Managing and Creating Wire Layers in AutoCAD Electrical

Posted on February 16, 2017 by Synergis’ Application Consultant, Todd Schmoock

AutoCAD Electrical does not ship with pre-defined wire layers.  The default layer created when inserting the WD_M.dwg block is WIRES.  This means that users have to create their company wire layers when they create their templates.  AutoCAD Electrical has tools to create and manage wire layers which need to be used so electrical knows what are valid wires to add wire numbers to.  Some companies do not care and the default wires layer works for them, but if you do want company style wire layers then this tip will help you create them more easily and faster.

The tool to create and edit wire layers is Create/Edit Wire Type and is located on the Schematic tab under the Edit Wires/Wire Numbers panel:e1

In the Create/Edit Wire Type dialog box you have the options to add, remove, and make default wire layers.  There are parameters that can be identified which control the cells that assign the information and will automatically format the layer name cell:e2

Using the layer name format shown above, %S%1-%C, will create a layer based on the Size cell (%S), the User1 cell (%1), a hyphen (-), and the Wire Color cell (%C).  The user columns can be renamed through the project properties. You can add addition characters like hyphens, spaces, etc as required.  Some user characters like “/” & “\” are not allowed.  Using this example the Create/Edit Wire Type dialog box cells would look like this:e3

Typically you fill in the cells for each line and then move to the next line.  If you make a mistake you can right-click and select Rename Layer to correct it:e4

After getting a row done you can right-click and select copy and paste the information to the next row and then edit as required.  This method works, but can be very tedious if you have a lot of wire layers to add.  The better solution is to create your wire layer list in Microsoft Excel and then copy and paste it into the Create/Edit Wire Type dialog box.  You may already have an Excel spreadsheet with this information and you would not have to do anything but copy and paste.  Whether you have the information already, or you need to create it in Excel, paste it in sections to the Create/Edit Wire Type dialog box avoiding the Used and Wire Numbering columns.  This is due to the Wire Numbering column being a list box.  If you do create a new spreadsheet specifying your wire layers taking the time to format it like the Create/Edit Wire Type dialog box would be useful because you can just past all the cells from the spreadsheet to the Create/Edit Wire Type dialog box and not worry about avoiding the Wire Numbering column.

If you do create the spreadsheet to match the Create/Edit Wire Type dialog box the work flow would go like this:

Copy from Excel:


To the Create/Edit Wire Type dialog box selecting the first open cell in the Wire Color column:


Results are:


Now click OK in the Create/Edit Wire Type dialog box and open it back up again and the Wire Numbering column works as it should.

As you can see copying and pasting from Microsoft Excel will be much easier than entering all the data one line at a time, or copying and pasting in the Create/Edit Wire Type dialog box and renaming.  Once the information is in the Create/Edit Wire Type dialog box and you select OK and save the drawing you can use AutoCAD’s Design Center to manage the layers from one drawing to another.




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