Working with plant database files

gCADPlus uses text files for many of the ‘smarts’ found in the gCADPlus drop-down menu. Automated plant schedules, tagging symbols, exporting schedules, etc. all rely on files that we call a gcp file. These gcp files function as master lists of plant species and are simple space-delimited text files that can easily be manipulated by spreadsheet tools such as Excel

We attach a gcp plant database file to a design created using gCADPlus. Think of this file as a simple text list of plants that you might use in a design. The figure below shows an example of one such file.

Note the order of fields: Botanical Name, Common Name, TYPE, CODE, POT SIZE, COST, CUSTOM. This order is important and must be maintained otherwise many of the smarts shown in the figure below will not work

gcadplus smarts

Tip: These text files are simple space-delimited ASCII files with the extension .gcp. As shown in the figure below, we include quite a number of these in your Windows Documents folder during the installation of gCADPlus.

Most files in the list above are pretty small and contain a limited number of species. The largest is a file called GardenCAD.gcp which has several hundred plant species to choose from. Clearly, it is not possible for us to provide plant database files for every locality. You can, however, make your own from scratch.

If you are able to obtain a text or Excel file of plant names from a local nursery, it is possible to quickly create a custom database file suitable for use with local plant species in gCADPlus (or GardenCAD).

Creating a gcp file from Excel data

Many nurseries can supply a list of plants in the Excel spreadsheet application. In the example shown below-the data was in CSV text form and to load it, I had to change the files of type to CSV. There are three columns of data. Note that neither the order of columns or headings does not match the gcp standard used by gCADPlus.

In order to use the data in gCADPlus, column headings and order need to be changed to match the standard as shown below.

Once that is done, (remembering that the file is still in CSV comma-separated format), the file is saved as a tab-delimited file (with the extension txt).

Finally, Windows Explorer is used to rename the file with a .gcp extension. That file will now load into gCADPlus using the gCADPlus drop menu > Plant Schedules and Lists > Attach gcp file

Here is an example of the file in use. We are adding some new codes rather than relying on (but still keeping) the nursery codes.

YouTube movie Here is a movie showing one example of the process outlined here.

YouTube movie We have received an unusual request. “How do you convert a plant database file (a gcp file) into a form that Exel will load. I need to rearrange the column order in Excel.”