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What kind of electrical CAD software is most used?
what kind of electrical CAD software is most used by you guys?

I'm a freshman in this field. I'm wondering what kind of electrical CAD software is most used by you guys? Thanks

By William Hinton Sr. Electrical Engineer @ Delphi on 4 December, 2005 - 3:17 pm

The CAD software we and all of our suppliers use is AUTOCAD from Autodesk. They tell us that as of just a few years ago over 85% of all cad work was done using AUTOCAD.

I hope this helps

I agree that 'full' CAD s/w is not always required. If you are looking to produce loop based drawings then there is IDO software ( that creates loop & termination diagrams without CAD (design). If you need CAD drawings later you can export to AutoCAD.

An engineer can use this very easily since no CAD experience is required. Its just drag & drop. I found it easy to use too.


By Sajid Ali Khan on 5 December, 2005 - 11:47 pm

Dear Enquirer,

There are mostly two universal CAD softwares used, first is AUTOCAD from Autodesk and second is Microstation from Intergraph. Both of these softwares are for all types of Engineering Drafting and require extensive training and application to get good results. Normally, Engineers have other assignments than drafting themselves, therefore services of CAD draftsmen are utilized to get professional results in the shortest time, although through experience and dedication any Engineer can work his way in CAD.

There is another category of CAD that I call Presentation CAD, Microsoft's Visio is the leader in the field. This is very useful for either beginner or even Experienced Engineers. The learning curve is fast and output graphics are presentable. There are easy to use tools to produce excellent graphics and numerous libraries representing graphics from varoius fields of Engineering. Any Engineer can utilize Visio to produce good results, communicate graphically with others, put his ideas quickly and copy and paste his drawing in MS Office Applications.

My suggestions to all engineers is to start in Programs like Visio and then if really needed progress to full bodied CADs.

Sajid Ali Khan

By Chris Ingersol on 13 November, 2007 - 11:58 pm

I agree with Sajid Ali Khan when he suggests Visio because it is so easy to learn. However, Visio lacks some features of other Electrical packages. This is in my opinion fully addressed by a product called Engineering Base which adds SQL database to Visio. Actually it does much more than that. "Atributes" of the Visio shapes are actually records in the SQL database. The atributes are not created using the clumsy Visio tool but are defined on a global basis from the SQL database. A truly ground braking interface is included for global manipulation of all data. They call it a "Worksheet" - its like an Excel worksheet but you define what it shows. The worksheets are "live" dynamic view ports into the SQL data. I could go on but I suggest you look for "Engineering Base" on the web. It drastically changed the way we do buisness - we used to use the top selling product in the USA but we switched to Engineering Base and have never looked back.

AutoCad is not an electrical CAD program. You can buy an add-on for electro CAD. Probably the most used electro CAD program is Eplan, but in my opinion Eplan is to expensive.
Try E3.schematic from CIM-Team.

Try taking a look at Promis-e

By Mark Vyshkin on 7 December, 2005 - 10:22 pm

You could give a look at "PC schematic" software at


Promis.e of USA from

By Verhappen, Ian on 4 January, 2006 - 11:43 pm

You can also try Electrical Design Software by Scada Systems Ltd of Auckland NZ though it does require CAD to generate drawings. - Ian


Have a closer look at EPLAN, it is a great, user friendly and open electrical CAE/CAD software. Lots of possibilities, depending on your needs.

By engr98fs on 1 May, 2006 - 8:27 am

Can you suggest from where and how to get the basic training on ePlan (Electrical designing).

replay me on email:

Very easy to use, very fast and economical package based on Visio,


By sixpackflier on 20 January, 2007 - 2:11 pm

On a global basis, Eplan is by far the largest electrical CAD software. It has been around in Europe since the early 80's and thats all they do is electrical design.

By Anonymous on 6 March, 2007 - 11:40 pm

I work for ECT International and we produce Promis-e Electrical CAD Software. You should seriously consider our ECAD package. If you would like more information or a demo pack to trial contact our offices at for Asia Pacific. for North America. for Europe.

what kind of electrical CAD software is most used?
AutoCAD 2004 now. A few years ago I used MicroStation.

Eplan is the best package out there. It is expensive but on larger projects will save you considerable time with it's automatic wire numbering features. ACAD Electrical does have the same capabilities but I have not used it. You have to have an Autocad license also so this combination can be expensive. Eplan will send you a demo version if you contact them. You cannot print from the demo but it will give you an idea of what it is capable of. I am currently doing all my drawings in ACAD what is slow and painful for wire numbering but that is what this company has.


By Steve Hallam on 28 March, 2007 - 11:43 pm

Eplan licenses actually start from under £1000 for the compact version in the UK. I had a demonstration recently by one of there consultants and was really impressed. We bought the it after evaluating a number of electrical CAE packages. It's is so much better than using AutoCAD type packages for schematics. If you want a demo you could email the guy who demo'd it to us on rhowell @ rittal. co. uk.


By James Ingraham on 9 March, 2007 - 11:55 pm

Does anybody have market share numbers? THAT would be useful.

