By Dennis J. Primeaux of Baskerville & Donovan Engineers in Daphne, Alabama.
We purchased our first Axiom product — Microsoft Office Importer — in the last year on the recommendation of an engineer who came on board from another company. His company had used Microsoft Office Importer extensively for a couple of years and they had been very impressed with its capability.
As with all new software, I was skeptical at first — I’ve been fooled before — and wanted to see it in action — I’m the kind of guy who you have to prove it to — before I made any decision to purchase.
After an initial setup, we hit the ground running and have never looked back.
We do a lot of Alabama DOT work along with various city and county projects. Particularly, DOT work requires many box sheets (see definition below) that contain detailed quantities of many pay items (specific services or materials used during a project, each with a unique identification code) required for roadway design. Alabama DOT assigns a number to each pay item. For example, 205A-001 is the number for a “Removal of Structure”.
A box sheet is a spreadsheet made up of multiple boxes containing pay items — such as a box for striping, removal of structures or drainage — and each box includes specifics about the each item, like where exactly it will be placed. At the bottom of each box there is a total quantity for each item. With Microsoft Office Importer, we link these totals to the pay sheet (spreadsheet containing a list of all pay items for a project) in the design file.
When we fill in the boxes in the box sheet, the total at the bottom of that box is linked to the pay sheet in the design file, so changes made to the spreadsheets in Excel are automatically updated to that particular pay item in the pay sheet.
With Axiom’s Microsoft Office Importer, the detailing and the linkage of each box item to the pay sheet was absolutely incredible. Not only did it save us significant time in compiling these sheets — we used to do it the old-fashioned manual way — it also improved our accuracy in the quantities reported.
Also, when we ran into a problem on the way we were importing a text file into MicroStation, the Axiom technical support help we received was outstanding and our request was handled in a very timely manner. Microsoft Office Importer is really great, very affordable and I highly recommend it.