Electrical Design Software | Elecdes Design Suite by Scada Systems Ltd

How to Show Paneldes Data in Navisworks


You can show Paneldes component attributes and cable routing information from a Navisworks view of your model. You must generate the NavisworksLink report from Paneldes, then link to that report from Navisworks.

The NavisworksLink report is generated in your current project directory and consists of data combined from the Paneldes Bill of Materials report and the Cable Cross-Section report.

Navisworks file formats

Navisworks has three native file formats NWD, NWF, and NWC as explained below.

NWD File Format

NWD or the Navisworks Document file is an overall compiled snapshot of your CAD model with all the scenes, comments, geometry, external data (e.g. Paneldes Data) embedded into a single file. NWD file can be published through Navisworks Manage only. These files are considerably smaller than the CAD format therefore quicker to load and easier to share. NWD files can be viewed in any Navisworks product including Navisworks Freedom.

NWF Files

NWF or the Navisworks File Set file contains links to all the CAD models, viewpoints, comments, graphical overrides, time liner etc. You will notice that the size of the NWF file is too small as compared to NWD or NWC files. NWF is used as the standard file format when working with ongoing projects because any updates made to the CAD drawings can be captured in and NWF file. The NWF file cannot be opened by Navisworks Freedom.

NWC Files

NWC or the Navisworks Cache file contains all the CAD to Navisworks conversion data. Every time you open a CAD drawing (e.g. your Paneldes Model) in Navisworks Manage, it creates a cached version of the CAD drawing with the extension ".nwc". If your CAD drawing is modified since the last time the NWC was created, then the NWC file is re-created. However, if there is no change in the CAD drawing then the existing NWC file is loaded.

Procedure for generating the NavisworksLink report

  1. Open the preferences dialog using the Preferences menu and make sure that you have ticked Generate Excel report for Navisworks linking in Paneldes preferences.

  2. Ensure that Navisworks is closed. Paneldes cannot update the NavisworksLink report while it is held open and locked by Navisworks.

  3. If your design contains cable routing information then select the Cable Manager entry from the Routing: Wire and Cable menu.

    The NavisworksLink report is created when you press the button Generate/Update reports.

  4. If your design does not include cable routing, select the Generate Model BOM entry from the Utilities and BOM menu.

    The NavisworksLink report will always be generated in the background whenever you use a function that generates or updates the Paneldes BOM file (like Generate Paneldes BOM, Global Editor or Reload the BOM etc.).

  5. The NavisworksLink report file will be saved in your current project directory with the file name "YourCurrentElecdesProjectNavisworksLink.xlsx".

Required Navisworks Manage options

Using its default options, Navisworks Manage will show the names of the attributes of inserted blocks. You can turn off this text.

If your Paneldes model contains XRefs then, when you select an object in Navisworks, you may not see the Paneldes_Link tab in properties with the Paneldes component data. This happens when Navisworks does not set the selection in the Selection Tree to the appropriate drawing entity that was linked to NavisworksLink.xlsx and this will most likely happen if your drawing was composed of multiple XRefs. Paneldes models contain entity groups, which causes the same problem for selection.

  1. Start Navisworks Manage.
  2. Open File > OPTIONS.
  3. In the Options Editor, go to File Readers > DWG/DXF and uncheck Convert Groups, Convert XRefs and Convert Text as shown below:

  4. In the Options Editor, go to Interface > Selection and choose First Object from the list of options for Resolution, as shown below:

  5. Press OK to close the options dialog.
  6. Open your DWG file or, if one is already loaded, click Refresh.

Procedure for linking to NavisworksLink.xlsx from Navisworks Manage

Once your NavisworksLink report is generated, you can use DataTools to link it to your drawing inside Navisworks Manage. The following procedure explains the steps to link the report your NWD file.

  1. Open your Paneldes drawing file in Navisworks Manage using FILE > OPEN, then select the drawing file.

  2. If your model contains XRefs, click on the Append icon from the Home tab on the ribbon:

    then select the various drawing files that were XRefed to make up your entire Paneldes model.

  3. Once the file is loaded in Navisworks, click on the DataTools icon from the Home tab on the ribbon.

  4. You will be presented with the DataTools dialog as shown below. This dialog will show all the existing DataTools links available to your project.

  5. Press the Import... button and browse to the NavisworksPaneldesLink.xml file from RTEMPLATE folder of your current EDS installation and press Open.

  6. A new DataTools link named "Paneldes_link" should now be in the list.

  7. Select "Paneldes_link" from the list and press the Edit... button to open the Edit Link dialog.

  8. Choose Microsoft Excel Driver(*.xls,*.xlsx,...) from the list of ODBC drivers as shown below.

  9. Press the Setup... button to configure the ODBC driver for Excel. You will be presented with a dialog as shown below.

  10. Press the Select workbook... button then browse to your current project directory and select your NavisworksLink report, as shown in the example below, then press OK.

  11. In the ODBC Microsoft Excel Setup dialog you should see part of the name of the NavisworksLink report file beside the Workbook field, as shown in the example below.

  12. Press OK to close the ODBC Microsoft Excel Setup dialog. The Edit Link dialog should now show a connection string in the box just below the ODBC driver combo box, similar to the left side of the figure shown below.

  13. Tick the checkbox Hold open for application lifetime.

  14. You can now add, change or delete the fields in the list to be used by Navisworks to fetch the data from the NavisworksLink report.

    • To add a field, scroll to the bottom of the existing list of fields, double click in the empty space in the Field Name column and enter the name of each field that you wish to show. The field name should match exactly to a column in the NavisworksLink.xlsx file. You can enter the fields in any order and you can set a display name that differs from the original column name.

    • You can change a field name or display name by double clicking on an existing entry in the Fields list.

    • To delete a field, right click on the in the Field Name column and select Delete Row.

    NOTE: The Field Names entered into the Edit Link dialog must match the fields in the NavisworksLink.xlsx file exactly, including matching the case of the letters.

  15. Press OK to close the Edit Link dialog.

  16. Click on the box beside "Paneldes_link" so that it is ticked, as shown in the figure below.

  17. Press OK to close the DataTools dialog.

  18. Display the Properties window in Navisworks.

  19. Select an object in the model.

  20. You should see your Paneldes data on a tab with the name that you entered into the link configuration (e.g. "Paneldes_link" in the figure below). Navisworks will fetch the data for your selected fields from the NavisworksLink report when you click on an entity in the drawing, as shown in the example below.

Procedure for creating a stand-alone NWD file for the free viewing tool, Navisworks Freedom

Once your Paneldes model is linked to the Paneldes data in Navisworks Manage, you can publish it so that it can be viewed by anyone using Navisworks Freedom. Publishing creates a NWD file embedded with Paneldes link data.

Follow the steps below to publish your model.

  1. Click File > Publish, as highlighted in the figure below.

  2. You will be presented with the publish dialog, as show below.

  3. Tick the checkbox Embed database properties in order to see all the Paneldes link data in the published file.

  4. Press OK and choose a suitable name for your published file.

Procedure for viewing Paneldes Data in Navisworks Freedom

Once your NWD file is published, follow the steps below to view your model with Paneldes link data in Navisworks Freedom.

  1. Open Navisworks Freedom.

  2. Click File > OPTIONS.

  3. In the Options Editor, go to Interface > Selection and choose First Object from the list of options for Resolution, as shown below:

  4. Press OK to close the options dialog.

  5. Open the NWD file.

  6. The Paneldes data will be shown in a new tab in the Properties window when you select an entity.

See also...

Bill of Materials

Raceway Cross Section Report