Online assistance for electrical trade people in New Zealand and Australia Login  |  Register  |   Forgot Password
Assistance for electrical trade people




Click here to send Ron a pdf document for publication on this Topic

Documents must be less than 200k in pdf format

Posted By Topic: Software for making up electrical plans

Feb 16 2019 17:10

Just wondering what software other people are using for adding sockets and lights etc. to existing pdf drawings for new builds?

Feb 16 2019 20:35

typically autocad, if the PDF was created with autocad then autocad can easily import the PDF

Feb 16 2019 23:11

Thanks Greg but at almost $3k a year it's a bit rich for me unfortunately.

Feb 16 2019 23:16

Visio is a one off fee of $199 anybody had any joy with pdf files with that? Unfortunately there is no free trial, but from what I have read you can convert pdf files to work with it.

Feb 16 2019 23:47

With Visio you can use the PDF as a background image layer, and build your electrical layers over the top.

Feb 17 2019 00:10

You may have to convert the PDF to a JPG for the background image - but I haven't used the current version of Visio so I'm not exactly sure of the procedure.

The other difficulty might be getting the symbol libraries you need. I'm not sure which symbols are included.


Feb 17 2019 09:39

Hi DougP thanks for that, I have talked to the guys offering the software and they say the electrical package is included at the price stated above so it looks like Visio is what I will be switching to. I tried a NZ brewed program but it seems to have a few teething issues that I can't be bothered working through although the developer was very communicative and quick to respond. Any comments on what the Visio you have is like to use?

Feb 17 2019 11:57

Some simple advice I can give you... is work on some template drawings for your business with title block etc (VST) templates. Have the title block and any logo etc on their own layer(s).

Set them up to print correctly to scale for your printing preferences (A3, A4 etc).

And then re-scale and make additional templates at the different scales 1:10, 1:25, 1:100 and one of each, for each the different print layouts (A3, A4 etc).

It isn't so important for just laying out electrical symbols, but if you ever add any building elements (doors, walls, windows etc), they will work to the drawing scale.

Other than that, get your head around using the layers, and layer print and view options... for example, light might be on one layer, power on another, ventilation on another..

And figure out how to use the base plan as a background - either PDF or JPG... Work out how to clean up (delete) clutter from the base drawing as well before using it. That might be simplest if it was a JPG, then you can use simple editing software to either erase, or cut and paste blank parts over the clutter on the drawing.

Feb 17 2019 12:04

Here's part of a simple example...

Also notice how the markings are on top of the base drawing - there's settings for that somewhere (memory fading...)

Feb 17 2019 12:07

I have used both AutoCad Lite (about$600 per year) and Viso Pro, which is about $1500 outright or $18 per month if you sign up for 12 months. Visio Pro can cerate a page which you set as a background and works very well. I have designed compex control panels with both products. I like Visio more but I think that is because I have been using it since the 1st version. Visio Pro can also import 2013 or earlier CAD DWG files. Thery only stay as blocks but it you can then lock that block and draw on top of it.

Feb 17 2019 12:13

Where are you getting the $199 one off price from?

There's a "try for free" option here..

Feb 17 2019 14:20

Those are Visio online where you have to pay a subscription every month.
Have a look here
Thanks for the tips by the way, pretty much the same methods as that kiwi home brew program I was playing with.

Feb 18 2019 12:27

Have a look at DraftSight the basic 2D program is free and the professional program is also available. It reads DWG and DXF files and saves to these formats. Produced by same company as Solidworks.
I used to use Autocad Lite but since retiring and only doing odd jobs I have used Draftsight without a problem the procedures are almost the same. Also a lot of info, training, reviews on the Web.


Feb 18 2019 12:55

Thanks frostybird I am using visio pro 2016 at the moment and it seems to do all I want.
Just found it for sale under $70 NZ so it'd not that bad for a lifetime licence with support.

I will have a look at your suggestion though.

Feb 18 2019 16:20

There is no need to buy an expensive Cad program, although it can save you quite a bit of time if you do.
Autocad electrical is a bit costly, but it does come with quite a few symbol libraries etc that will do this - save you time if you can find the $.
If you want a cheap no-frills autocad clone, Draftsight is pretty good. I think it is produced by the makers of Solidworks. If you want to use this commercially you are supposed to pay for it - about $100 a year iirc, but you can run in free mode without restriction. Draftsight will give you full autocad functionality, saves drawings in .dwg or .dxf formats etc. but you will not get the nice symbol libraries and will spend more time than necessary to turn out the first drawings, but like all cad systems the more you use it the easier it gets.