What are you doing to preserve your engineering calculations?
We’ve all been there.
You have a technical problem, and you know there’s a calculation from last year that could help (maybe two years ago?). So, you dig through some old folders and find that old spreadsheet.
It’s close to what you need, but you’re not 100% sure, and moreover – what in the world is this spreadsheet doing?
Legacy calculations are important
The calculations you've already done are incredibly important, especially updateable calculations like spreadsheets.
As part of your company’s intellectual property, old calculation documents are an incredible asset. They can save time, make work more reliable, and help new team members get up to speed.
But they can be a little risky
Despite the obvious benefits, using these documents can feel a little hazardous.
They often come with a sinking doubt that maybe this wasn’t done correctly or maybe this doesn't apply to this new situation.
So it’s crucial to understand these old documents
If you don't understand what an old calculation is doing, you're either left accepting risk or throwing out the old calculation and starting again.
Unfortunately, legacy documents don’t always make it easy to see what's happening.
- Values aren’t named, or they have confusing names.
- Units and conversions aren’t well documented.
- There’s no text explaining the document, and no comments along the way.
Understanding these old documents can be a huge hassle. No wonder so many choose to start over.
Spreadsheet tools don’t help the matter
And let’s face it – using conventional spreadsheet tools doesn't help things. Often it feels like spreadsheets makes things worse.
- The formulas are hidden where you can’t see them.
- There’s poor support for named values (most often engineers stick with B5 or C27, or whatever it is).
- There’s almost no support for units.
- It feels weird to write longer text in a spreadsheet.
Does this look easy to understand?
It’s true that even the best tools can’t force good documentation (if they tried, no one would use them), but it’s as if spreadsheets force you into bad habits.
Spreadsheets were made for tabular financial numbers, not for clear and understandable engineering calculations.
Instead of spreadsheets, use tools made for the job
At Blockpad, we’re building calculation tools with engineers in mind.
Blockpad makes it easier to create understandable calculations – calculations that you feel comfortable sharing with others (present or future).
Plus, it does so without slowing you down.
Formulas are shown in a clear way
Blockpad uses the same kind of formulas that spreadsheets do, but instead of hiding them behind a cell, they are displayed in clear math notation.
So you can read that formula more easily when you’re trying to understand it 2 years from now.
Names are straightforward
In Blockpad, named values are a natural part of the workflow. You can name a value inside the formula itself, as you’re creating it.
With named values that can be used in calculations, reading an equation is exponentially easier, so you can understand what’s going on.
Units intelligence helps documentation too
Units intelligence has a ton of benefits, including the thorough documentation of the units used in a calculation.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that units automatically converting, multiplying, and cancelling means less work for you.
A word processor environment encourages writing
Blockpad looks and feels like a word processor (there are actual spreadsheets too, when needed).
Because of this, it’s more natural to write about what a calculation is doing and why it’s being done that way. This alone encourages better documentation, instead of working against it like conventional spreadsheets.
Plus point snap drawings for crisp sketches
Sometimes a sketch can explain something a thousand times better than words or calculations, and a good sketch is a blessing when it comes to understanding an old calculation.
That's why Blockpad incorporates drawings that feel like 2D CAD, so you can create clear drawings easily and keep them next to your calculations.
Get the full benefit of legacy calculations
Legacy files are incredibly important for a company, but taking advantage of them is challenging with conventional tools. An old spreadsheet file can feel overwhelming.
Blockpad makes it easier to do things right.
When you pick up an old Blockpad calculation, you feel more confident about the calculations in front of you, so you can move on with more pressing problems.