What kind of electrical CAD software is most used?


Thread Starter


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

William Hinton Sr. Electrical Engineer @

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

Sajid Ali Khan

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

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.
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 (http://www.iDesignOffice.com) 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.

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


James Ingraham

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.
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.