In this article, I will present to you the different software for entering electrical/electrical diagrams and compare the solutions to get you started. I will introduce you to free professional solutions (QElectroTech), versatile online solutions (, professional and educational demonstration software (Schémaplic) and professional solutions available for students (Autocad electrical).

This article is intended for beginners, students, amateurs or Makers, who want to make electrical diagrams.

Electrical diagrams?

First of all, a diagram is a drawing or a plot that represents a technical construction in a simplified way. To produce these diagrams, we use graphic symbols, this is the language of diagrams, their drawing and their identification are standardized (IEC 61082 for symbols in electrical engineering), so that everyone can read the diagram. Attention ! the standards between countries are not always the same. Of course, quality software respects these standards.


The electrical diagram is a drawing that represents the electrical circuits of a sub-assembly or a complete installation. The purpose of the electrical diagram is to explain the operation of the system and to provide the necessary bases for its physical realization, commissioning and maintenance.

There are several types of electrical diagrams, respecting different standards and dedicated to certain areas, here is one of them:


The features of electrical diagram software

Formerly these diagrams were made on paper, but it is still very common for this means of drawing to be used during the pre-design phases.


You understand, you can make your “computer” diagrams with any drawing software, such as Paint or PowerPoint. But I really don’t recommend it, because thanks to computer tools, the software will provide us with a large number of features that will help us a lot in diagram entry. The main features are

  • Industrial drawing: Basic function of industrial drawing. Copy-paste, millimeter grid.
  • Generic libraries: Drawing software offers libraries of all kinds allowing, with a simple drag and drop, to draw a circuit breaker.
  • 2D/3D layout plans: To integrate your electrical elements into a cabinet or box.
  • Supplier libraries: in addition to offering the diagram of the sub-assembly, this library includes prices, 2D or even 3D imprints, and the specificities of each supplier.
  • Automations: to automatically number electrical wires, equipment numbering, generate nomenclatures, generate terminal block lists.
  • Process: allowing the follow-up, the verification, the validation of the diagrams. Allows you to manage configuration and evolution.
  • Collaborative environment: the most advanced software is integrated into a whole environment to facilitate the transition to a 3D representation, of an electronic card. It is also possible to manage collaborative work outside the software by using, for example, platforms such as GIT.
  • Simulation and calculation  : thermal simulation of box, calculation of currents, cable section, etc.
  • Types of format: The type of format is very important, in order to be able to share your diagrams, make them evolve or change software later. It is important not to lock yourself into a proprietary format.
  • Evolutions: it can be interesting to choose a software offering a version with more functionality, but paying to be able to evolve.

Diagram software

visio-1024x550-3360778 Microsoft Visio

The first type of software that I will introduce to you is diagram software. It is not dedicated to creating electrical diagrams, but it is versatile enough to do so. It is the pen/pencil/ruler replacement tool. Its strong point, and precisely its capacity for everything; whether it is an electrical or pneumatic diagram, a network diagram, a grafcet etc. The reference for this type of software is Microsoft Visio, but to make electrical diagrams you will need to obtain the PRO version sold for 800 € on the Microsoft site (the majority of students can benefit from a free license through the MSDNA of their schools), so I will offer you cheaper alternatives:  : This software is fully accessible online and is totally free. It allows to design qualitative diagrams. In particular, it includes a gigantic bank of shapes and models. In addition to that, the user can easily adapt and modify them since the proposed elements are easily editable. It is the ideal tool for beginners.

Dia: Dia is a popular structured diagramming program among Linux users. Dia is free software distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL. It offers a multitude of elements, including an electrical library.

yEd Graph Editor : very similar to dia, except much more powerful and proportionally harder to use. It does not have an electrical library

Lucidchart: is an online tool, complete and intuitive. It has very good compatibility with other software. It can be used from any internet browser. But the free version is limited to small diagrams, and you will have to pay a license €4.95/month. In addition, its electrical library is very limited.

Edraw MAX: is a professional solution alternative to Microsoft Visio that allows you to design many diagrams and graphics templates useful for many needs: project management, architecture, development or even in education. Special mention to the many models available that cover many needs. The price is 170 € on the site.

electrical diagram software

Like mind map software , this software allows you to map your installation. There are thus several diagram software editors:

maxresdefault-1024x576-1-9443404 Autocad Electrical

There is specialized software for diagram entry, with dedicated functions such as BOM generation or wire numbering. This software is dedicated to the creation of electrical diagrams, so they are slightly harder to learn than the examples of diagram software, but once mastered, you will save a lot of time.

QElectroTech: QElectroTech is an Open Source software designed to produce electrical diagrams. Usable for simple and independent diagrams, the application can also manage projects with embedded collections listing the categories and elements used in all diagrams. The software is mainly used by drag and drop and has many tools used for links, parameter settings or even purging unnecessary elements. QElectrotech is a very complete software since it even allows you to draw your own elements with their behavior. A resolutely “pro” software in many aspects, but free.

ProfiCAD: It is an economical and easy-to-use software designed for drawing diagrams, electronic and electrical diagrams as well as control circuit diagrams. It can also be used for drawing pneumatic, hydraulic and other types of technical diagrams. The non-commercial (Home) edition is distributed free of charge and has some limitations: it does not support BOM, netlists (netlist), wirelists, grid reference, block editor title and a few others.

Scheplic: is a software for editing and simulating electrical, pneumatic and energy diagrams. This software is aimed at professionals as well as students or trainers. Scheplic offers a library of very rich components (motors, relays, contactors, pneumatic elements, etc.). Scheplic also offers a simulation module, very useful for testing these circuits. A very complete free version is available and the upgrade to the pro version costs 95 €. Scheplic is widely used in the world of education.

XLPRO3 from the manufacturer Legrand: is a professional business software for the table maker. Hagercad.T: is an equivalent solution from the manufacturer Hager. They allow the design of electrical panels and the costing of tertiary distribution panels

SEE Electrical Free: is the free version of SEE Electrical. It offers the same functionality as the “Basic” version, but is limited to 3 circuit diagram pages per project. SEE electrical has been a very complete reference solution for electrical CAD for more than 30 years. SEE Electrical covers all the electrical schematic needs of small and medium-sized businesses.

DS Electrical: Is the free version of the Solidworks electrical software. It offers the same functionality, but the number of schematic pages is limited to 3 pages (including wiring diagrams) per project, and the total number of documents is limited to 15 per project, but the number of projects is unlimited.

WinRelais: allows you to create single-line, multi-line, architectural and developed diagrams, for building and industry. An evaluation version is available for anonymous and free download. The full version license is offered at a modest price. There is also a reduced education rate (for students/teachers/schools).

I couldn’t finish this article without mentioning the market leader, which is AUTOCAD Electrical, unfortunately it does not offer free versions. But it still offers a free version for education.

Good drawing of diagrams. Feel free to contact me or leave comments if you have any questions.

Was this helpful?