Electrical engineering drawing automated using AutoLISP in AutoCAD

Electrical engineering, a field brimming with precision and complexity, demands tools that can streamline processes and enhance accuracy. Enter AutoCAD, a cornerstone in design and drafting. But what really elevates AutoCAD’s capabilities is AutoLISP. This powerful scripting language, tailored for AutoCAD, makes automation not just possible but efficient. When it comes to electrical design, AutoLISP provides a spectrum of functionalities that can transform a tedious task into a swift click.

Key Takeaways:

  • AutoLISP Amplifies AutoCAD: At the intersection of electrical engineering and design lies AutoLISP, supercharging AutoCAD with tailored automation capabilities.
  • Efficiency and Precision: Tasks like generating single-line diagrams or plotting multiple sheets become streamlined, saving both time and reducing human error.
  • Customization is Key: Whether it’s creating bespoke electrical symbol libraries or automating specific drawing routines, AutoLISP offers unmatched customization to cater to unique project needs.
  • Data Handling Made Simple: From importing/exporting data between software to generating detailed reports, AutoLISP handles data seamlessly, making documentation and analysis a breeze.
  • Quality Assurance: AutoLISP not only simplifies design but can also be used to check drawings for inconsistencies or errors, ensuring the highest quality of work.
  • A Bridge to Modern Design: The marriage of electrical engineering principles with AutoLISP’s automation capabilities represents a shift in the design paradigm, pushing the boundaries of what’s achievable in electrical drafting.

List of tasks in electrical engineering drawing that can be automated using AutoLISP

Here’s a list of tasks in electrical engineering drawing that can be automated using AutoLISP in AutoCAD:

  1. Drawing electrical symbols and components
  2. Creating and updating circuit diagrams
  3. Generating cable schedules
  4. Labeling and numbering components
  5. Automating wire numbering
  6. Generating Bill of Materials (BOM)
  7. Calculating total wire lengths
  8. Placing junction boxes and terminals
  9. Automating panel layouts
  10. Creating connection diagrams
  11. Automating layer management specific to electrical standards
  12. Generating and updating cross-references
  13. Checking for drawing inconsistencies or errors
  14. Importing and exporting data to/from other software
  15. Generating PLC I/O drawings
  16. Automating drawing scale and viewports for electrical sheets
  17. Applying and updating attributes for components
  18. Creating and editing power distribution diagrams
  19. Automating lighting layouts
  20. Generating cable tray layouts
  21. Creating conduit runs and routing
  22. Automating single line diagrams
  23. Batch plotting of electrical sheets
  24. Creating custom electrical symbol libraries
  25. Generating reports (like wire lists, terminal reports)

How can AutoLISP help to automate tasks in Electrical engineering?

Let’s delve into how AutoLISP could assist in automating each of these tasks in electrical drafting:

Drawing Electrical Symbols and Components:
AutoLISP can create a function that, upon execution, prompts the user to select a symbol type from a list. After selection, the program can automatically draw or insert the desired electrical symbol in the drawing. This saves time and ensures uniformity.

Creating and Updating Circuit Diagrams:
AutoLISP can be used to link electrical components in a drawing. For instance, when you draw a wire between two components, the script can recognize the connection and update the circuit accordingly. If you change one component, the program can highlight or update related circuits.

Generating Cable Schedules:
By scanning through a drawing and identifying different cable types and their quantities, AutoLISP can automatically create a table or schedule that lists all used cables, their lengths, types, and other relevant data.

Labeling and Numbering Components:
AutoLISP can sequentially number or label components based on their type or location. For instance, if you draw ten resistors, the program can automatically label them R1 through R10.

Automating Wire Numbering:
When wires are drawn, AutoLISP can assign unique numbers or codes to each wire, making it easier to identify and trace them in complex drawings.

Generating Bill of Materials (BOM):
AutoLISP can scan an entire drawing, count instances of each component type, and generate a table listing all components, quantities, and other necessary details. This can then be exported or printed directly from AutoCAD.

Calculating Total Wire Lengths:
By analyzing the lengths of lines representing wires in the drawing, AutoLISP can calculate the total length of each wire type, which can be useful for procurement and installation.

