toolbar-like UI element that displays the available geometric constraints on an object
CONVERT Optimizes 2D polylines and associative hatches created in AutoCAD Release 13 or earlier
COPY CO Copies objects a specified distance in a specified direction
COPYBASE Copies objects with a specified base point
COPYCLIP Copies objects to the Clipboard
COPYHIST Copies the text in the command line history to the Clipboard
COPYLINK Copies the current view to the Clipboard for linking to other OLE applications
CTABLESTYLE CT Sets the name of the current table style
CUTCLIP Copies objects to the Clipboard and erases the objects from the drawing
CYLINDER CYL Creates a 3D solid cylinder
DATAEXTRACTION DX Extracts drawing data and merges data from an external source to a data extraction table or external file
DATALINK DL The Data Link dialog box is displayed
DATALINKUPDATE DLU Updates data to or from an established external data link
DBCCLOSE Closes the dbConnect Manager
DBCONNECT DBC Provides an interface to external database tables
DBLIST Lists database information for each object in the drawing
DDEDIT ED Edits single-line text, dimension text, attribute definitions, and feature control frames
DDPTYPE Specifies the display mode and size of point objects
DDVPOINT VP Sets the 3D viewing direction.
DELAY Provides a timed pause within a script
DIM AND DIM1 Accesses Dimensioning mode
DIMALIGNED Creates an aligned linear dimension
DIMANGULAR DAN Creates an angular dimension
DIMARC DAR Creates an arc length dimension
DIMBASELINE DBA Creates a linear, angular, or ordinate dimension from the baseline of the previous or selected dimension
DIMCENTER DCE Creates the center mark or the centerlines of circles and arcs
DIMCONSTRAINT DCON Applies dimensional constraints to selected objects or points on objects
DIMCONTINUE DCO Creates a dimension that starts from an extension line of a previously created dimension
DIMDIAMETER DDI Creates a diameter dimension for a circle or an arc
DIMDISASSOCIATE DDA Removes associativity from selected dimensions
DIMEDIT DED Edits dimension text and extension lines
DIMJOGGED DJO Creates jogged dimensions for circles and arcs
JOG Creates jogged dimensions for circles and arcs
DIMJOGLINE DJL Adds or removes a jog line on a linear or aligned dimension
DIMLINEAR Creates linear dimensions
DIMORDINATE DOR Creates ordinate dimensions
DIMOVERRIDE DOV Controls overrides of system variables used in selected dimensions
DIMRADIUS DRA Creates a radius dimension for a circle or an arc
DIMREASSOCIATE DRE Associates or re-associates selected dimensions to objects or points on objects
DIMSTYLE D Creates and modifies dimension styles
DIMTEDIT Moves and rotates dimension text
DIST DI Measures the distance and angle between two points
DIVIDE DIV Creates evenly spaced point objects or blocks along the length or perimeter of an object
DONUT DO Creates a filled circle or a wide ring
DRAGMODE Controls the way AutoCAD displays dragged objects
DRAWINGRECOVERY DRM Displays a list of drawing files that can be recovered after a program or system failure
DRAWORDER DR Changes the draw order of images and other objects
DSETTINGS DS Sets grid and snap, polar and object snap tracking, object snap modes, Dynamic Input, and Quick Properties
DSVIEWER Opens the Aerial View window
DVIEW DV Defines parallel projection or perspective views by using a camera and target
DWGPROPS Sets and displays the properties of the current drawing
DXBIN Imports specially coded binary files
EDGE Changes the visibility of three-dimensional face edges
EDGESURF Creates a three-dimensional polygon mesh
ELEV Sets elevation and extrusion thickness properties of new objects
ELLIPSE EL Creates an ellipse or an elliptical arc
ERASE E Removes objects from a drawing
ETRANSMIT ZIP Creates a Self-Extracting or Zipped Transmittal Package.
EXPLODE X Breaks a compound object into its component objects.
EXPORT EXP Saves the objects in a drawing to a different file format
EXPORTPDF EPDF Exports drawing to PDF
EXPRESSTOOLS Activates the installed AutoCAD Express Tools if currently unavailable
EXTEND EX Extends objects to meet the edges of other objects
EXTERNALREFERENCES ER Opens the External References palette
EXTRUDE EXT Extends the dimensions of a 2D object or 3D face into 3D space
FILL Controls the filling of multilines, traces, solids, all hatches, and wide polylines
FILLET F Rounds and fillets the edges of objects
FILTER FI Creates a list of requirements that an object must meet to be included in a selection set
FIND Finds, replaces, selects, or zooms to specified text
FLATSHOT FSHOT Creates a 2D representation of all 3D objects based on the current view
FOG Provides visual cues for the apparent distance of objects
FSMODE FS Creates a selection set of all objects that touch the selected object
GEOCONSTRAINT GCON Applies or persists geometric relationships between objects or points on objects
GEOGRAPHICLOCATION GEO Specifies the geographic location information for a drawing file
NORTH Specifies the geographic location information for a drawing file
GRADIENT GD Fills an enclosed area or selected objects with a gradient fill
GRAPHSCR Switches from the text window to the drawing area
GRID Displays a dot grid in the current viewport
GROUP G Creates and manages saved sets of objects called groups
BH Fills an enclosed area or selected objects with a hatch pattern, solid fill, or gradient fill
HATCH H Fills an enclosed area or selected objects with a hatch pattern, solid fill, or gradient fill
