Part 3 in a 4-part weekly series on AutoCAD Electrical (see below for dates).
AutoCAD Electrical has proved to be a time-saving solution for documenting electrical controls. Even when they don’t fully implement AutoCAD Electrical, companies have found that they can save at least 25 percent of time compared to using standard AutoCAD. Additional time savings come from being able to run audits to verify designs and extract information from the drawings like BoMs and wire reports.
One of the major differences between AutoCAD Electrical and standard AutoCAD is the use of projects. Projects allow you to group drawings together, enabling you to link one drawing to another. You can think of a project as the “parent” and all the listed drawings in the project as the “children.” Additionally, there is a project database that goes with every project that contains all the settings in the project and all the information in each drawing. This database is updated behind the scenes. However, there is also a special tool that allows you to update it at any time to ensure, for example, that it is up to date before running reports. Under most conditions, you do not need to worry about updating the project database since the software does this automatically. Best practices are to have the project and drawings in one folder, with the project name matching the Windows folder name.
Each project has properties associated with it called Project Properties. Project properties control settings and configurations as they relate to the project. These are the common configurations that every drawing in the project shares. As an example, the project has a name that relates to every drawing in the project. This project name, location, date, etc. may need to appear on every drawing.
Every drawing in the project has properties associated with it called Drawing Properties. Drawing properties are like project properties but are unique to each drawing. As an example, each drawing has its own unique description. Another example would be unique wiring details on the individual drawings, like PLC Addressing, but not every drawing in the project needs this. Drawing Properties are used when running update tools that come with AutoCAD Electrical. Best practices are to keep the project and drawing properties the same and only change the drawing properties that must change. There is also a tool that allows you to compare the project and drawing properties!
If you’re not using the AutoCAD Electrical toolset for productivity gains, contact Graitec Group today to start saving time on documenting your electrical controls.
Examples of Project and Drawing Properties
The first tab is different for the project and drawing properties. Additionally, there are some differences throughout the other tabs that are specific to project requirements.
Project and Drawing “Settings Compare . . .”:
Dialog for updating the title block and an updated title block
Title block attributes are mapped to the AutoCAD Electrical project and drawing properties.
Update Title Block dialog example:
Example title block that has been updated:
Whether you are using AutoCAD or familiar with its processes, moving to AutoCAD Electrical to complete your controls designs is a choice that will save you time. Even if you only implement AutoCAD Electrical for the project and title block updating functionality, you will save a substantial amount of time compared to using standard AutoCAD.
And there’s MORE!
The following links are for other articles in this AutoCAD Electrical series by Todd Schmoock, Top Rated Speaker at Autodesk University 2023:
Part 1 The ABCs of Choosing AutoCAD Electrical – December 18, 2023
Part 2 How to Use AutoCAD Smart Blocks – December 26, 2023
Part 4 Producing BoMs and Other Reports – January 8, 2024
Check out these popular webinars on AutoCAD Electrical for other insights into saving time on your electrical controls drawings: