The Plants dialog provides access to plant data from various sources including previous projects. To open, type ‘plants’ at the command line, click the Plants button or click Landscape > Plants in the menu.
You can import from an Excel spreadsheet, a project drawing, text file and for some versions, a plant database.
You can change the default data source by making a selection from the Source buttons on the left of the dialog as shown in the screenshot below.
If you browse away from the installation source to open a file, subsequent browsing will start in the last accessed directory. Return to the default source directory by clicking the ‘Reset’ button at the top of the window.
You add plants into a destination list by moving them from the source window on the left to the destination window on the right. Double click an entry or use the arrow >> button. If there is more than one plant list in the drawing, choose a destination list from the drop down at the top right.
Use the small Open button to the right of the Drawing File button to access the file import dialog and browse drawing files containing lists to be imported.
You can view plant attributes including images if found in your image library as you scroll through source items by checking Show Data
Import from Excel
Importing from an excel worksheet can be an effective way of transferring plant data into a project. The import process can become slow for large spreadsheets, so keep file sizes small if possible and save the data to a template drawing for future, fast access.
Ensure the column names in Excel correspond to the fields in PlantManager or vice versa. If they don’t match, you can use the Map Worksheet Fields tool as detailed in the section below.
Use the PlantManager Fields dialog to edit field names appropriate for the list type.
Create separate worksheets representing each list. Alternatively, create one ‘master’ worksheet which can be imported and later separated by moving or copying plants between as needed.
Real numbers need to be formatted as text or they will be rounded off. Add a single quote as a prefix to ensure it is read as text – for instance, 0.5 should be entered in Excel as ‘0.5.
If importing multiple lists, create an empty list of the corresponding type (Individual / Mix etc.) before opening the Plants dialog.
Browse for the Excel file, and select the appropriate worksheet in the dropdown box.
Available worksheets will be loaded into a new list beneath the browse button.
Select a worksheet in the drop down list to make it current.
Items within the second column of the worksheet will be loaded into the source window if the worksheet column title matches the second field name of the current list. Note: If the 2nd column title of the worksheet differs from the 2nd field name, the source Items column will be blank.
If PlantManager field names don’t match worksheet column names you can Click the ‘Map Worksheet’ fields button to check the mapping between the worksheet and the list’s field names. See the following topic.
If all worksheet data is correctly mapped, select plants making up the list in the left hand window and click the >> button to add them to the current list.
Map Worksheet Fields
Click the map worksheet fields button and the Excel Import dialog will open as shown below.
Automatically mapped or linked fields are shown on the right in the Map 1 column next to the Field Names column.
In the example here, the Cultivation column hasn’t been automatically linked.
You can map or associate data by dragging a column heading from the left to the right and dropping it into a Map 1, 2, 3 or 4 cell in the row of the desired field name.
In this example, you could drag the column title ‘Cultivation’ on the left to the Map 2 column adjacent ‘Description’ on the right.
Use this tool to combine separate columns in an Excel worksheet like Genus, Species and Cultivar into a single field.
To undo field mappings, drag from the right to the left – all assigned columns will be discarded.
Note, all data imported must be in text format. So columns which contain real numbers must be formatted as text or include a single quote in the cell. So a value like 0.7 would be formatted as ‘0.7.
Import from database
Some versions of PlantManager inlcude a database developed by the Australian Plant Society (SA branch). It includes a wide range of species and cultivars from the West and South Eastern Australia. The database is read-only.
If the database is available, use the top left button to browse and select the file ‘Australian Plants Society.pdb’ file. In a networked environment the file can be moved to any convenient location.
Browse database plants
- Click on the down arrow at the right of the Genus list. To search for a specific genus, type the first few letters into the edit box. The closest matches will be scrolled into view.
- Click the desired Genus. The species for the selected Genus will be loaded in the species list below.
- In the Species list, type in the first few letters of the name to search in the edit box or select the species in the list below.
Search for plants
- Click on the search tab to make its controls visible. You can select from a range of categories including Type, Form, Character, Flower Colour, Fauna, Origin and Uses. Within each category a range of characteristics can be selected. For example in the category Type, you could choose Tree and Mallee (hold down the ctrl key to select or deselect multiple characteristics)
- Select additional characteristics in other categories by changing the selected category if desired. The current search criteria will be listed below.
- Click the Search button
- The results are displayed in the right hand tab. These can be selected and added to the right hand window.
Import from a drawing:
- Open the Plants dialog and click on the ‘Drawing (.dwg) File’ button.
- Browse for a drawing file containing PlantManager plant lists. If plant data is found in the drawing, all available lists will be displayed in the drop down list.
- Select a list to display and items within it will be listed in the source window.
- You can search for an item within the list by typing the first few letters of its name in the edit box above the source list.
Import from text file (.pla) file
Plant data (.pla), files are formatted text files and can be used as a source for the Plants dialog.
The installed ‘Masterlist.pla’ file includes an extensive list of plants includng ground covers, shrubs and trees from the northern hemisphere. You can filter the display of plants in the source window by checking the Select by Common Name box.
When opened in the Plants dialog, you can import selected plants and add them to a new or existing list. You can also open a .pla file from the file dialog and import the complete file as a single list including configuration information defining label styles, hatch and colour settings etc.
Plants from a drawing can be exported to a .pla file by clicking the File button in the main dialog and saving a copy to an external file using the Manage Plant Lists dialog. .pla files can be opened in Excel as a tab delimited text file, edited and saved back to a .pla file or saved as a spreadsheet.
Show Plant Data
When is checked, all data associated with a plant is displayed including images found in the image search path. Additionally searches can be performed about the selected item from Google, Wikipedia and the Australian National Botanic Gardens Photographic Index using the search buttons on the right hand side. The data displayed in the Plants dialog is presented in the same format as the Browser view.