How to use AppSheet with AutoCAD (or other CAD software)

If you work with CAD software (AutoCAD, ZWCAD, etc.) you often deal with DWG drawings where you have to mark specific locations with a description. In this example, we will use the XY maps feature in AppSheet and AutoCAD multileader objects’ import.

Use context

What I will show below can be widely used in the engineering, construction and installation industries. Wherever it is necessary to produce documentation along with an indication of the location of a given point on a drawing or a building plan.

Today I will show you how it can be useful for a company from the fire protection industry, which must record each fire stop installation that has been made.

AppSheet will generate a list in the form of a spreadsheet and assign coordinates on a given map. We will be able to put them on the DWG drawing.


We will need the following components.


You need a form in AppSheet that contains a column of data type [XY]. It is best if we create an object to which we will be able to associate the storeys and their maps – I showed it in the article.

Image – export from CAD

Let’s prepare an image, which will serve us as a map background in AppSheet. There are some details to keep in mind.

Image File Format and Coordinate Form

AppSheet supports image files in raster format (JPG, PNG). Does not support DWG and PDF files. For quite a simple reason:

  • „XY: models a location inside an image, such as a location on a custom map or schematic. XY refers to an X axis value and a Y axis value defining a position within the selected image, where 0, 0 corresponds to the top-left corner and 100, 100 the bottom-right corner. You choose the background image by providing a URL in the Background image for the XY coordinates setting of the column; this image is then used as the background for the map view when viewing XY column values. The image must be public (anyone with the link can view) for the map to be displayed. 

To paraphrase: AppSheet uses coordinates with (0, 0) in the upper left corner and (100, 100) in the lower right corner. Vector files like PDF do not have a specific resolution. So they cannot be used.
In the course of our work, the problem is resolution and scaling in AutoCAD. To overcome this, we will need:
  • square image (1:1), which will not be afraid of scaling. It’s best to create a special high-resolution PNG output profile.
  • Coordinate calculations to show the most commonly used format with the Y axis pointing up. We will do it in the auxiliary sheet that will generate CAD commands.
  • For convenience, it is best to choose the units in CAD so that the whole fits in the above square 100 by 100 units.


Formula for creating commands for import in CAD

For now, the easiest way to achieve our goal is to create an additional sheet, which, after pasting the coordinates from AppSheet and description, will generate the correct command to paste into the CAD software.

The generated column should be saved in .scr format and pasted into the CAD program.

In action

Let’s follow the entire work process.

AutoCAD – preparation the image

Drawing in DWG is exported as PNG. The orange frame defines our print range (100×100). There are several ways to achieve the effect of exporting an image with a specific resolution. However, I will not write about them now.


Operations in AppSheet

How to add a XY map’s background?

I described this in a related post. Now let’s deal with the further processing of this data.


Further work with AppSheet and CAD

Let’s create example 3 entries with data and coordinates.

We go to the data from our application. In this example, we have more data than just coordinates with description. We are only interested in two columns.

We copy data from AppSheet to our auxiliary sheet. We are only interested in the ID and coordinates.

We create a new file from the data from the last column with the extension .scr (we can use any text editor).

The created file can be freely dragged onto our drawing.

Everything is in line with our preview in AppSheet.


Working in this way, we can have continuous access to documentation in our AppSheet application. We can also easily transfer our work to professional CAD software (AutoCAD, ZWCAD). Thanks to this, we are not limited by the capabilities of the AppSheet platform. The rest of the text documentation is, as usual, in the form of a Google sheet (with the possibility of exporting to Excel).


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