Written by: Cheri Guntzviller, Electrical Application Specialist
SOLIDWORKS Schematic has some exciting changes for 2019. There are improvements throughout the software. Some you will see instantly while others are not as obvious.
The first thing you may notice when you open the software is that the icon images are less defined. This seems to follow the changes that were made to SOLIDWORKS in 2016 when all the icons had removed color and were bluer. I believe this change in color is to allow the user to focus more on the design instead of what is going on with the software features. In the older versions of the software, the user was assaulted with the color of everything that was happening in the software. This can be very distracting. The muted tones of the icons should help direct your eyes to your design.
Once a page is opened, another change that is not as noticeable is the size of the lower ribbon. The X and Y coordinates are larger, and so are the tabs for the drawing parameters, making it easier to select and identify whether selections are on.
In the past, many users asked why they could only dimension Cabinet layout in millimeters. Trying to use inch dimensions were a text insertion work around. The project template now has the capability of making this selection. Inches can now be used for all dimensioning in the project.
If you use line diagrams along with schematics, you may have run across this problem in the past: Renumber Component Marks would drive your components to select the line diagram symbol for the component mark rather than the schematic parent symbol. To get around this, users would have to make the line diagram symbol a child so that the mark would remain with the schematic symbol. The Project Configuration will now allow the user to select which symbol drives the component marks.
To reduce mouse clicks when designing, macros can be used for circuit reuse. A few more mouse clicks have been removed by adding an icon right on the schematic tab. Even with the macro browser closed, the insert macro function actuates the macro library for easier insertion.
A feature that most are not aware of is pertaining to the report generation. If you are like most users, you probably go to the report manager in order to generate the drawings from the project reports. To eliminate quite a few extra mouse clicks, there is functionality available right on the document tab when you right-click. This feature was actually introduced in 2018, but I felt was important enough to make you fully aware.
Hyperlinks have also been added to some new areas of the software. The first is located in the Inputs and Outputs of the PLC manager. There was no easy way to get to the drawing where a specific input or output was located. There is now a hyperlink that can be used from this manager to the symbol on the drawing.
Hyperlinks in reports were added in 2018. This was a feature that saved a lot of time and now has been enhanced even further. Once the drawings are generated from the report, the hyperlinks are still active now! This continues even through to the PDF when generated.
If you have ever wanted to convert a line diagram or a schematic to then be a mixed scheme, the only way to do this was a lengthy process. Converting a drawing is a simple mouse click now. Opening any line diagram or schematic properties gives you access to now changing the drawing type from line diagram or schematic to a mixed scheme. Why would you need this? Well, if you have ever been in the process of creating a schematic and wanted to added a line diagram to the same sheet and didn’t have the forethought to make the drawing a mixed scheme to begin with, then you were having to create a new mixed scheme and copy your entire circuit to the new sheet, delete the old sheet and finally continue with your design. (I have had to do this a number of times.)
When inserting a connector from the SOLIDWORKS Schematic templates, additional selections can now be made. The user has the choice of the radius corners, whether there is a background frame, and use of a zig-zag pattern for symbols that are broken between sheets.
These are just some of the improvements that have been made to the SOLIDWORKS Schematic software. Please let us know if there are enhancements that you would like –SOLIDWORKS listens to its customers and some of these enhancements came directly from people like you!