Over the last 10 years, the OVERWHELMING majority of what I have seen has been AutoCAD, without any additional ECAD functionality. Note that this is in the U.S. discreet manufacturing market.

I've certainly seen Visio, Promis-e, AutoCAD Electrical and others. (MicroStation is NOT made by Intergraph, by the way. It's from Bentley Systems. Intergraph makes the competing SmartSketch.)

If I were to pick something, I would go with AutoCAD Electrical, using the "No one ever got fired for buying IBM" theory of decision making.

-James Ingraham
Sage Automation, Inc.

I have used Promis-e for several years. It is too complex, takes too long to use and has too many errors.


You can have a look on PCschematic ELAutomation. It's an electrical CAD software. This most widely used by control panel / switchgear / SPM manuactures.

By Anonymous on 15 April, 2007 - 5:40 am

Elcad (by Aucotec, http://www is much easier t use then Eplan. Tech support is very good as well.

We are using PCSCHEMATIC AUTOMATION for the past 5 years and prior to that we had used AutoCAD 2004 for our electrical schematic drawings. But, PCSCEMATIC we found its very user friendly & easy to use for the users in this segment. We had tested more than 3 software prior to procure PCS and decide the best - PCSCHEMATIC.

By Anonymous on 5 June, 2007 - 5:04 pm


Have a look on Engineering Base. This is a new ECAD system from AUCOTEC. It is based on Visio and MS SQL-Server. You will be well prepared for he future!!!

Can anyone tell me what CAD does in electrical engineering?

By Glanford Control Systems UK Distributor on 17 June, 2007 - 2:21 pm

Beside the fact that it increases efficiency IDO produces accurate drawings reoeatedely because it works on the principle of Write Once Read Many. Therefore it eliminates the confusion between what the designer meant and waht the cad operator interpreted it as.

This results in error free designs and the project built to the design without downtime in construction and red line updates of drawings.

From Glanford Control Systems UK Distributor.

By Anonymous on 9 July, 2007 - 11:04 pm

I have tested Engineering Base from AUCOTEC and it is great. The standard applications Visio and MSSQL and that's optimized for CAE, that's what I like.

By Michael Galenkamp on 3 April, 2008 - 12:42 am

My name is Michael Galenkamp, and my company ID3 Solutions represents IGE+XAO in Ontario.

Since 1986, IGE+XAO has proven itself as the specialist in electrical CAD software worldwide, with the likes of Canadian companies Bombardier, Hydro Quebec, and Boeing and Airbus internationally. There are also great solutions for smaller companies. I personally have over eight years experience with SEE Electrical Expert (the premiere software package of IGE+XAO) and comparing it to other software I've seen in the past, is the best.

Please contact me for more details.

AutoCAD is the most prevalent electrical CAD drawing tool used in the US market. I don't know about elsewhere, but I suspect you'll find equally complex drawing tools used for simple electrical diagrams.

Consulting engineering firms and owners usually want all of their drawings in the same format. That seems reasonable until you note that mechanical and civil drawings are much more complex than electrical drawings. I'm referring to contours, measurements, and perspectives, not the subject matter. But we seem to be stuck with using the same drawing tools.

As electrical/controls student, you want show some competence on your resume in dealing with drawings, but not so much as you end up in a cubicle doing drafting.

By Chris Binns - Bentley Systems on 10 April, 2008 - 12:33 am

My name is Chris Binns I am one of the Product Managers within the Bentley Systems Plant Vertical.

At Bentley we have several offerings for electrical and instrumentation design:

Bentley Instrumentation & Wiring for process plant instrumentation design.

Bentley Promis.e for electrical control system design.

Bentley Building Electrical Systems for building information models.

As well these "vertical" applications we also have our platform CAD application MicroStation.

Please review the information found by clicking the links above.

Thank you.

Chris Binns - Bentley Systems

I have found Solutions Electrical very good,

It covers the CAD side of things, and the calculation/mathematical side of things too.

Very user friendly and really fast in performing the results. Very good support too.

By Wong Shing Keen on 23 October, 2008 - 2:39 am

Just use EPLAN and forget the rest. You may feels hard when you see them the first time but after the training, you will find it very easy to use and save a lot of your engineering time. :)

He is right. EPLAN is not even expensive as said earlier. Try the new EPLAN Electric P8. It comes with some many solutions, you will reach the end of your questions before EPLAN runs out of solutions.

In many countries, those you have tried the new EPLAN P8 are amazed by it. It's easy to use, and the most important part IT WORKS! No flaws or what some call bugs... No bugs, unbelievable. Finally a tool for my electrical design.

Try it, there is a free trial version available. Take only 1% of the time you know AutoCAD on EPLAN and see how much faster you already can be. It is amazing.

By Marc Sinclair on 7 November, 2008 - 5:54 am

I love it when an ad slips through. :)

Just for balance, EPLAN Electric P8 currently only runs under two operating systems, one obsolete and the other soon to be obsolete. The demo kept crashing, so I can't really try it, but I've seen the output it produces. Making your drawings look like everyone else's, is the first step to thinking like everyone else, and the first step to commoditising _your_ business.


