Insights

ElectroPlan Helpful Hints and How-To’s

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Open a Project

   Open a Project

Click this tool-bar button to open a previously saved project to import information from it into the currently open project. At the top left-hand is a case sensitive search box. Type the first characters of a project’s name to find the project by name. The list will change to show only projects starting with the letters typed into the search box The projects are listed initially in Project Name order. The order can be changed … see below. Once you have found the project – double click the line of the table or click the Open Project button.

Finding a Project using the Client Details — The columns of the project list show Company Name, Client Contact, Phone Numbers and Project Reference. To change to order of the list – click the column heading of the data you want the listing to be in. Clicking a second time will reverse the list order.

Importing Content from another Project — Find the project to import from as above then click the Import from Project button to bring up a selection screen of the data that can be extracted. (Client Data, Description of Work, Project Notes, Additional Items or a Selected Plan and its components and additional items – lines, images, text etc.).

Deleting a Project — Locate the project in the list as above and click the Delete Project button.

Housekeeping of Plan Image Files — (Registered edition only) There is additional tab that shows all the plan image files in the system an which projects in which they are used, and the number of times they are used. The list also includes images that are described in the project data file but are not actually present in the system. Individual images can be deleted by highlighting the image in the list and clicking the Delete Image button. There is also a button to Delete Unused Images to clear out all images that are not used in any project. Deleted image files are sent to the Windows Recycle bin or not according to the setting Send Deleted Files to the Recycle Bin in the Tools & Settings panel


Project Information Panel

Project Information Panel

The project information tab is always present on screen with its tab to the left of all the plan tabs.

Click on this tab to see, enter or change any information about the project ….

Client Details / Project Reference – Quote/Estimate/Proposal/Invoice plus reference / Price and Cost Information / Component Price Total / Additional Items / Project Notes / Safety Certificate / Certificate of Compliance Information / Update Prices / Project Mark-up Factor


Placing Components on a Plan

Placing Components on a Plan

Component Selector: At the left of the screen is the Component Selector. There are multiple tabs with various categories of components.

Select the Category and then click the component you want to use. The description, icon and price of the selected component are shown at the top of the panel.

Component Placement: The component is placed on the plan by clicking on the plan where it is to be located. The shape of the mouse cursor during placement and moving of a component can be set to one of 4 options (See Tools and Settings > Settings and Options) – Grey Square, a Square Outline, a Hand Pointer or the image of the component being placed, so you can see where it will be placed. Place components one after another on the plan if more are needed by just clicking where they are needed.

If the plan grid is on (see Toolbar section for the Grid Line Guide) the icon for the component is placed so that the top left corner of the icon is on the nearest intersection of the grid lines or a point midway between the intersections. This allows for easy lining up of component icons. If the plan grid is off then the component icon is placed so that the top left hand corner is where the mouse pointer is located. This allows for very precise location against the walls of a plan.

The component is immediately included in the project so that all the prices, component counts, legend etc. are updated.

Moving a Component:

  • Move the mouse pointer over the component to be moved, the mouse pointer will change to a hand with a pointing finger.
  • Click and hold down the left mouse button, the mouse pointer will change to a grey square the same size as the icon to indicate that a move is under way.
  • Keeping the mouse button held down, move the component to its new location and release the mouse button. The icon will be re-placed on the plan.

Note: The new location must be outside the boundary of the current component location. This means for very short moves it is best for the initial click to be at the corner of the icon closest to its new location.

Deleting a Component: Right click the component to delete it. If the system setting to confirm component deletions is on, then there will be a confirmation message. If not them the component is immediately deleted and all the project totals are updated.

Changing the Details of a Placed Component: Double Click a component to open an edit window to change the details of the component — Special Price, Add a Comment, Rotate the Icon.

Special Price: The price for that instance of the component on the current plan – useful for costing something special for this component – Choice of component by the client, a longer cable run, etc etc.

Comment: A note about the component which will be included in the component list in the documentation for the project.

The special prices and comments can be optionally copied to other components of the same type on the current plan. Click the check boxes to select what is copied. This makes it possible to re-price and comment a feature quickly if it applies to all components. eg a special light fitting or quality switch panel chosen by the client.