HATCHEDIT HE Modifies an existing hatch or fill
HELP (F1) Displays online help
HIDE HI Regenerates a 3D wireframe model with hidden lines suppressed
HIDEPALETTES POFF Hides currently displayed palettes (including the command line)
HYPERLINK Attaches a hyperlink to a graphical object or modifies an existing hyperlink
HYPERLINKOPTIONS Controls the visibility of the hyperlink cursor and the display of hyperlink tooltips
ID ID Displays the UCS coordinate values of a specified location
IMAGE IM Displays the External References palette
IMAGEADJUST IAD Controls the image display of the brightness, contrast, and fade values of images
IMAGEATTACH IAT Inserts a reference to an image file
IMAGECLIP ICL Crops the display of a selected image to a specified boundary
IMAGEFRAME Controls whether AutoCAD displays the image frame or hides it from view
IMAGEQUALITY Controls the display quality of images
IMPORT IMP Imports files of different formats into the current drawing
INSERT I Inserts a block or drawing into the current drawing
INSERTOBJ IO Inserts a linked or embedded object
INTERFERE INF Creates a temporary 3D solid from the interferences between two sets of selected 3D solids
INTERSECT IN Creates a 3D solid, surface, or 2D region from overlapping solids, surfaces, or regions
ISOPLANE Specifies the current isometric plane
JOIN J Joins similar objects to form a single, unbroken object
LAYER LA Manages layers and layer properties
LAYERSTATE LAS Saves, restores, and manages named layer states
LAYOUT LO Creates and modifies drawing layout tabs
LAYOUTWIZARD Starts the Layout wizard, in which you can designate page and plot settings for a new layout
LEADER Creates a line that connects annotation to a feature
LENGTHEN LEN Changes the length of objects and the included angle of arcs
LIGHT Manages lights and lighting effects
LIMITS Sets and controls the drawing boundaries and grid display
LINE L Creates straight line segments
LINETYPE LT Loads, sets, and modifies linetypes
LIST LI Displays property data for selected objects
LOAD Makes shapes available for use by the SHAPE command
LOGFILEOFF Closes the log file opened by LOGFILEON
LOGFILEON Writes the text window contents to a file
LSEDIT Edits a landscape object
LSLIB Maintains libraries of landscape objects
LSNEW Adds realistic landscape items, such as trees and bushes, to your drawings
LTSCALE LTS Changes the scale factor of linetypes for all objects in a drawing
LWEIGHT LW Sets the current lineweight, lineweight display options, and lineweight units
MARKUP MSM Opens the Markup Set Manager
MASSPROP Calculates and displays the mass properties of regions or solids
MATCHPROP MA Applies the properties of a selected object to other objects
MATLIB Imports and exports materials to and from a library of materials
MEASURE ME Joins similar objects to form a single, unbroken object
MEASUREGEOM MEA Measures the distance, radius, angle, area, and volume of selected objects or sequence of points
MENU Loads a menu file
MENULOAD Loads partial menu files
MENUUNLOAD Unloads partial menu files
MESHSMOOTHLESS LESS Decreases the level of smoothness for mesh objects by one level
MESHSMOOTHMORE MORE Increases the level of smoothness for mesh objects by one level
MESHSPLIT SPLIT Splits a mesh face into two faces
MINSERT Inserts multiple instances of a block in a rectangular array
MIRROR MI Creates a mirrored copy of selected objects
MIRROR3D Creates a mirror image of objects about a plane
MLEADER MLD Creates a multileader object
MLEADERALIGN MLA Aligns and spaces selected multileader objects
MLEADERCOLLECT MLC Organizes selected multileaders that contain blocks into rows or columns, and displays the result with a single leader
MLEADEREDIT MLE Adds leader lines to, or removes leader lines from, a multileader object
MLEADERSTYLE MLS Creates and modifies multileader styles
MLEDIT Edits multiple parallel lines
MLINE ML Creates multiple parallel lines
MLSTYLE Defines a style for multiple parallel lines
MODEL Switches from a layout tab to the Model tab and makes it current
MOVE M Moves objects a specified distance in a specified direction
MSLIDE Creates a slide file of the current viewport in model space, or of all viewports in paper space
MSPACE MS Switches from paper space to a model space viewport
MTEXT MT Creates a multiline text object
T Creates a multiline text object
MULTIPLE Repeats the next command until canceled
MVIEW MV Creates and controls layout viewports
MVSETUP Sets up the specifications of a drawing
NAVSWHEEL WHEEL Displays a wheel that contains a collection of view navigation tools.
NAVVCUBE CUBE Controls the visibility and display properties of the ViewCube tool
NEW Creates a new drawing file
NEWSHOT NSHOT Creates a named view with motion that is played back when viewed with ShowMotion
NEWVIEW NVIEW Creates a named view with no motion
OFFSET O Creates concentric circles, parallel lines, and parallel curves
OLELINKS Updates, changes, and cancels existing OLE links
OLESCALE Displays the OLE Properties dialog box
OOPS Restores erased objects
OPEN Opens an existing drawing file
OPTIONS OP Customizes the program settings
ORTHO Constrains cursor movement
OSNAP OS Sets running object snap modes
PAGESETUP Specifies the layout page, plotting device, paper size, and settings for each new layout
PAN P Adds a parameter with grips to a dynamic block definition
PARAMETERS PAR Controls the associative parameters used in the drawing
PARTIALOAD Loads additional geometry into a partially opened drawing