By Jozef Koczor on 30 November, 2008 - 7:57 am

SEE Electrical (previous name was CADDY++) is an easy way for electricians who is working in Maintenance Departments in industry. You can test a trial version.

Jozef Koczor

Try SmartPlant Electrical from Intergraph


If anyone is considering purchasing software from solutions electrical read this first

By Mahenthiran on 8 December, 2010 - 1:54 am


I am the Regional Manager for Solutions Electrical Software.

Do visit our website for more info on our product offering, features and even view video live demos of the software in use.

You can also contact me directly for details

Mahen Thiran
Regional Manager
Solutions Electrical Software

By traatsaba on 23 April, 2009 - 3:56 pm

Very very very good software for making electrical projects, have been using it for years now

I agree that CADS Planner Electric is smart choice for electrical and automation design. it also have application for electrical installation drawings. Have used it for many years by now and am happy with CADS, also pricing is good.

By Roy Matson on 24 April, 2009 - 7:15 pm

I use Easy-Draw on my Mac, as the name suggests it's very easy to learn.



Has anybody got experience migrating autocad to eplan p8.


AUTOCAD files just go straight into P8 and some symbols can be made intellegent using a black box. EPLAN is the best CAE I ever used. Dont fall into the trap that AutoCAD electical is like using Autocad its not.

Is EPLAN more expensive than AutoCAD Electrical?

By James Ingraham on 19 November, 2009 - 10:04 am

> Is EPLAN more expensive than AutoCAD Electrical? <

It depends. When I priced them last, one seat of EPLAN was more expensive than one seat of AutoCAD Electrical. For three seats, it was about the same. Eplan also has several different levels that affect price, and a bunch of different options that can add up.

Both make you buy support for at least a year. Both make you go to training.

One or the other may be willing to negotiate more at a given moment in time.

-James Ingraham
Sage Automation, Inc.


I have been using EPLAN Electric P8. Already at the time I was generating my drawings in AutoCAD (which is mainly a mechanical tool) I had colleagues that were using EPLAN. That is back in the 90's. They were about 4 times faster then we were. When I started using EPLAN, I realized why... EPLAN is a real electrical CAD since day 1, they started 20 years before AutoCAD even thought about looking into serving the electrical people. You can add whatever you want on a tool, but if the foundation was not correct at first, it is hard to redirect. It is just cumbersome adding electrical features on a mechanical tool. Go right from the start, use EPLAN.


if you are looking at ePlan and AutoCAD Electrical you could also consider Zuken's E3.WireWorks products. Very powerful and is becoming increasingly popular with companies who use Solidworks in their mechnical design departments. There are a number of spots to find information on it. Here are a few.

I would like to recommend a CAD viewer for iPhone iPod called Drawvis. It uses DXF format and works with all major CAD systems. So now you can have all you schemes in your pocket.

Check Drawvis Free from iTunes

There is a software ETAP for electrical design. However I believe this is for high tension electrical system design – can you tell me what electrical softwares are sufficient for planning water treatment plants or any other process plant, where electrical systems are used, but are not primary concern.

I would like to recommend Electra E6.
It is an easy to use CAD software.

By Glen Decker on 15 January, 2013 - 12:55 pm

Hello room,

I just wanted to throw my two cents in on the subject. I've worked for quite a few companies in the electrical field. Of them, the GSN Technologies software stands out the most; in my head anyway. It was a couple of different programs, a suite if you will. Each of them was geared toward a different aspect of the design process. From load design all the way to installation tracking; the software was pretty cool. Here's a link to their website for ease...good Luck.

- JustXIt

Has anyone tried SCADA Systems, Elecdes Design Suite? I work in the Oil & Gas Industry & use Plant Design Suite. It looks like it pairs well with P3D & AutoCAD P&ID. We are considering making the commitment & are looking for feedback & opinions. Take a look:§ion=1

moderator's note: when copying and pasting long URLs, delete any spaces inserted by the forum software.


I find WSCAD software is very good, its easy to learn and easy to use! Its not overladed as ePlan and the price is also acceptable, I think.


kindly suggest me weather i go for solidworks Electrical , thanks you

kindly drop your comment on my mail please

There's AutoCAD plug-in "MeteorSpec" that calculates the specifications of cables.

Program has a Data Library where all the data about the cables you use are saved. Program can generate reports as specifications (summarized lengths per cable type) or as explications (list of all cable with detailed information). Program can be configured to use in any field of design where calculation of total lengths and total areas is needed.

Look at Autodesk Exchange apps or at

Now the "MeteorSpec" is completelly rebuild.

MeteorSpec LT is software toolkit for electrical designers. The software fully automates all electrotechnical calculations and computations of specifications in low-voltage distribution networks. Easily accessible calculators for electricians significantly speed up your work.

MeteorSpec LT consists of the following components:

MeteorSpec-NETWORK is software for simulation, analysis and calculation of 0.4kV distribution networks;
MeteorSpec-ELECTRIC is collection of various calculators for electrical designers and students;
MeteorSpec-PLINE is totally customizable multipurpose tool for summarizing lengths and areas of any objects that can be modeled >by lightweight polylines.

Look at Autodesk app store or at