Icon Rotation: For components that have a direction, like lights and sensors. Make it clear on the plan what is being illuminated or the area being scanned.


Selecting Components for … Line Connections, Alignment, Spacing, Swapping, Moving

Hold down the Control key (Ctrl) while you left click a component which has been placed on a plan, this selects the component and paints a red triangle in the upper left hand corner, as shown on the kitchen light switch in the image, and opens the Selected Components window.

If you click another component in the same way this gets added to the list of selected components and shows a pink colour in the corner of the icon.

You can select as many components as you like. The kitchen lighting components in the image are all selected.

Alternative selection method …

Hold down the Shift key and use the mouse cursor to draw a rectangle on the plan to select a group of components.
Make sure the rectangle is started not on a component but on clear space on the plan.
The options for the selected components are the same as if the components were selected by the previous Ctrl+Click option.
Having selected a group this way you can select additional components to add to the group.
The closest component to the start of the rectangle is the component highlighted in red ie it acts as the first component selected for options like Align and Space.

Having got a collection of components selected there are various things you can do with them as a set …
(Have a look at the buttons to the right of the selected component list in the image.)

Swap all the components for another (this would give an ‘Upgrade’ function to another range of lights etc)
You can reverse the swap as well.

Connect the selected components with lines of the selected type, including the ‘Connection Curve’
The lounge lights in the above image are already done, and the kitchen lights are ready for the drawing operation.
If there are already lines between the components then these are deleted first.
Click the button to open the line configuration window to set the line draw characteristics.
Undo the Line Connect.
Note: Lines drawn using this method are linked to the components so that if the components are moved the lines are moved as well. If a component is deleted then any lines linked to the component are also deleted.
Delete lines between all selected components.

Align Horizontally or Vertically.
Space evenly Horizontally or Vertically.
Undo the Align and Spacing functions and restore to original positions.

Move the selected components to a new plan with the same image or to another existing plan. If there are lines connecting the selected components then they are moved as well. Lines connecting selected components and any other components are deleted.

Quicker Options when doing lots of Line Drawing

If you are doing lighting plans with  lots of connection lines to draw, there are two options to speed the process up by automatically closing the Selected Components window each time.

At the lower edge of the Selected Components window there is a drop-down menu with 3 options for the closing of the window after a line draw.

Select the one you want on the first opening of the window.
  • Default Close – the window will close only when the close button is clicked – Default setting.
  • Close after Line Drawing – the window will close after a line draw id done.
  • After Draw on Ctrl key up (Super fast option) – the window will close when the Control key is released after the last component is selected.


Save Project

   Saving a Project

As changes are made to a project this button is enabled to indicate there are unsaved changes. If you try to exit the system, open a new project or export documents without saving the changes you will be prompted to save the project. If you do not want to save the changes then click the appropriate button in the message window to bypass the save function.

Save Options and Project Backup Files– The date time the project is saved is recorded in the project filename so that you can recall a project development at a previous stage of development. When you open the “Find a Project” window with the Open Project button you will see the project save time as part of the project name. If you do not need to keep these intermediate saved projects then delete them using the Delete Project button. Note – this will only delete the project file it will not delete the plan images as they will still be needed for other projects of the same name.

Saving a Project under a New Name – To rename a project, just change the project name on the Project Details tab and click this toolbar button.

AutoSave – Project details are saved in the background as you work in case of a power failure or other computer malfunction. The trigger for the AutoSave is dependent both on a timer and on the number of changes made since the last save using the Save Project toolbar button. An AutoSave is also done prior to any Component Editing or Addition.

The timing and activity levels can be set by the user … see the Tools and Settings section for more details. The file name created by the AutoSave is ‘AutoSave ‘ followed by the project name and is located in the normal location for project files (C:/ElectroPlan/Projects by default). If the system finds such a file at startup it will be shown in the opening window and the project can be re-opened.


Protecting your Data / Moving Projects and Data between Computers

The default installation location for ElectroPlan system is in the folder – ElectroPlan located on the C: drive of your computer.