PARTIALOPEN Loads geometry from a selected view or layer into a drawing
PASTEBLOCK Pastes a copied block into a new drawing
PASTECLIP Inserts data from the Clipboard
PASTEORIG Pastes a copied object in a new drawing using the coordinates from the original drawing
PASTESPEC PA Pastes objects from the Clipboard into the current drawing and controls the format of the data
PCINWIZARD Displays a wizard to import PCP and PC2 configuration file plot settings into the Model tab or current layout
PEDIT PE Edits polylines and 3D polygon meshes
PFACE Creates a three-dimensional polyface mesh vertex by vertex
PLAN Displays the plan view of a user coordinate system
PLINE PL Creates a 2D polyline
PLOT PRINT Plots a drawing to a plotter, printer, or file
PLOTSTYLE Sets the current plot style for new objects, or the assigned plot style for selected objects
PLOTTERMANAGER Displays the Plotter Manager, where you can launch the Add-a-Plotter wizard and the Plotter Configuration Editor
POINT PO Creates a point object
POINTCLOUDATTACH PCATTACH Inserts an indexed point cloud file into the current drawing
POLYGON POL Creates an equilateral closed polyline
POLYSOLID PSOLID Creates a 3D wall-like polysolid
PREVIEW PRE Displays the drawing as it will be plotted
CH Controls properties of existing objects
MO Controls properties of existing objects
PROPERTIES PR Displays Properties palette
PROPERTIESCLOSE Closes the Properties window
PSDRAG Controls the appearance of a PostScript image as it is dragged into position with PSIN
PSETUPIN Imports a user-defined page setup into a new drawing layout
PSFILL Fills a two-dimensional polyline outline with a PostScript pattern
PSIN Imports a PostScript file
PSOUT Creates an encapsulated PostScript file
PSPACE PS Switches from a model space viewport to paper space
PURGE PU Removes unused items, such as block definitions and layers, from the drawing
PYRAMID PYR Creates a 3D solid pyramid
QDIM Quickly creates a dimension
QLEADER LE Creates a leader and leader annotation
QSAVE QSAVE Saves the current drawing
QSELECT Quickly creates selection sets based on filtering criteria
QTEXT Controls the display and plotting of text and attribute objects
QUICKCALC QC Opens the QuickCalc calculator
QUICKCUI QCUI Displays the Customize User Interface Editor in a collapsed state
QUICKPROPERTIES QP Displays open drawings and layouts in a drawing in preview images
QUIT EXIT Exits the program
QVDRAWING QVD Displays open drawings and layouts in a drawing using preview images
QVDRAWINGCLOSE QVDC Closes preview images of open drawings and layouts in a drawing
QVLAYOUT QVL Displays preview images of model space and layouts in a drawing
QVLAYOUTCLOSE QVLC Closes preview images of model space and layouts in the current drawing
RAY Creates a semi-infinite line
RECOVER Repairs a damaged drawing
RECTANG REC Creates a rectangular polyline
REDEFINE Restores AutoCAD internal commands overridden by UNDEFINE
REDO Reverses the effects of the previous UNDO or U command
REDRAW R Refreshes the display in the current viewport
REDRAWALL RA Refreshes the display in all viewports
REFCLOSE Saves back or discards changes made during in-place editing of a reference (an xref or a block)
REFEDIT Selects a reference for editing
REFSET Adds or removes objects from a working set during in-place editing of a reference (an xref or a block)
REGEN RE Regenerates the entire drawing from the current viewport
REGENALL REA Regenerates the drawing and refreshes all viewports
REGENAUTO Controls automatic regeneration of a drawing
REGION REG Converts an object that encloses an area into a region object
REINIT Reinitializes the digitizer, digitizer input/output port, and program parameters file
RENAME REN Changes the names assigned to items such as layers and dimension styles
RENDER RR Creates a photorealistic or realistically shaded image of a 3D solid or surface model
RENDERCROP RC Renders a specified rectangular area, called a crop window, within a viewport
RENDERPRESETS RP Specifies render presets, reusable rendering parameters, for rendering an image
RENDERWIN RW Displays the Render window without starting a rendering operation
RENDSCR Redisplays the last rendering created with the RENDER command
REPLAY Displays a BMP, TGA, or TIFF image
RESUME Continues an interrupted script
REVOLVE REV Creates a 3D solid or surface by sweeping a 2D object around an axis
REVSURF Creates a revolved surface about a selected axis
RMAT Manages rendering materials
ROTATE RO Rotates objects around a base point
ROTATE3D Moves objects about a three-dimensional axis
RPREF RPR Displays or hides the Advanced Render Settings palette for access to advanced rendering settings
RSCRIPT Creates a script that repeats continuously
RULESURF Creates a ruled surface between two curves
SAVE Saves the drawing under the current file name or a specified name
SAVEAS Saves an unnamed drawing with a file name or renames the current drawing
SAVEIMG Saves a rendered image to a file
SCALE SC Enlarges or reduces selected objects, keeping the proportions of the object the same after scaling
SCALESCRIPT SCR Executes a sequence of commands from a script file
SCENE Manages scenes in model space
SCRIPT Executes a sequence of commands from a script
SECTION SEC Uses the intersection of a plane and solids, surfaces, or mesh to create a region
SECTIONPLANE SPLANE Creates a section object that acts as a cutting plane through 3D objects
SELECT Places selected objects in the Previous selection set
SEQUENCEPLAY SPLAY Plays named views in one category
