SOLIDWORKS, Electrical Design

Get to Know SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic

By Tim Pulaski on January 29, 2018

Many types of software can draft a schematic, but very few can actually automate the process and produce things like bills of material, wire run lists, net lists and other necessary documentation for manufacturing. SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic is one of the few - with its ability to automatically capture properties as you design to later be accessed and collated to produce those usually time consuming associated documents.

To better explain this process we will draft a basic circuit in SOLIDWORKS Electrical, show the shared parts library, define a harness assembly and look into that aspects of the software.

>> Watch out on-demand webinar to get to know SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic or keep reading for more information

What is SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic?

SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic is a 2D drafting tool that allows you to create schematics like the screenshots below. It does not require a license to run as it is completely independent from SOLIDWORKS itself. The software also manages these schematic drawings in a project browser like the one circled on the left of the image below. 

SOLIDWORKS Electrical review

Note: A project browser allows you to organize all the drawings associated with a project and include links to associate a project with a document like a product spec sheet. This is aspect of the software key is what makes your design detailed and efficient.

As you draw wires in SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic it automatically captures properties of them from gauge, jacket color and even manufacturer name and part number. This information can later be used to format manufacturing documents.

Symbol Library

The software also holds a symbol library that gives you access to over 2,500 standard symbols. These symbols are seen in the webinar in place of the motor is being duplicated from scratch. Once a symbol is inserted, the document automatically updates the symbol properties and allows you to specify further information like the manufacturer part number found in the database Manufacturer Part Selection. That library also allows you to download other specified electrical component information and assign them to your projects. There is also a symbol shortcut to store your most used or favorite symbols. 

Terminal Strips and Multi-Conductor Cables SOLIDWORKS Electrical Terminal Strip

SOLIDWORKS makes terminal strips and multi-conductor cables just as simple to use. By drawing a line across a set of wires and choosing the orientation for that terminal, you can then take those terminals and add them to an existing terminal strip already implemented in the project. 


Multi-conductor cables can be inserted by right clicking an assigning an existing cable to replace the chosen wires in the project design. This automatically replaces the labels and properties of the wires to that of the cable conductors. 

Reusing Content

As we have mentioned, SOLIDWORKS makes it easy to capture information from the drawings and save it into the shared library. In the webinar, this is shown through power distribution by adding power to a circuit. By saving your current drawing as a macro in the library, it becomes available for you and others to reuse between pages or projects. Simply drag and select the circuit then click and drag it into the library where you can add a name or other properties, then just click "OK". 

This works well if you're running out of room on a page as well. The webinar and the image below shows an example of connecting wires on one page to another drawing using an origin destination arrow or "Off Page Reference". This task will connect the page as well as ease navigation between them.SOLIDWORKS Electrical Origin Destination

Note: By exporting these to PDFs they are saved as hyperlinks and now can be used electronically on tablets to replace large schematic printouts. This efficiently keeps designs updated and standardizes their use in the field. 

Another benefit featured in schematic is easily numbering new wires throughout the connected pages while retaining the existing count. There is a lot of flexibility in how you want them to be labeled based on page or type. 

Harness Documentation

To complete harness design in SOLIDWORKS simply select all the components to be included, right-click, then add those to a harness like H1 in the screenshot below. If you review the harness, all the wires, components and connectors are listed allowing you to later create a bill of materials. 

SOLIDWORKS Electrical Harness Documentation

Producing Associated Documents

Manufacturing documents like a bill of material or wire run lists will easily streamline your process and Electrical Schematic makes it easy as has been noted in the above examples. By keeping tract of properties in wires and components through your drafting, you can collate this information within the task "Reports," seen below. (10) Reports store templates of those inputted properties and that's what allows you to easily generate a bill of materials, PLC lists, list of cables tags, or a drawings list. You can also add lists not automatically shown or adjust one of existing reports through the Properties tab. 


All of these reports can be stored two different ways once the project is complete. You can export the information directly to Excel or you can generate and store the report within the project. For the second option, right-click on a folder in the project and click "Draw reports here" and it will automatically generate the assigned reports for that project. 

SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic holds numerous benefits and capabilities to stream your design work. From simplifying development of necessary associated documents, access to an integrated library database and team benefits with concurrent work ability, SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic increases efficiency while streamlining both your designs and the process itself. 

For more information on SOLIDWORKS Electrical watch the webinar below!