Excel Automation: Configuring Selectable Wire Styles in a SOLIDWORKS Electrical Project
Does your company have a lot of wire styles in SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic? Is selecting which wire style you need cumbersome? Does your project template have more wire groupings than you need in any given project? Do you find yourself constantly adding missing wire styles or groupings to projects?
If you have answered yes to any one of these questions, then excel automation might be the answer to your frustration. Excel automation is a built-in tool within SOLIDWORKS Electrical that allows you to add information to projects from your Macros Manager using excel. This can be utilized to create whole projects, add notes to various pages, or any repetitive task that can be configured by a given number of inputs.
In our case, we are going to use excel automation to add just the wire style groupings we will need in a specific project. It is worth noting that we have written about using project macros to add wire styles in the past. This time, we will library our wires into various macros and call upon those macros using an excel form.
First step is setting up our macros. To do this, simply create an empty project and draw/label your wire styles in groups on a schematic or in several schematics. In my case, I have grouped them on separate schematics by wire size and or function.
To create a macro, simply box select the elements you want to be grouped together and drag and drop these items into the macro pallet. Bonus points for creating a custom group for just your wire macros.
These macros can have their contents or properties tweaked in the macro manager.
Once we have organized our wire styles into various macros, we can jump on over into excel. In your application data folder, you will find a folder marked XlsAutomation. Within this folder, is an excel automation template. We can use this template to setup up our form. You will need to include the macro name, insertion point information, schematic sheet, and a column for whether the named macro should be included in your project.
Here is an example.
You can also include a form tab that will drive the 1s or 0s for inserting the macros. This step is optional
Now that our excel automation project is setup, lets examine two cases in tandem along with the results. In the project on the left, we will insert all the wires styles available. On the project on the right, we will choose to only add the 12 AWG wires.
Excel form Inputs:
Excel results from form:
Excel Automation results:
Wire style manager results:
There you have it. We effectively have setup a system of adding precisely what wire groupings we would like to any given project. No more digging through hundreds of wire types or groupings that are used outside of your specific discipline. All we must do is configure the excel sheet, run excel automation, and delete all the generated schematics. Now we are off to the races in documenting our systems or harnesses in no time flat.
Sr. Application Engineer Specialist, Electrical
Computer Aided Technology, Inc