This folder contains the main system files and five sub-folders:

  • Components – contains the component configuration file and component image files.
  • Documents – contains the files that are used for Documentation content.
  • PlanImages – contains the images used for project plans.
  • Projects – contains your saved project files.
  • Quotes – the folder reserved for PDF export files. This folder may also contain some sample document export files.

All of these folders and your selected location for export files should be backed up (ie copied to another location) to protect your projects from accidental loss or hardware failure. The easiest way would be to have a USB device(s) to which the C:/ElectroPlan folder and all content (including sub-folders) is copied.

Moving your work between computers :

Knowing where ElectroPlan is installed on your computer gives you the option to move your work between computers so that you can work in more then one location.

Note: Be very careful not to ‘split’ your work between the two locations ie take all files from location A to location B and work on them there, then bring them back to location A before continuing working at location A again.

Follow these steps to relocate ElectroPlan to another computer …

  1. Using Windows Explorer, navigate to the ElectroPlan folder on C: drive (or the drive that ElectroPlan is installed on)
  2. Right click the ElectroPlan folder and select Copy from the menu.
  3. Connect your external hard drive or flash drive to the USB port and navigate there in Windows Explorer.
  4. Right click the drive letter of the external drive and select Paste. The files should begin copying.
  5. At the other computer plug in the external drive and navigate there using Windows Explorer.
  6. Right click the ElectroPlan folder and select Copy from the menu.
  7. Navigate to the destination drive on the other computer and right click the drive you want to install ElectroPlan on. Select Paste from the menu.
  8. Once you have completed your work at this computer – reverse the procedure to return the system to the first computer.

Notes:

Once you have made the first transfer the ElectroPlan folder will already exist when you do the Paste step. You will get messages from Windows asking confirmation that you want to overwrite or replace files and folders that already exist.

To run ElectroPlan in the new location you will need to create a shortcut to the file ElectroPlan.exe (with the ElectroPlan ‘E’ logo) in the ElectroPlan folder or pin that file to the task-bar of the computer. Right click this file

You can also run ElectroPlan directly from the external hard drive and not copy any files or folders. You will still need to create a shortcut to the file ElectroPlan.exe in the ElectroPlan folder. The disadvantage of this is that you will have only one copy of all of your work so make sure you copy the ElectroPlan folder to the hard drive of at least one computer as a backup.

You can also use Dropbox or Google Drive as the intermediate transfer location. Make sure you understand how these option work before committing your ElectroPlan files.

Follow this link to find more information on using ElectroPlan on Cloud Drives (Dropbox and Google Drive) … Cloud Drives


Add a New Plan   Creating a New Plan

A project can have any number of plans depending on what is required; Have a plan for each room, floor or building depending on the scale of the plans provided. Plans can be repeated to separate a lighting plan, from a power outlet plan, or data plan in the same floor area.

The background image for a plan can be obtained from a PDF file from an Architect, a graphics file from a camera or graphics program, or the plan can have no image and have the building outline or other features created by line drawing within ElectroPlan. (see the “Line / Rectangle / Text / Label / Image Drawing” section below)

Click the “Add a New Plan” tool button or the [+] button next to the existing plan titles to bring up the menu of import options.
Menu options …

  • Get Plan Image from PDF Document and then select your PDF document, then see “Adding a New Plan from a PDF File” below
  • Get Plan Image from an Existing Graphic File (JPG/PNG/GIF/BMP/TIF) and then select the graphics file
  • Add a Plan with No Image

Adding a New Plan from a PDF File

Once you have selected the PDF document to extract from the above options are presented.

  • If you know the page number that the required image is on you can enter the page number and optionally set the image resolution and click the “Extract” button.
  • If you need to see all the images in order to make a choice just click “Extract”, the system opens the file and extracts the images and displays them for you to choose the page/image you require. If there is only one image, that image is automatically selected and the system moves on to the next stage. If there are more images that can fit on the selection screen you can use the mouse wheel to scroll down to see more images or use the vertical scroll bar at the right hand side of the screen. This initial extraction is done by default at the lowest resolution (110) for speed. If you like you can increase the resolution in order to see more detail.
    Double-Click the image you want to use or click the “Cancel” button to abandon. If you cannot see enough detail in the image click the “Large Images” check-box. if this does not show enough detail then you will have to open the file in a PDF reader and note the page number to select.

Once you have made your selection the process continues as outlined in the next section below …

Adding a New Plan from a Graphics Image file.

Use the [Zoom In] and [Zoom Out] buttons to make the image the right size. Use the sliders at the right and beneath the image to frame the image in the right place.
For the best result in your finished document make the image as large as possible. Once the image has been imported it can be adjusted further for both size and location but it is best to make it large at this stage.

If required the image can also be rotated left or right by 90 degrees.

If the resolution of the image is not good enough to see all the details in the image the page can be re-extracted from the PDF at a higher resolution and with an angle rotation where needed. A setting of 100 – 300 should cover most situations. Values over 500 are for really large detailed plans. Higher resolution settings will create a larger extract file and there will be a longer delay while the system processes the additional data.

The default setting for the resolution of the extract can se set in the “Tools and Settings” window on the “Settings and Options” tab. Follow this link to Tools and Settings

Once you are happy with the image … Click the “Image size Ok, Go to next step” button on the left hand panel to move on to the next stage of the image import process, or cancel to abandon the process.

To complete the image selection, imagine a rectangle that surrounds the area of the image to be selected for the plan. Move the mouse pointer to one corner of this rectangle and then press the left mouse button.

Now drag the mouse pointer to the diagonally opposite corner of this rectangle and let go the mouse button. As you drag the pointer you will see a dotted line enclosing the selected area. When you let go the mouse button, two option buttons appear at the top and bottom of the selected area.

Click the “Erase” button to erase the selected area. This is useful for removing dimensions, notes, symbols etc from a plan so that your electrical plan is clearer. The colour used for the erased area is the same as the colour at the point where the mouse is clicked to begin the selection rectangle. You can undo the last erase step if required by clicking the “Undo Last Erase” button.

To undo all erase steps and return the image to its original condition click the “Undo All Erasing” button.

Tip: If you miss erasing something you can still blank out sections of a plan by overlaying a blank image file onto the plan. Refer to the Section on Line / Rectangle / Text / Image Drawing.

Click the “Select” button if you are happy with the area selected. The system will alert you if the selected area is larger then the available viewing area in the main application window. If the selection is not OK, repeat the selection process. Once the image is selected the new plan is created and the Plan Details window is opened (see also the section “Plan Details” below)

To Change the Image behind a Plan – see the “Replace Plan Image” button in the Plan Details window.

To Copy a Plan and and all its components the best method is to save the project and use the “Import from Project” option on the “Open a Project” window.

To Copy a Plan with a selection of the components, use the “Copy Plan” toolbar button.

Adding a Plan with No Image: 

Plans with no images have their uses – Floor plans can be created with the Line Drawing facilities in ElectroPlan if no image file is available, Power Distribution Boards can be laid out with fuse and circuit breaker components.


Setting the Plan Frame for a Plan

August 2017 ….

In the next version of ElectroPlan the system will be able to create plans which are larger than screen size and to import larger plans. In order to determine which parts of the plan, (or all of the plan) will be exported the Plan Frame will be introduced which will define the area to be exported. This section describes how to manage the Plan Frame in the next version of the system.

Current subscribers and users evaluating ElectroPlan using trial versions will be notified when this version of ElectroPlan is available for download and upgrades.

The details below are subject to change in the final release of the next version of ElectroPlan.

When a new plan is created the system adds three additional components as shown above … two Corner Markers and the Legend.

The two Corner Markers determine the area of the plan that will be exported or printed.

The Legend component shows where the top left corner of the legend will be. If the Legend is turned off it appears as the icon above. If it is turned on, all components are listed using the number of columns set. Default is one column.

Setting the Component Corners.

