Using DraftSight for Electrical Drafting

By Mike Walloch on

DraftSight is a general-purpose CAD tool which can be useful for any industry or discipline, including electrical drafting and design. You can use it to draw 2D schematics, wiring diagrams, pinouts, cable harnesses, electrical layouts for buildings, etc. If you have DraftSight Premium or Enterprise Plus, you could also do some 3D modeling to make sure that all of your your components will fit inside a particular enclosure. Making electrical drawings in DraftSight is not much different than making drawings of any other type. But there are a few special considerations to keep in mind.

draftsight electrical symbols

Electrical Symbol Libraries

You will need a library of electrical symbols in .DWG format you can insert as blocks. I long ago created my own, as I’m a bit of a perfectionist and wasn’t happy with the legacy library I was provided with. You may also already have one, but if not, you don’t have to spend the time to create electrical symbols from scratch. Dassault Systemes has provided two downloadable libraries, one for ANSI symbols and one for IEC symbols. View the SOLIDWORKS Library.

Template Files

Electrical drawings typically use some specialized layers to make sure you properly group similar elements of the drawing. For example, in a building layout you may want one layer for the location and wiring of lights and another for electrical outlets. In a schematic you may want different layers for each gauge of wire, one for wire tags, one for symbols, another for connectors, and so on. You’ll likely want to have an electrical template file (.DWT) prepared with the layers, dimension and text styles you need set up in advance. You can find the path for drawing template files by going to Options > File Locations > Drawing Support > Drawing Template File Location.

If you want to use nothing but custom templates, it would be a good idea to create a folder in a path outside of DraftSight’s default installation locations. That way future reinstallations of DraftSight will not accidentally eliminate or misplace your custom files. You can then replace the default Drawing Template File Location with your custom path.

ring terminals for draftsight

Importing Settings with Blocks

An alternative to using a custom template file is to have your layers, dimension, and text styles set up in a .DWG file you can insert into other drawings as a block. As soon as a .DWG is inserted into another all of the entities, layers, and styles contained in its drawing database are duplicated in the new file. You can even cancel the INSERT command before it’s complete, and the database will still be copied. This is a quick and easy shortcut for copying settings.

draftsight block settings

SOLIDWORKS Electrical for DraftSight

It is important to remember DraftSight is a general-purpose CAD application, not a specialized Electrical CAD, or ECAD, application. Your schematic may designate a blue line as a white 14 AWG wire, but as far as DraftSight is concerned a line is just a line. There is no built-in electrical intelligence as with ECAD products, such as SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic. That is where the SOLIDWORKS Electrical for DraftSight add-in comes into play.

Electrical Engineers, Designers, Technicians, and Drafters can enable communication between SOLIDWORKS Electrical and DraftSight. Once the add-in is enabled, any drawing sheet in a SOLIDWORKS Electrical project can be opened and edited in DraftSight, with no loss of ECAD intelligence! Even members of the team who are not SOLIDWORKS Electrical users can still contribute to electrical projects through DraftSight in the following areas:

  • Electrical Reports
  • Title Blocks
  • Symbols
  • Components
  • Terminal Strips
  • Wiring Order
  • Markups

If you’d like to know more about using DraftSight with SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematics, check out this 3DEXPERIENCE World 2022 technical session on the DraftSight YouTube channel: Extending the Value of SOLIDWORKS Schematics with DraftSight. 


DraftSight is a versatile CAD tool suitable for a variety of disciplines, including electrical drafting and design. Users can benefit not only from DraftSight’s current toolset, but also from decades of existing .DWG files, such as electrical symbol libraries and company-specific template files. Paired with SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic, DraftSight enhances an organization’s ability to edit and manage electrical projects. It also allows more members of the design team to collaborate and contribute during the design phase.