Saturday, 24 March 2012

Weave Designing Using Spread sheet (Excel)
Representing fabric weave design on paper has always required a grid paper or as we call it graph paper. This graph paper has enabled us to represent the columns as warps of fabric and row as wefts of fabric. And we can mark the interaction of each corresponding warp and weft by marking with specific symbols or colours.

Almost similar functionality can be achieved on any spread sheet software like Microsoft Excel or any other similar software.  In fact the functionality can further be increased to use automation to do routine job.  That may include:
  •  Managing/manipulating weaves (duplicating, mirroring, joining, and similar functions)
  • Automatic Filling specific weaves
  • Easily making numerous colour and weave effect designs for given weaves and colour pattern
  • Interconverting spread sheet cell colours to image pixels
  • Printing Jacquard Card punching details
  • Printing Peg plan for Peg or Paper Dobby
     Off course to do these all and other function out of excel requires expertise and patience.

Excel as Weave Design Graph Paper:
So let’s get start weave designing with Excel. So first thing first, we need to build a spread-sheet that can be used as a graph paper.
We will need following steps to make excel sheet be behaving as weave design graph sheet:

  1. Resize the Cells: 
We need to resize all cells to be square in shape and ready to take only single alphabet as input to show up and down of the fabric. Usually all cell of 20 pixel width and height is good to work with. 
For this you can select all cells by using the short cut key “Ctrl + A” and change any column’s width and any rows height to 20 pixels rest of the cells will change automatically. 
2.       Make Cells show Colours:
For each cell to re-colour itself, we need to use the conditional formatting available in Microsoft Excel. Conditional formatting changes the appearance of a cell on bases of what its contents are. For the ease of entry I usually prefer to have Red, Blue, Green, Black and White colour’s cell by placing z, x, c, v, and b respectively in any cell. It gives ease of entering the text by left hand and with right hand you can easily place the cursor or control the mouse. Usually left hand index finger is on “v” or on “b” to have Black and White colour cells. And for other colours we can use:
1.       z à Red
2.       x à Green
3.       c à Blue
4.       v à Black
5.       b à White
For conditional formatting to be applied on whole of the sheet you need to do following steps in order:
¨       Select all the sheet or cell where you want to apply these settings. (I prefer it to apply to the whole sheet).
¨       Select the conditional formatting from “Home” Tab on ribbon interface of Excel 2007 or 2010. And click on “Manage Rules”. 
¨       Next you need to define the rules, click the “New Rule in the “Conditional Formatting Rules Manager” Dialog box.
¨       Select second option of "Format Only the cells that contain"
¨       Now Select "Equals to" option from drop down menu in "Rule Description"
¨       Enter the alphabet for which condition formatting is to be done in next text box and Click "Format..."
¨       "Format Cell" Dialog box opens, Select the required Formatting i.e. Red Text from font tab
¨       And Red background color from "Fill" Tab
¨       Click "OK" twice and now you have your first Rule for "z" is set to red color. Do same for other inputs.
¨       Like shown.
So know we have the sheet that can take input of z, x, c, v and b to input colour in cells, like this:
One more thing; make setting of each cell so that contents of the cell do not change the cell width, for that select all sheet by pressing “Ctrl + A” from your keyboard and left click anywhere in the sheet on any cell and select “Format Cells”: 
Format Cell dialog box opens; tick the “shrink to fit” check box option, to resize the font size for content of the cell to fit in. 

3.       Make it a Template File:
So what’s next, should we be doing this for every time we start Excel for weave designing? No, let’s make an Excel template file so that every time we need the weave design graph sheet we can use this template to have this setting already done.
Click “File” and select “Save As”. And select “Excel Templates” from “Save as type” drop down menu.

By default the Excel saves the templates in:
In windows 7. Give some appropriate name to this file like “WeaveDesignTemplate”
You can get this template from here too.
4.       Opening the Template:
So here you are, done with template, now you can start using this file every time you need to design weave of any fabric by just opening new file from this template.
For this go to “File” menu and click “New” then click “My Templates” and select: