How to Associate Symbols with Components in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

In the tutorial video above, we have a project with a schematic drawing, which has a couple of symbols in place. Each symbol has a unique mark of M1 and M2, meaning these are two separate components.

The mark designator in SOLIDWORKS Electrical is what determines that these are unique parts, and if we switch over to the components tab, we can see these are listed as unique components.




This components list represents the bill of materials for the project and should contain any and all unique components in the design.

Users may sometimes want to use multiple symbols, which represent the same component. A simple example of this might be a case where you have a component represented by a symbol on a schematic, and that same component represented by a different symbol on a wiring line diagram. Another example might be a case where you need more than 1 schematic symbol on the same schematic drawing to represent the same component.

Whatever the case might be, it is a simple process driven by the mark designator.

For the tutorial vide above, we’ll add a motor symbol to a line diagram to represent the same component as one of these in the schematic.

To do this, we’ll switch over to the line diagram and from the line diagram tab on the ribbon, we’ll click “Insert Symbol” to place a line diagram symbol of the motor.

When I click to place the line diagram symbol, the pop up appears where I can specify the properties.




The default assumption by the software is that we would like this symbol to represent a new component, so it automatically increments the mark to the next available unique number, which in this case is M3.

The prompt at the bottom indicates that M3 will be its own new component.

If we go to override the mark number with 1 or 2, the software prompts me that the mark already exists. Our choices are to either choose a different mark number to make it unique, or associate this symbol with the mark that identifies a component that already exists in the project.

To associate this symbol with an existing component, all we have to do is select it from the list above.




In this case we’ll select the existing M1 component and the prompt updates, letting us know that it will be associated with the component we selected.

We’ll click OK, and the symbol is placed on the drawing with the M1 mark.

If we switch back to the components tab and expand M1, here we can see both symbols that are being used in this project representing the same component.




To jump to either symbol where they are actually placed in the drawing, users can right-click and select “Go to.”

Associating Symbols with Existing Components

As users place symbols in their drawings, they can associate them with existing components, but what about a situation where you place a symbol down, and then later decide that it should be associated with an existing component?

In the tutorial video above, we’ll again open the line diagram and insert a motor symbol. When we click to place it, the popup appears where you can associate it with an existing component like we did a moment ago, but we’ll go with the default of using a new mark, or in other words, making this a new, unique component.

We’ll click OK, and the symbol is placed with the unique mark. If we switch over to the components tab, we can see if listed as a new component in the bill of materials.




However, what if we would actually like this new symbol to be associated with the other existing motor? If we double click on the symbol, a familiar pop up appears showing the component mark and other properties, but it is missing the pane on the right hand side that we saw a moment ago where we had associated the symbol with an existing mark.




This can be a bit confusing, but what we are looking at here are the component properties. We’ll cancel out of this.

This time, instead of double clicking on the symbol, we’ll right-click on it. When we do, notice there are options for “Symbol Properties” and “Component properties.”




Component properties is the default when you double click, but this time we’ll select Symbol properties and the pop up appears with the tree on the right where we can click on the component that we would like to associate this with and click OK.

When we do, the mark update appears in the symbol, and if we switch over to the components tab, the third component was removed from the project. If we expand the mark I associated it with, you can see it has both symbols from the schematic and line diagram associated with it.




In summary, users can associate symbols with existing components at the time they add new symbols to their drawings. This can also be done after the fact by updating the symbol properties – not the component properties.

As we will see in upcoming lessons, by having these symbols associate with the same component, when we do things like assigning a manufacturer part to a component and working with its circuits, both of the symbols will populate with the associated data, and our documentation on any and all sheets will stay connected.

You can learn more about SOLIDWORKS Electrical and the new capabilities in SOLIDWORKS 2016 by signing up for a free membership.


About the Author

Sam Sanchez is an Applications Engineer with SolidProfessor and a CSWP. Sanchez is an alumni of UC San Diego, and in her free time enjoys 3D printing and hanging out with her dog Ruby. You can see more training videos on a wide range of CAD, CAM & BIM topics at

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