SmartPLOT 3.0

31 Jan, 2000 By: Michael Lennox Cadalyst

Star rating:5 stars out of 5

A sophisticated, general CAD plot logging solution, SmartPLOT 3.0 ($1,050 for first five licenses) from Technesis provides a highly customizable interface, security, and the ability to link to a standard ODBC-compliant accounting systems.

Installing SmartPLOT is straightforward, though the Console portion may require a few additional steps for the Microsoft data access drivers. The workstation component is very easy to install. No changes are necessary within AutoCAD.

SmartPLOT works with AutoCAD Release 14 and 2000, AutoCAD LT 97 and 98, and MicroStation 95, SE, and J. SmartPLOT saves log data to an Access database, though Technesis discourages opening and editing the database because of its complexity. When plotting from AutoCAD, the SmartPlot Workstation component displays a small window with information required for the plot lots. Users not involved in plot-logging administration see only this portion of SmartPLOT. You must enter the information in the fields before you plot the drawing. SmartPLOT recalls the most recent data used when it plots the drawing. Much of the information, such as sheet size and other plot data important for the log, is automatically captured. You use the SmartPLOT Console application to easily customize the options available from the pull-down lists in the window.

The SmartPLOT Console is a tree-structured view of the SmartPLOT database. From the Console you can add billable jobs, plot type, and paper type fields to the database. These fields are available as choices in the SmartPLOT Workstation dialog box. You can also use the SmartPLOT Console to create usernames and passwords to control access to the database. In addition, the SmartPLOT Console provides a wide variety of standard reports. You can determine plot use by a specific job, job phase, and output device. These reports are preformatted for printing, but you can also output the data into a large number of other file types, such as Excel or any ODBC database formats. SmartPLOT Reports is available for $350.

SmartPLOT can communicate directly with ODBC-compliant accounting systems so that billing data is immediately available. In addition, you can extract job information from your accounting system and import it into SmartPlot. This connectivity is provided in an additional package (SmarkLINK, $500). Even if you don’t use SmartPLOT with an existing accounting system, its features and customizability make it an attractive plot logging tool, particularly for large organizations. This is especially true if you work with multiple CAD packages. A free SmartPLOT trial is available from Highly Recommended.

About the Author: Michael Lennox

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