Creating a CSV file

CSV files can be created and opened using note pad or a spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel. The following workflow will use Microsoft Excel to create the CSV, it is recommended that users use this software. The CSV can contain as many features as required and multiple CSV files can be imported into one FXL.

  1. Start by opening a blank excel project.

  2. In no specific order give the columns the following names.

    • Code (required)
    • Name (required)
    • Type (required)
    • Category (required)
    • Layer (required)
    • Colour (not mandatory)
    • Line Style (not mandatory)
    • Boarder Colour (not mandatory)
    • Fill Colour (not mandatory)
    • Fill Transparency (not mandatory)
    • Attribute Name (not mandatory)
    • Attribute Type (not mandatory)
      The not mandatory names/data are optional values as they can be added and edited after importing the CSV. Ensure the required names/data is input into the CSV as this is the minimum required data.
  3. Begin filling in the column data. Try and separate the point/line/polygon features into groups this will make it easier when importing the data. 
    Note: if the feature library data is in another document, copy and paste the data into the relevant columns.

    Features should be grouped as above, with all point rows together, all line rows together and all polygon rows together. This has been coloured for illustration purposes only.
    • For symbol and line style ensure the spelling matches exactly to the name of the symbol or line style in the file containing symbol or line style data.
    • For Colour, Border Colour and Fill Colour ensure the spelling of the Colour and the RGB values of custom colours match the spelling/values in the Feature Definition Manager. If the spelling is not exact the software will not recognise the value and it will not be imported.
    • Multiple attribute types can be added to the one feature however this is limited and the finer attribute details such as list values or number of decimals etc. and will need to be edited once the data has been imported. Point symbols will need to be added after importing the CSV.
  4. With all the required details added to the spreadsheet it is time to save the spreadsheet as a CSV file. In excel navigate to File →  Save As →  Browse. Navigate to the folder you wish to save the CSV, give the file a name. Under Save as type choose ‘CSV (MS-DOS)’. See below example. 

Importing a CSV into the Feature Definition Manager

  1. Start by opening an existing FXL or create a blank FXL in the Feature Definition Manager.
    Note: if the FXL has linestyles specified in the .CSV and these are not imported into the FXL yet, these will have to be imported first by creating a temporary line category.
        1. Create a new category and give it a name e.g. Temporary.
        2. Create a new line under the category and import the line styles. Click here for a detailed workflow on importing linestyles.

        3. Once you have imported the CSV, the temporary category and line code can be removed from the project.
  2. Navigate to File > Convert CSV to FXL or click the  icon to open the convert CSV to FXL tool.

  3. Select a source file by clicking the  button and navigate to the file containing the CSV. Select the file and click open. The CSV file should then display in the Original file tab.

  4. Select all the point features. While holding shift, click in the second row of the first column (to skip the name of each column), then scroll to the final column and while holding shift click the row containing the last point feature.

  5. With all the point features selected click the Add to Points button along the bottom of the tool.

  6. Repeat step 6 above to select and add the lines and polygons.

  7. Next, click on the points tab. Notice above the first row the Skip tabs . These tabs are used to define the values in the column below. Start by right clicking on the first skip tab, then choose the function that describes the column. For this example Code is chosen as the first column followed by Name etc. 

    Use the skip function to skip columns that have no values e.g. Line style column in the points tab.

  8. Click Add to Feature Library to add the point codes to the library.

  9. Using the same procedure as described in step 8, add the functions to the Lines and Polygons tab and click Add to Library

  10. Click close to finish importing the CSV.
  11. To finalise the FXL:
    • Point symbols will need to be added click here.
    • Feature attributes edited e.g. list values edited, max number of decimals added, default values etc. click here.
    • Block features added click here.


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