  1. Drag to the required location or right-click either Corner Marker to open a pop-up menu
  2. Popup menu options …
    1. Set Export Image to SCREEN SIZE
      Maintains compatibility with projects created with earlier versions of ElectroPlan.
    2. Set Export Image to PLAN SIZE – NO MARGIN
      Used to quickly match the Export Frame to the entire plan if a whole image has been imported from PDF.
    3. Set Export Image to PLAN SIZE – WITH MARGIN
      If a portion of a PDF image has been imported this matches the Export Frame to the image with a margin.
    4. Centre Export Image on COMPONENTS, LEGEND – WITH MARGIN
      Set the Export Frame to surround the components and legend with a margin.
    5. Centre Export Image on PLAN, COMPONENTS, LEGEND – WITH MARGIN
      As above but includes the plan image as well in the position determination.
    6. Check Export Image Frame and Legend Alignment.
      Makes sure there are no components, lines or parts of the legend outside the Export Frame area. Also that no components are hidden behind the legend.

The positions of the corners for each plan are saved as part of the project data.

Setting the Legend location and columns.

  1. Drag to the required location or right-click the Legend to open a pop-up menu
  2. Popup menu options …
    1. Set Number of Legend Columns
      A sub-menu allows you to select 1,2, or 3 columns or more via the Plan Details window.
    2. Order of Legend Items – Description
      The Legend items are listed in description alphabetical order. Where there are multiple columns the order is across then down.
    3. Order of Legend Items – Description within Category
      The Legend items are listed by Category (ie Lighting Power etc) then description alphabetical order. This brings all the components together by type. Where there are multiple columns the order is across then down.
    4. Toggle Legend On/Off
      Same action as the Legend button on the tool-bar.
    5. Check Legend Location
      Makes sure there are no components, lines etc are hidden behind the legend.

 

 


Edit Plan Details   Plan Details

There are several thing you can do …

  • Enter or Edit the Plan Name – make sure the name is not already used for another plan.
  • Change the Plan Position relative to other plans so it appears in the right order.
  • Fine tune the location of the image on the plan.
  • Zoom the Plan Image to better suit the screen size.

Note – If the plan image is moved or re-sized the components are NOT immediately relocated to match, as this could take several seconds or more for a complex plan. The components are moved to match the new image characteristics once the “Save and Close” button is clicked providing the “Relocate Components etc when Details are Saved” checkbox remains checked.

Click “Save and Close” button to exit and save the changes or “Cancel” to abandon any changes.

Changing the Order of Plans in the Project – The order the plans appear across the top of the screen is the order they will appear in Exported Documents. Use the “Change Pan Position” arrow buttons to move the plan to a new position in the order.

Re-positioning a Plan Image – The plan image can be moved within the display area. Using the array of buttons arranged in a cross pattern in the edit window, move the image by 100, 10 or 1 pixels at a time depending on the total distance to be moved. If there are components or lines already placed on the plan, these will be adjusted after the edit window is closed using the Save and Close button providing the “Relocate Components etc when Details are Saved” checkbox remains checked. There are also other buttons to locate the image to Top Left, the Last Saved position or to the Centre of the display area.

Zooming a Plan Image – The plan image can be zoomed in or out within the display area using the  [+] and [-] buttons. To return to the original size click the Original Size button. You can also enter a percentage figure to be a bit more precise in the setting of the image size.If there are components or lines already placed on the plan, the positions of these will be adjusted after the edit window is closed using the Save and Close button providing the “Relocate Components etc when Details are Saved” checkbox remains checked. Components that are zoomed out beyond the screen limit will be positioned at the edge of the screen area. If zooming out then the components will get closer together or even overlap in the final positioning, so there may need to be some re-positioning for clarity. Larger icons may also need a small degree of adjustment if they are placed in relation to their right hand side or lower edge.

Legend Columns

  • Number of Columns – by default this setting is for one column. Increasing the number of columns makes the legend wider and shorter which may be a better suit for the shape of the image.

Relocate Components etc when Details are Saved – This checkbox determines if the components and lines and other items on a plan are are adjusted to a new location or size of the plan image. Uncheck this box if you are trying to line up a new plan image to the existing components.

Replace Plan Image – Use this option to use the image selection procedure to change the plan image. This is useful if there is a change to the plan (eg walls moved, added etc etc). The updated image can be inserted without having to redo all the components.

 


Copy Plan   Copying a Plan

Thus function allows a plan image to be copied and selected components to be moved to a new plan.

Use this to move components, lines and rectangles to a new tab for clarity, for example, move all lighting components to a new plan to separate power from lighting.