SETUV Maps materials onto objects
SETVAR SET Lists or changes the values of system variables
SHADEMODE SHA Starts the VSCURRENT command
SHAPE Inserts a shape
SHEETSET SSM Opens the Sheet Set Manager
SHELL Accesses operating system commands
SHOWMAT Lists the material type and attachment method for a selected object
SHOWPALETTES PON Restores the display of hidden palettes
SKETCH Creates a series of freehand line segments
SLICE SL Creates new 3D solids and surfaces by slicing, or dividing, existing objects
SNAP SN Restricts cursor movement to specified intervals
SOLDRAW Generates profiles and sections in viewports created with SOLVIEW
SOLID SO Creates solid-filled triangles and quadrilaterals
SOLIDEDIT Edits faces and edges of 3D solid objects
SOLPROF Creates profile images of three-dimensional solids
SOLVIEW Creates floating viewports using orthographic projection to lay out multi- and sectional view drawings of 3D solid and body objects while in a layout
SPELL SP Checks spelling in a drawing
SPHERE Creates a three-dimensional solid sphere
SPLINE SPL Creates a smooth curve that passes through or near specified points
SPLINEDIT SPE Edits a spline or spline-fit polyline
STANDARDS STA Manages the association of standards files with drawings
STATS Displays rendering statistics
STATUS Displays drawing statistics, modes, and extents
STLOUT Stores a solid in an ASCII or binary file
STRETCH S Stretches objects crossed by a selection window or polygon
STYLE ST Creates, modifies, or specifies text styles
STYLESMANAGER Displays the Plot Style Manager
SUBTRACT SU Combines selected 3D solids, surfaces, or 2D regions by subtraction
SURFOFFSET OFFSETSRF Creates a parallel surface or solid by setting an offset distance from a surface
SURFPATCH PATCH Creates a new surface by fitting a cap over a surface edge that forms a closed loop
SYSWINDOWS Arranges windows
TABLE TB Creates an empty table object
TABLESTYLE TS Creates, modifies, or specifies table styles
TABLET Calibrates, configures, and turns on and off an attached digitizing tablet
TABSURF Creates a tabulated surface from a path curve and a direction vector
TEXT DT Creates a single-line text object
TEXTALIGN TA  Aligns multiple text objects vertically, horizontally, or obliquely
TEXTEDIT TEDIT Edits a dimensional constraint, dimension, or text object
TEXTSCR Opens the AutoCAD text window
THICKNESS TH Sets the default 3D thickness property when creating 2D geometric objects
TILEMODE TI Controls whether paper space can be accessed
TIME Displays the date and time statistics of a drawing
TOLERANCE TOL Creates geometric tolerances contained in a feature control frame
TOOLBAR TO Displays, hides, and customizes toolbars
TOOLPALETTES TP Opens the Tool Palettes window
TORUS TOR Creates a donut-shaped 3D solid
TRACE Creates solid lines
TRANSPARENCY Controls whether background pixels in an image are transparent or opaque
TREESTAT Displays information about the drawing’s current spatial index
TRIM TR Trims objects to meet the edges of other objects
U Reverses the most recent operation
UCS Manages user coordinate systems
UCSICON Controls the visibility and placement of the UCS icon
UCSMAN UC Manages defined user coordinate systems.
UNDEFINE Allows an application-defined command to override an internal AutoCAD command
UNDO Reverses the effect of commands
UNION UNI Unions two solid or two region objects.
UNHIDE Displays objects previously hidden with the ISOLATEOBJECTS or HIDEOBJECTS command.
UNISOLATEOBJECTS UNISOLATE Displays objects previously hidden with the ISOLATEOBJECTS or HIDEOBJECTS command.
UNITS UN Controls coordinate and angle display formats and precision.
VBAIDE Displays the Visual Basic Editor
VBALOAD Loads a global VBA project into the current AutoCAD session
VBAMAN Loads, unloads, saves, creates, embeds, and extracts VBA projects
VBARUN Runs a VBA macro
VBASTMT Executes a VBA statement on the AutoCAD command line
VBAUNLOAD Unloads a global VBA project
VIEW V Saves and restores named views, camera views, layout views, and preset views.
VIEWGO VGO Restores a named view.
VIEWPLAY VPLAY Plays the animation associated to a named view.
VIEWRES Sets the resolution for objects in the current viewport
VISUALSTYLES VSM Creates and modifies visual styles and applies a visual style to a viewport.
VLISP Displays the Visual LISP interactive development environment (IDE)
VPCLIP Clips viewport objects
VPLAYER Sets layer visibility within viewports
VPOINT Sets the viewing direction for a three-dimensional visualization of the drawing
VPORTS Divides the drawing area into multiple tiled or floating viewports
VSCURRENT VS Sets the visual style in the current viewport.
VSLIDE Displays an image slide file in the current viewport
WBLOCK W Writes objects or a block to a new drawing file.
WEDGE WE Creates a 3D solid wedge.
WHOHAS Displays ownership information for opened drawing files
WMFIN Imports a Windows metafile<
WMFOPTS Sets options for WMFIN
WMFOUT Saves objects to a Windows metafile
XATTACH XA Inserts a DWG file as an external reference (xref).
XBIND XB Binds one or more definitions of named objects in an xref to the current drawing.
XCLIP XC Crops the display of a selected external reference or block reference to a specified boundary.
XLINE XL Creates a line of infinite length.
XPLODE Breaks a compound object into its component objects
XREF XR Starts the EXTERNALREFERENCES command.
ZOOM Z Increases or decreases the magnification of the view in the current viewport.

