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Using tvCAD

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Using tvCAD desktop

note: this page is from 2016 - it needs updating to reflect all the new things in tvCAD. Coming soon!

Your trial unlocks all the functionality for the duration of your trial, everything works exactly the same as the version you buy. If your trial time not long enough just let me know and we’ll work it out, no worries – we’re all busy here. 

screengrab of tvCAD desktop
This is the Beta 0 version of tvCAD. That was 2016. It’s a bit nicer now

Getting Started

tvCAD organises your things into discrete projects. A project can have any number of drawings but produces only one cable schedule at a time. They may be long-lived for big projects or short-lived just to keep an eye on a drawing you are working on. A tvCAD project will have a companion tvCAD database with (usually) the same name. You can make snapshots of your databases and change them when you want.

Here is the Settings page with all of the settings turned off and on to show what they do. The text is clearer in the App, they have been resized for this page. Click on them to see the original pics (same for any image on this page).

  1. There are quite a few more settings these days. I’ll update this soon.
  2. Go through the settings and choose some sensible defaults to save as the basis for all new projects. All of the settings are per-project and you can change your default settings for new projects at any time.
  3. Set your folders (these folders are per-project) for …
    1. Where you want to save your tvCAD projects and Databases
    2. Where you want to save your Cable Schedules
      • They can be different folders
      • You can type a folder name in
      • you can drag a folder from Windows Explorer
      • you can click and browse for a folder
  4. Have a look through the rest of the settings and compare the on/off settings of each. At least a few of the other settings are probably not particularly intuitive so I will update this page with explanations of them as soon as I can. Please ask if/when anything confuses you. Anyone who has used ACNE will recognise quite a few of these settings.
  5. Don’t panic about all the scary-looking Regular Expressions in the settings – I don’t expect you to learn how to do those, part of your support is to get me to set those things up for you. Most of them are set and forget, they won’t change much, if at all, between projects – they are more like policy decisions than anything especially specific to a drawing.
  6. If you have settings you would like to keep as the default for new projects then click on the big blue button at the bottom. You can load a project with settings you want to persist and save those as your default at any time. When you make a new project most of your settings stay the same, just the drawings and project / database names change
  7. Name your project on the “Project” page. This will also be the name of the tvCAD database and the Cable schedules. Did you notice the settings near the top about the cable schedule “Time Stamp”? The default is “Project Name 16-05-22 123456.xlsx” which is the date reversed so it’s yy-mm-dd then followed by the time of the cable schedule in hhmmss so the previous example was produced at 12:34:56. You can change that if you like.

Now you need some drawings. You can add them to the drawing list by …

  • Drag-drop from Windows explorer
  • Load from a list or
  • Browse with the buttons at top-right
    • Delete drawings by selecting them (Control or shift keys for multiple selections) and press the delete key
    • you can drag the columns around to re-order them
    • you can sort and filter columns the same way that Excel works. Hold the control key to sort by more than one column.
    • you can group drawings by things like folders by dragging the top of the Folder column up into the area with 3 dots on the right.
    • If you move, rename, delete a file in real-life then tvCAD will prompt you to find it or delete it from the list when it goes looking for it.
    • If you drag a drawing into the list that was already in the list then tvCAD knows that and it will not duplicate it.

The (big) button for parsing drawings has options to parse all the drawings, just the ones that changed since last time ,or just the ones you have selected in the list, or just check to see which ones have changed without parsing them. The same button also turns into a cancel button if you want to stop the process. I promise I will find a better screen-grab tool.

This is the front page of tvCAD. The red text is what the big buttons do. Hey, I like big buttons and I cannot lie. …

  • You can stop parsing and cable schedules with the same button.
  • There is a progress bar at the bottom of the window (same as for the drawing-parsing pic above).
  • When a process finishes the progress bar goes away and a message tells you the last thing that happened.
  • The current event is at the top bottom I moved it).

Once you have your project set up, your usual tvCAD workflow is thus: one¬†click on the big Excel button will…

  1. parse all the drawings that you have changed,
  2. create a new cable schedule and
  3. open it in Excel.

Yeah, one click.

Here are a few drawings, a cable schedule and a tvCAD project. Have a look, try them out in tvCAD and see how it works for yourself. How?  please join my list at the bottom of to get a trial version.

2019 update: There is more to it than this, and some of it is different to the current version. I will be revising this a lot in the near future. Please, if you have any questions send me an email, tweet, whatever you like.