Use Excel as an Architectural Design Tool
Excel is so much more than just a spreadsheet or a simple database for cataloging your DVD collection. One of its many additional functions includes using it as an architectural design tool. Although it’s not recommended for building bridges or shopping malls, and certainly not in place of a qualified engineer, you can use it to design and build simple projects such as decks, porches, dog houses, fences, playhouses, potting sheds, and even garages. It’s also handy for building furniture such as bookshelves, Adirondack chairs, rocking chairs, front porch swings, and picnic tables. Homeowners can also use it for interior design (placement of furniture) and landscaping projects.
If you already own Excel and know your way around it, using it for small building projects can save you time and money; there’s little-to-no learning curve and you don’t have to purchase a separate specialty program. Excel designs are accepted by most building inspectors as official blueprints, so you don’t have to hire an architect or engineer for these simple projects.
Excel provides a number of shapes and graphics that you can use for furniture and/or landscaping placement, plus you can import or copy and paste graphics from almost any graphic program. You can also capture images from various sources and use them to show the arrangement of assorted plants and trees for your landscaping projects, or to illustrate how you plan to remodel your kitchen.
It’s an easy task, and the following instructions can guide you through this painless process:
1. Open Excel.
2. A new, blank worksheet appears.
3. Press Ctrl+A to select/highlight the entire worksheet.
4. Select Format>Column Width and enter the number 1.
5. Select Format>Row Height and enter the number 9.
Now your screen/spreadsheet looks like a sheet of grid paper. The size of each square relative to your project can be any number that best fits your project; for example, each square equals one foot, or one inch, or three inches. If your project requires exact measurements, then one inch per square (or 12 squares per foot) would be the wisest choice. If your project is a bit looser, such as landscaping, then three inches (or four squares per foot) would likely suffice.
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