Selecting the Components to Copy – The components and lines on the plan are summarized in a check-box list by type and grouped by category. Click the check-box of all the components you with to move and then click Crate New Plan. Once the new plan is created the Plan Details window will open so that the details of the new plan can be edited.

To create copy of a plan with some or all of its components …

  1. Save the project
  2. Click the ;Open Project; toolbar button
  3. Locate this project in the list of saved projects
  4. Click the ‘Import from Project’ button
  5. Select the Plan and Components to import

 


Delete Plan   Deleting a Plan

This button delete the current plan and all its components. The plan image file is not deleted in case the image is used in another plan in the same or another project. Orphaned plan images can be deleted by going to the Plan Image Files tab of the Find a Project window and clicking the Delete Unused Images button.


Legend   Plan Legend

Show or hide the list of components placed on a plan with a count for each. The legend is included in a plan print and in the Export Documents PDF file of the project. The Legend is updated as you add or delete components to a plan.

When the legend is enabled there are 4 positioning buttons at the top :- Move Left, Move Right, Move to Right of Window and Optimal. Use these buttons to move the legend to be to the right hand side of the used plan area with less white space between the legend and the actual plan.

The Optimal button positions the legend so that it will be the location that maximizes the size of the image in the Exported PDF file by making the aspect ratio of the image capture area (left of window to right of legend) the same as the aspect ration of the image space on the PDF page.
Legend Options …
  • Number of Columns – by default this setting is for one column. To increase the number of columns see the Plan Details window for the current plan.
  • Order of Components – the components are listed either alphabetically by description or alphabetically within Component Category. To set the order see – Tools and Settings > Settings and Options tab. This second options brings like components together in the listing. This order also applies to the component listing in the exported documents for the project.

Grid   Grid Line Guide

The grid can be used to help align components on the plan. When the grid is visible components are automatically aligned to the grid so that the top left corner of the image are either on an intersection of the grid lines or half way between.

Having the grid on enables easy alignment of components relative to other components. Having the grid off allows precise alignment with the walls of a plan.


   Line / Rectangle / Text / Label / Image Options

To get the best from the Line /  Rectangle / Text Label / Image functionality, experiment a bit to get the feel of how it works as there are a variety of options.

Drawing Lines and Rectangles, Adding Text and Images to a Plan
These additional items can be added to any plan even if the plan has no background image.

This feature can be used in a variety of ways …

  • To create a building or room outline where no plan is available
  • To highlight a component by surrounding it with a rectangle
  • To show cable runs and entry points
  • To draw a plan within a plan to show an area in more detail
  • To place a switchboard layout on the same page as a floor plan
  • To place text and labels on a plan
  • To place images on a plan eg Company Logo, Component details etc etc.

Quick-link to Placing your company logo on a plan.

Component Linking : for example to link lights that come on together, to link lights with the switches that control them, to link two way switches can be linked using lines drawn as described here but there is a better way – See the section Selecting Components for how to link selected components so that the lines are moved with the components.

Turning on Drawing Mode – Click the “Lines + On/Off” tool button

Turning off Drawing Mode – Click the “Lines + On/Off” tool button again OR Double Click any component on the plan OR Select any component on the Component Selector OR Change to another Plan

When Drawing Mode is switched on the “Line / Rectangle / Text Label / Image Options” window appears.

This window shows all the options available for the drawing of lines, adding text, rectangles and images to a plan.

It also shows two methods of selecting components for various functions, line drawing among them.

Select the type of item to add and click the “Continue with selection” button.

Once you are familiar with these options you can check the “Don’t show this window again” option to bypass this window.

The “Line / Rectangle / Text Label / Image Configuration” window now opens with your selection.

This window lets you set the characteristics of the item to be added.

Characteristics

Path / Type: 

  • Corner (Horizontal-Vertical) or (Vertical-Horizontal)
  • Direct
  • Dog-Leg (Horizontal-Vertical) or (Vertical-Horizontal)
  • Rectangle
  • Rectangle with Text
  • Connection Curve – indicates related components.
  • Image
  • Rectangle with Memo

Line Style: Solid, Dashed, Dotted, Dash-Dot, Dash-Dot-Dot (Note: Lines wider than 1 pixel are always solid.)