It’s cristal clear that all this commands have to be programmed, as few can be achieved directly via Excel Shape methods. So there is still plenty to do, coding function procedures for the commands, i.e. for 3DFACE command:

[sourcecode language=”vb”]
Public Function fcmdCAD_3DFACE() As Boolean
‘ Creates a three-dimensional face
Dim strRetVal As String
Dim lgRetVal As Long
‘Dim oPolygon() As tPoint
Dim lgPoint As Long
Dim bPoint As Boolean
For lgPoint = 0 To 3
‘Do
‘ strRetVal = VBA.InputBox(Prompt:=”Invisible edge/:”, _
Default:=”First” & ” point of 3D face>:”)
‘ bPoint = fTextToPoint(strRetVal, oPoint)
‘ oPolygon(g_Base + lgPoint) = oPoint
‘Loop Until bPoint
Next lgPoint
‘If Not fCoplanar(oPolygon(g_Base + 3), oPolygon(g_Base + 0), oPolygon(g_Base + 1), oPolygon(g_Base + 2)) Then
‘ lgRetVal = vba.msgbox(“Points are not coplanar, modify Z to be coplanar?”, vbYesNo + vbExclamation, “W A R N I N G”)
‘ If lgRetVal = vbYes Then
‘ modify Z to be coplanar…
‘ Else
‘ fcmdCAD_3DFACE = False
‘ Exit Function
‘ End If
‘End If
‘Create 3D face polygon
‘…
fcmdCAD_3DFACE = True
End Function