Placing Junction Boxes and Terminals:
AutoLISP can identify points where multiple wires intersect or where connections are required and suggest or automatically place junction boxes or terminals there.

Automating Panel Layouts:
For standardized panel configurations, AutoLISP can automate the layout process. Given inputs like panel dimensions and required components, it can arrange these components optimally within the panel.

Creating Connection Diagrams:
By understanding the connections made in a drawing, AutoLISP can auto-generate connection diagrams that show how components are interlinked, which simplifies the assembly and troubleshooting processes.

Automating Layer Management Specific to Electrical Standards:
AutoLISP can be used to automatically assign components and elements to specific layers based on electrical standards. For example, it could ensure that all lighting elements are placed on a “LIGHTING” layer and that this layer has a specific color and line type.

Generating and Updating Cross-references:
For drawings with multiple sheets or related components, AutoLISP can create cross-references. If you have a relay on one sheet and its contacts on another, the program can indicate where each part is located across sheets.

Checking for Drawing Inconsistencies or Errors:
AutoLISP can run checks on a drawing, ensuring that all components are connected correctly, no wires are left unconnected, and symbols are used consistently. It can then alert the user to potential issues.

Importing and Exporting Data to/from Other Software:
AutoLISP can bridge AutoCAD with other software by formatting and exporting drawing data in a way that’s compatible with another program or by importing data and representing it appropriately in the drawing.

Generating PLC I/O Drawings:
Given input/output data for a PLC, AutoLISP can generate drawings that showcase the connections and components. This can be particularly helpful when dealing with large PLC systems with numerous I/O points.

Automating Drawing Scale and Viewports for Electrical Sheets:
AutoLISP can set a standard scale for electrical sheets and automatically generate viewports that adhere to this scale, ensuring uniformity and readability across the project.

Applying and Updating Attributes for Components:
AutoLISP can automatically populate component attributes (like manufacturer, model, and specifications) based on a predefined library or database. If component attributes change, the script can also update them across the drawing.

Creating and Editing Power Distribution Diagrams:
AutoLISP can assist in laying out components for power distribution, ensuring they are spaced and connected correctly based on user inputs and predefined standards.

Automating Lighting Layouts:
Given room dimensions and lighting requirements, AutoLISP can calculate optimal placement of light fixtures, ensuring uniform illumination while adhering to standards.

Generating Cable Tray Layouts:
AutoLISP can assist in laying out cable trays based on the number and type of cables, ensuring that they adhere to capacity and bending radius guidelines. Given the start and end points, it can find an optimal path for the tray.

Creating Conduit Runs and Routing:
AutoLISP can be programmed to determine the most efficient path for conduit runs based on building or site layout. Given starting and ending points, it can consider obstacles, bends, and other factors to generate an optimal conduit route.

Automating Single Line Diagrams:
With predefined symbols and components, AutoLISP can automatically generate single line diagrams based on input data about the electrical system, such as sources, loads, and interconnections.

Batch Plotting of Electrical Sheets:
Instead of manually sending multiple sheets or layouts to the printer, AutoLISP can be set up to batch plot a series of drawings with predefined settings, ensuring consistency and saving time.

Creating Custom Electrical Symbol Libraries:
AutoLISP can assist in generating and organizing custom symbol libraries. Users can define new symbols, and the program can place them in a library, ensuring they are easily accessible for future use.

Generating Reports (like wire lists, terminal reports):
AutoLISP can scan a drawing to extract relevant data, such as wire numbers, lengths, terminal connections, and more. This data can then be compiled into organized reports, which can be exported to other formats or printed directly from AutoCAD.


In the intricate realm of electrical engineering, having a trusty sidekick like AutoLISP can make all the difference. By weaving automation into AutoCAD, it empowers engineers and drafters to focus on the core design principles, letting the program handle repetitive tasks. The synergy between electrical engineering and AutoLISP in AutoCAD signifies the evolution of design practices, combining traditional knowledge with modern efficiency. It’s more than just a tool; it’s a revolution in electrical design.