Line Width : 1 – 10 pixels, or Zero for text only with no surrounding rectangle.

Line Colour: Any colour as selected from the drop-down list

Line Style: Solid, Dashed, Dotted, Dash-Dot, Dash-Dot-Dot (Note: Lines wider than 1 pixel are always solid.)

Placing a Line, Rectangle, Image or Memo on a Plan: When you click the location on the plan to locate a line the two line-end / rectangle-image-corner icons appear as a marker for the location.

Line Ends StartMove the markers to where you want them.

Note:  If you want a line to end or start on a component and for the line to be moved if the component is moved then go to the “Selecting Components … ” section and create the lines by selecting the components and creating the lines.

When drawing mode is off these icons disappear and only the lines and text etc. they define remains. When drawing mode is turned on they reappear allowing any line, rectangle, image, memo etc to be deleted or moved or its characteristics altered.

When the mouse is moved over allocation icon the icon will change to show both of the pair of markers. If the icon is clicked to indicate the item has been selected to be updated using the controls in the Configuration window. Double clicking a marker icon will update the controls in this window with the characteristics of the selected item.

Images:

  • If you select Image as the type for an item the “text” field edit box changes to “File” and there is a […] browse button to open a navigation window to select the image file.
  • The size of the image is determined by the location of the two icons. The image is always displayed with its original shape.
  • There is a maximum of 100 characters available in file field to define the location of the image file. If you add a very large image to a plan there may be a flashing effect on screen when the drawing is updated.

Tip: If you miss erasing something at the step of importing a new image for a plan you can still blank out sections of a plan by overlaying a blank image file onto the plan. To create a blank image use the Windows Snipping tool or similar program to create an all-white image by snipping and capturing an area of the screen which is all white and save it to the /Components folder under the /ElectroPlan folder. Open the Line Draw function and create the configuration of an image and save it to the library for future use. The blank Image will blank out area of the plan but will not blank out components. It may plank out lines and rectangles depending on the order of creation of these items as items are drawn in the order they are created.

Changing Line, Rectangle, Text and Image Characteristics

To change the characteristics of an item, click one of its icons to select it. The line-end icons will change to highlight the item.

Go to the Configuration window and alter the settings as required, then click the “Apply” button.

To change the characteristics shown in the window’s controls to match those of an existing item, click one of the item’s icons and then click the “get Highlighted Item Details” button or double-click a line icon. This will set the characteristics for a new line or rectangle placement to match an existing line or rectangle.

Item Library: Often configurations are used over and over eg Placing your logo on a plan, connecting lights to switches and you want to maintain a consistent style, adding memo text to a plan.
Click the [Save Configuration to Library] button to save the current settings in the configuration window to the library after giving the item a name to find it and recall for future use.

Placing your company logo on a plan … and saving it to the item library.

  1. Click the Lines +On/Off button to turn on Line Drawing mode which includes the Image placement function.
  2. Select the Image option from the selection of items to add to a plan and click the Continue with Selection button.
  3. In the Line / Rectangle / Text Label / Image Configuration window click the […] button next to the File field and navigate to your logo file. Once selected you will see the logo displayed in the upper section of the window. It may be somewhat distorted as this display area has a fixed location for lines and images. You will be able to correct this on the actual plan.
  4. Check the other settings in the window for Line Style, Width and Colour as they will determine the frame around the logo. If you don’t want a frame then either make it white in colour, to match the plan background, or zero in width.
  5. Click on the plan at the location for the logo. Two small icons with red crosses will be placed on the plan with your logo drawn between them. These icons define the size of the rectangle for your logo location. The logo retains its original proportions.
  6. Drag the icons to the correct location for your logo and to give it the desired location and size.
  7. To save the logo settings for the next plan, click the Save Configuration to Library button and enter a description for the logo image. Click Save to complete saving the item to the library.
  8. To add your logo to a plan from the library … at step 3 above select the Library tab and then find your logo entry in the library and click it to display the logo in the upper section of the window. Re-select the Configuration tab and then carry on from step 5 above.

