Understand Data Linking and Matching

Data linking is the process of selecting a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with the purpose of merging all or some of its contents with extracted drawing data. See Link a Table to External Data for more information about data linking.

Data matching creates a relationship between two sets of data; the data in a column from the extracted drawing data and the data in a column from an Excel spreadsheet.

For example, you have a simple bill of materials (BOM). Three columns of data are extracted from a drawing. These columns contain data for: Part #, Revision, and Quantity. You want to include two additional columns of data in the BOM from a spreadsheet. These columns contain data for Cost and Supplier.

In this example, the spreadsheet contains a column of part numbers labeled Catalog Number that matches the Part Number column in the extracted data. In the Link External Data dialog box, you select Part # as the column for the drawing data and Catalog Number as the column for the external data. Because there is at least one cell of matching data in the drawing data column and the external data column, the data extraction feature “knows” how both sources are tied together.

You can test if the data matching is valid by clicking the Check Match button from the Link External Data dialog box. If the match is unsuccessful, a warning message indicates what the problem is. In some situations, the drawing data might not link correctly to the data in the spreadsheet. See Data Matching Validation for more information.

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