How to assign an "identity" to an item?

The specific question: using Autocad 2000, how can an "identity" (handle/label/name/ID) be associated with a rectangle (or line) such
that it shows up in a DXF export?
More info: I am not an Autocad user. I need to know the X & Y coordinates of hundreds of rectangles and lines in some drawings created by a co-worker. I've studied the DXF file format and have figured out how to extract the info I need (using a little Visual Basic program). But, it's difficult for me to know exactly WHICH line or rectangle I'm working with. If the drafter could assign an pre-determined identity to each one (in the drawing), then I could extract that also and proceed with what I need to do.
I see that each "entity" in the DXF file has a "handle". But it appears that Autocad assigns this value. I need something that can be assigned as a known value (like "ABC123").
Any suggestions?
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HiHo; XDATA will do that and more.

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