Embedding eDrawings in Office 2007

Embedding SolidWorks into Microsoft Word or Powerpoint has always been a OLE (object linking and embedding) technology that is important to users that create documentation or presentation materials. With the introduction of Microsoft Office 2007, there were some major changes not only to the interface, but also to the way you insert control objects like the one used by SolidWorks' eDrawings product. I recently covered this topic in show 151 of the SolidWorks:Heard! podcast since this feature has been requested by many customers - especially how to add an eDrawing to a PowerPoint presentation. Users don't want to have to launch another program and/or exit their presentation slideshow to display their 3D content to the audience. Since eDrawings has the capability to not only open eDrawings, but also SolidWorks, PRO/E, and AutoCAD files, it is a great tool to leverage CAD content. Office 2007 changed the location where the eDrawings control is located from previous versions since the OLE controls are not displayed in the usual Insert, New Object listing. These functions have been gathered up and relocated under the Developer's tab, which, by default, is turned off. The Developer tab, including features like Macros and Controls, can be activated by navigating to the Office program's options located in the Office Button (displayed on the right). Once the options page is displayed, you can check Show Developer tab in the Ribbon which is in the "Popular" section of the Options dialog box. Now that the Developer tab is accessible, all the tools needed to add the eDrawings control into Office are available. Under the Developer tab there will be a grouping called Controls, which in PowerPoint will have a More Controls icon where the eDrawings 2008 Control can be selected. For Word the More Controls icon is hidden under the Legacy Tools button, or in Excel under the Insert button. In PowerPoint, once the eDrawings Control 2008 is inserted, the cursor will have a cross hair on it, prompting the user to drag out the size of the control. This can be changed at anytime by dragging on the object's drag handles located around the border of the object. This object now displays and has the centered text eDrawings Control inside it which when right clicked, reveals the Properties menu item. Properties can be modified depending on the desired attributes the embedded eDrawings viewer will obtain. The default highlighted property name is the FileName control which has the ... to browse for the file to display in the object. A bit of warning though: I seem to have found a bug in all the Microsoft Office 2007 products when browsing for the content. Once the ... is selected on the first Properties dialog box, another dialog box displays titled Property Pages which has another ... button. Clicking on this will crash your current session, so find the file's path and type or paste it in manually. At this point I am not sure if the issue is SolidWorks or Microsoft but the control does crash if you use the browse function. There are feature controls that can be enabled under the EnableFeatures control in the Properties. This can customize what the object interface displays (i.e. show the triad, enable the full user interface, display in hidden-lines-removed mode, etc.) There is one difference worth mentioning that differs between the control inserted in a PowerPoint document and the control inserted into Word or Excel. In PowerPoint there is no need "activate" the control since the presentation mode of PowerPoint will active the eDrawings control by default. When you get to the slide that contains the control, eDrawings will display the content as configured, inside presentation mode without any prompt. In Word or Excel there is not a "Presentation Mode" or "Slide Show" to activate this control which is why in the Developer tab there is a Design Mode button. By default, this button is activated or depressed which allows editing to controls and other objects inside the active document. This button will toggle these controls to activate and display their content inside the document as desired. ~Lou