🚨 New connector alert: Excel!

Hi @Community ,

It’s that time again when we announce a new connector - you’ve asked and we’ve listened. We’re thrilled to announce a Speckle connector for Excel, probably one of the most used software in our industry!

The connector is still in early alpha and we’re waiting for Microsoft to approve it before it can be published on the Office Store and be available for general use.

In the meantime, please do check the docs and code.

We’re keen to hear any early stage feedback you might have :ear: :hugs:

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That’s great @teocomi!
Spreadsheets are still a very powerful way to exchange data. They are very effective to get an overview, sort and filter your data in a quick way.
Here my primary comments:

  1. Would be very nice to be able to filter the properties you want to “bake” to excel.
    The same export could be performed many times therefore the user may way want to create a template and set up conditional formatting etc.
  2. A table viewer in the web app would also be very effective.
    There you should be able to filter, sort and ideally both share the table URL to someone inside your stream and download the table as csv file. This way we don’t leave out those that like to work with google spreadsheets or opensource alternatives.

Nice work and looking forward to test it soon!

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Thanks for the ideas!

  1. Yes, this is already being worked out! As you can imagine, flattening complex objects with children objects would lead to a LOT of columns/headers (I tried baking a revit wall and it was about to create 2000). So I’ll add a simple UI that lets you filter them if you have more than ~20.
  2. Interesting idea! @izzylys and @clrkng are currently working on a UI to input data directly from the web app, eventually we could add such features you mention as well :slight_smile:
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Another sneak peek: updating (or borking) Revit elements form Excel

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Hi folks, the Excel Connector is now on the Microsoft Store, go and grab it!

We will be producing more documentation and tutorials soon, in the meantime, please drop all your feedback here below :slight_smile:

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Hi @teocomi, together with some colleagues we tried to test the connector between Excel and Revit but changing data in Excel (eg height of a wall) does not update the elements in Revit. Is it necessary in Excel to keep the ID parameter to have the element recognized or something else? Thanks for your reply and congratulations for this platform!

Ciao Marco!

Thanks for trying the connector and for reporting back here :slight_smile:
The process of updating Revit elements has not been streamlined yet, but I’ve just added some guidance in the docs on how to do so:

https://speckle.guide/user/excel.html#updating-revit-parameters

We’re hoping to make it simpler going forward, but in the meantime, the example in the link above should do.

Any other issues or ideas feel free to shoot!

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Thanks a lot @teocomi

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@teocomi

Fully agree with both points you mention!

  1. For some of our work we also use Excel template files with some conditional formatting. It would be great if you can simply send and receive in the same format and range over and over again, without the need to specify e.g. the range each time. Also setting this kind of standard sending/receiving format as default in an Excel file could be a nice addition.

I had a try with the Excel connector and it’s really easy and clear to work with, a very good addition! One issue I noticed while sending some very basic data is that the order of columns in objects can change:

First I send the basic data of 2 points (A2:E4) using “range with headers” to send actual objects. Receiving them back works properly (G2:K4), but the columns are in different order. This is definitely an issue, especially if you want to work with template files as mentioned. Is this expected behaviour or am I missing something?

  1. I was thinking of maybe building an app on Speckle that allows to visualize, manipulate and filter tabulated data. However, this is probably functionality that many people can use, so some kind of integrated table viewer would be useful, especially if there is some room to customise it to your needs, either through a UI or by some additonal coding.

Thanks in advance!

Thanks @Rob, super good feedback!

  1. remember range/seelction: yes, I’m aware of this and have been saving it for later (it requires a bit of brain power to come up with a solution and it’s really hot in London now). It’s being tracked here
  2. column order: quickest solution would be to always enforce alphabetical order, hope it works
  3. tabular viewer: this is very interesting, we discussed something similar internally. I think it could either be:
  • added directly to the frontend and if the data sent is in tabular form it could replace the 3d viewer altogether
  • a speckle app to interact with tabular data
    Anyways, feel free to start cracking on it, and do ping us if you’d like to coordinate around it!
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Hi @Rob ,

1&2 have been implemented, together with a few minor fixes and improvements. Have a go and let me know what you think!

Hi @teocomi,

Thanks for your replies.
Already heard from a colleague that alphabetical order is now implemented, haven’t tried it myself yet. Will also have a look at the range remembrance.

Your suggestion on a front-end for tabular data is interesting! Can imagine that it would be nice if a user can switch between the 3d viewer and tabular data viewer. I think in our use case, we would always use objects, which could have some data attached that we would like to visualize in tabulated form. An example is that we could have a lot of SpeckleRoom objects, that will have many different parameters attached (likely source would be Revit but can of course differ). Visualizing (a selection of) attributes/parameters of a selected range of rooms would be a nice addition.

Manipulating this (tabular) data on the platform could also be helpful. However, I can imagine that for this use, a more customisable, additional Speckle app can be created/adjusted by users themselves, leaving the viewer more basic. Of course I’m just thinking out loud on what it could look like. Regarding creating it ourselves, I think we could at some point try something with Plotly and Dash, so not a full .NET implementation probably :sweat_smile:

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Hey Rob, you might be interested in this tutorial that has just been published by our team:

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Hey @teocomi - that tutorial looks great!

We did some use-case and UX discovery work around adding a tabular view to the online viewer a while back (we put the work on hold while we transition our other connectors to v2). The main use-case we found was in presenting a design to a reviewer. Senior engineers need to see not only the visual, but also certain properties of objects. A central idea was to be able to switch back and forth between 3D and tabular view, with both views controlled by a common filter (e.g. filter to type=“Air Handling Unit”, and they will be highlighted in the 3D and the tabular view will only show the the AHUs, with a selected sub-set of their properties.)

Anyways, this isn’t the right thread to start a detailed discussion about features and use cases, but I wanted to let everyone know that we might be looking at this sometime in October to December, so please drop me a note or press like if you are interested in participating, and I’ll ping you when we start getting serious (@teocomi, we’ll obviously keep you guys in the loop).

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Thanks David, that’s definitely the direction we want to head with this - we well know the current “object explorer” is useful to developers only and that it needs to be replaced with something better :sweat_smile:

End goal could be something like this:

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Looks good @teocomi!
We will definitely have a try with this in coming sprints, so thanks for the update : )
Bit of a late reply due to some well-deserved holiday :stuck_out_tongue:

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