COMMANDS from menus/dockbars

In a CAD application, there are also dockbars (or floating menus) to enter commands via mouse clicks. In order to do so, a Userform can be arranged to look like a floating menu (turning ShowModal property to False).

Drawing area

Before going further, we must set some conventions, mostly on how user shapes will be named, and for my convenience I’ve followed the following criteria (can be adapted to one’s needings):

  • Shape name should start with “#” character, followed by its assigned name (Id code) represented by a number.
  • If shape is not in layer “0” then insert, at the end of the name, the layer name preceded by “@” character.

Finally we need a drawing area that can be easily recognised via code. So lets name it with special carácter “•” (ALT+7) in the beggining. In order to be functional, we need to track mouse position and act as a listener. To achieve this we can fool Excel with a temporal “•Tmp” Excel.Shape, on top of drawing area, in order to get that Click listener, associating a global macro to start the listener, and another specific one to the “•Tmp” shape in order to stop the listening once it’s clicked. The shape will be only set as visible when the listener bClickListener is active, so that it does not interfere to changing cell selection when not needed.

[sourcecode language=”vb”]
Public Sub sListening()
bClickListener = True
With ActiveSheet
strShpListener = “•Tmp”
.Shapes(strShpListener).Visible = True
Do
.lbXYZ.Caption = “X=” & MouseX & “, ” & “Y = ” & MouseY ‘ & “, ” & “Z = ” & MouseZ
DoEvents
Loop While bClickListener
End With
End Sub

Public Sub sListener()
With ActiveSheet
bClickListener = False
‘Actualize Mouse position
.lbXYZ.Caption = “X=” & MouseX & “, ” & “Y = ” & MouseY ‘ & “, ” & “Z = ” & MouseZ
.txtCommand.Value = “”
.Shapes(strShpListener).Visible = False
End With

 

With every new shape that is added we need to properly set the OnAction property in order to take control back each time a shape is clicked. To do this we can use the procedure builder that is exposed in this post. The procedure that we are going to set in the OnAction should, at least, determine if SHFT or CTRL keys are pressed (for multiple selection), and send/store the shape name, the unique Id code, and basic properties of the shape, and then return focus to txtCommand. If needed, it should set visible (with transparency) a txtShape control in order to operate on the shape properties.

We need some public variables to store the edition status: aItem() As tCAD_Item (UDT where to store properties for that shape); aSelected() As String (where to store the Id of the -selected- shapes); btxtShape for enabling or disabling the direct edition of  the shape; ….

The best part of all of this development is that it can be easily adapted to work on a userform, so better capacities can be achieved, using API to draw on the userform.

A very basic skechup of this application concept could be downloaded if WordPress let upload XLMS or even ZIP files, which is not the case. So for now, only the code posted 😉

Shall continue this post… look for xlCAD2

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