Untangle a Schematic Mess with Wire Labels and Styles

   By on March 24, 2021

We have all experienced the ugliness of tangled wires that create a virtual rat’s nest that leads to frustration. On a small scale, behind your television or computer desk, that is something you can work through. As an engineer working on schematics that can include thousands of feet of wiring, you must have a system for labeling all of these connections.  This will not only help with the build but with maintenance and troubleshooting down the line.  Luckily, SOLIDWORKS Electrical has built-in tools that efficiently handles this issue with automated ease.  

Setting Up Wire Styles

To set up wire styles, access the Wire Style Manger. This can be found under the project tab in the ribbon menu under configurations.

SOLIDWORKS Electrical Project Tab

The Wire Style Manager allows the user to create, edit and view all wire styles and is unique to each project. If you want to save a specific configuration, create a template and the Wire Style Manager will be embedded into the template.

Labeling Wires

There are two different methods to label wires in SOLIDWORKS Electrical that can be chosen in the Wire Style Manager. One uses “wire” which will give each wire from an equipotential a different number. The other uses “equipotential” which gives all wires on the same equipotential the same number. An equipotential is a name applied to two dimensional lines where every point of a line has the same potential. The electric potential of lines is normally defined by naming convention of a wire style. 

SOLIDWORKS Electrical Wire Style Manager


Once the Wire Style Manager is accessed, go into wire properties and edit the wire and equipotential formula. The information displayed over the wire is controlled by the numbering method selected and the formulas set up by the user.

SOLIDWORKS Electrical Wire Properties

To edit either formula, click on the Formula Manger button (f_x) which can be seen off to the right in the image above. In the Formula Manager, navigate to the variables and simple Formulas tab to create the formula. Using the description column, you can determine what information the simple formula will represent. You can also save a formula you have created to be used on other wires. Once saved, the formula will appear in the predefined formulas tab.

SOLIDWORKS Electrical Formula Manager

When you are ready to label the wires, go to the process tab in the ribbon menu and select Number New Wires. A window will open asking to renumber wires without modifying the existing ones. Click yes. All wires in the project will be given a label with the information configured in the Formula Manager. To the right of this, you will see a button called renumber wires.

SOLIDWORKS Electrical Renumber Wires

If any changes are made to a formula for a particular wire style, use the command Renumber Wires. Select the option Recalculate the Wire numbers and your changes to the formula will be reflected in the wire label. When the user activates this command, a window will open and they will be presented with the options to remove wire numbers, number new wires and recalculate existing wire wire marks, and recalculate wire numbers. The user can execute this command in a specific location. In the field named “selection” the user can choose where the command will be executed. When you select the option to remove wire numbers, be sure to number new wires and recalculate existing wire marks or recalculate the wire numbers otherwise the wires will not receive a label.

I hope this helps you to understand a little more about how SOLIDWORKS Electrical can help you create a powerful and efficient design while giving you back some time in your workflow process. Watch our full on-demand webinar on this topic to learn more.

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Cameron Cintula

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