Working with Macros in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

Macros are a time saver when reusing elements in one or multiple projects.

Macros in SOLIDWORKS Electrical provide a way for you to quickly and easily reuse work that you have done in the past on any of your drawings or projects going forward. Users can think of Macros essentially as a “favorites” list of anything that you would like to keep on hand to be used again and again.

Macros can be accessed from the task pane and in case user do not have the star icon showing up here, we can go to the view tab on the ribbon and toggle the star icon to show it.


There are a handful of default categories shown here, which we can edit or delete by right-clicking on them or we can right click below and create a new group, so that we can organize macros in a way that makes sense.

We’ll create a new group for this example and we’ll call it “motor circuits.” The new group is added and available for us to add any macros that we would like.


Adding a macro is quite easy. Just select the items that we would like to add and drag-and-drop them into the category where we would like to add it. When we do, a pop up appears where we can specify properties for it, like a name and description.


We’ll click OK and the macro is added.

To use a macro, we can click and drag it out of the task pane and drop it on a drawing. Following the tutorial video above, we’ll drop it onto the same drawing where the original came from, but keep in mind that once it is added to a macro library, we can use it on any sheet or any project.

When we release the mouse to place it, a pop-up appears with a few very useful options.

For the items included in this macro, we can specify if we would like to associate them with items that already exist in the project or create new ones.


For this example, perhaps we would like to add a new component for the motor, but leverage the existing terminal strip in the project. For the component, we can create a new mark and for the terminal strip we can keep the existing mark.

When we click “Next,” we can associate the marks that are coming in from the stored macro with items that already exist in the project it’s going into. In this case, we can associate the locations stored in the macro with the location in the project.


We’ll click on it in the list and then click “Associate.”

We’ll choose the same location as the original and click Select. We’ll click Next and we can repeat the process for any functions that were associated with the original. We’ll skip equipotentials for now.

On the components screen, we could associate the motor with an existing mark, but in this case we would like the motor to go ahead and get a new unique mark.

On the terminal strips page, we would like to associate the terminal strip with the same terminal strip that is being used in the original instance so that the terminal numbering for this new instance is continued from the original.


For the terminals, these will also be their own new marks that will be created on the terminal strip so we will skip over this one. We’ll also skip the wire styles.

Lastly, we can see a summary of items that are being added to the project from this macro, as well as items that are coming in with the macro that are being merged with existing items in the project, such as the terminal strip that we associated it with.


We’ll click “Finish” so we can see the result.


Here we can see the terminal strip kept the existing mark in the project and continued the numbering for the wires. The motor component has a new unique mark, indicating that this is a new component that was added in the project when we brought in the macro.

In summary, Macros are a lot like copying and pasting items that we’ve placed in a project. If we have a couple of projects open at the same time, we can copy and paste from one project to another, but having macros saved in the task pane makes it quick and easy to access anything you might be using again and again.

Similar to copying and pasting, the macros you add in your projects are independent from the original macro stored in the task pane. In other words, we can place a macro on a drawing, make any changes we need and since it is not linked to the macro stored in the task pane, only the instance we are working with in the project will be affected.

Macros can be a great timesaver for bringing in items that have everything you need already, or to use as a starting point for something that is very similar to it.

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