Notes: There is a maximum of 100 characters available in File field to define the location of the logo file.  If you change the location or the name of the logo file you will need to repeat the above procedure to set up a new logo image item.


Add Component   Component Customization

The ElectroPlan Component Palette can be added to and customized to give you complete control of the appearance of your electrical plans. The components and images that come with the trial version are just to give you something work with to try the system. You can add, delete and modify the components to suit.

To Add a New Component, Click the “New Comp.” tool-bar button  See Editing Component Details below.

To Edit a component – Select it in the Component Selector and then click the “Edit Comp.” tool-bar button.

— The components are Categorized by type, with Description, Price (excl. GST) and a Component Image. The Image can be edited or a new image designed.


Edit Component   Editing Component Details

Selecting a component on the Component Selector enables the Edit Component tool button. Click the tool button to open the Component Edit window.

Component Details

Category: This is the tab on the Component Selector where the component will be located.

A few notes on the maintenance of Categories …

A new Category is created by editing a Component’s Category field to the new Category name required – just over-type the existing Category. Repeat for any other Components that you want to belong in the same Category.

To see the changes in the Component Suite – just click the “Close and Save Components …” button to save and reload the Component Suite.

Once a Category is created it will appear in the drop-down list after the Component Suite is saved and reloaded.

To delete a category, just move all components out to other Categories (by editing their Category entries) or you can delete  the Components.

The Category is 25 characters maximum.

Component Description: The description for the component, 40 characters max. Only the first 20 characters or so of the description will show on the Component Selector button for the component. Hold the mouse pointer over the button to see the full description as a pop-up hint.

Standard Price: Excluding GST. The cost of everything needed to install the component — Parts and Labour.

Show on Component List: Determines if the component is shown on the Component List in the exported documents. Components can be created and used to indicate anything on a plan and do not need to be a listed component. For example the ‘Existing’ category of components can be shown on the plan for clarity but do not need to list as a supplied and priced component.

Show on Legend: Determines if the component is shown on the plan legend. Components can be created and used to indicate anything on a plan and do not need to be a component. For example arrow heads for a diagram.

Component Image: The image used for the component on a plan. Images can be created and edited in the Icon Designer.

Icon Designer

The Icon Designer allows you to design images for components. The large square to the left of the Icon Design tab is the design area. Clicking here will set the pixel colours for the icon. Icons are 16×16 pixels or 25×25 pixels. The icon’s actual size is shown to the right so you can see how the finished icon will look.

The design drawing colour can be selected in three ways:

  • Click the “Select Drawing Colour” button and select the desired colour from the palette or click “Define Custom Colours”. Your selection is shown to the left of this button.
  • Right-Click the design area to set the drawing colour to the colour of a pixel that has already been set. This is a quick way to replicate existing colours and to remedy drawing mistakes and make adjustments to the design.
  • Use one of the 9 favorite colour patches … Left-Click to set the colour of the patch, Right-Click to select the colour for drawing.

The whole drawing design area can be set to a selected colour by clicking the “Fill Design Area with Colour” button – good for setting the background colour before doing the drawing of the icon detail.

Icon Size – The size can be set to 25×25 pixels or 16×16 pixels. Changing the size will reset the drawing area to all white.

To Edit a Component Image:

  1. Select the component and click the “Edit Image” button.
  2. Modify the image and click the “Save …” button.  (See note below on icon image file name management)

To Create a New Image for a component:

  1. Select the Component or Create a new component (Click the “New Component” toolbar button)
  2. Click the “New Image” button – the clears the Icon Designer for a new image.
  3. Once the image is designed, click the “Save …” button.  (See note below on icon image file name management)

Notes:

Icon Image File Names:

If the Component Icon Management setting (in the Tools & Settings panel) is set to “easy to use” mode the name of the image file will be the same as the Component Description. For more flexible control over the management of image files this setting should be set to the “advanced” option. With this option on, the name of the image can be altered in the Image Name edit box. If the image name is the same as the image name for the selected component the component details will be updated. If it is different the system will system will ask if you want to assign the image to the component.

Image Transparency:

The colour of the Bottom Left Hand corner of the icon designates the colour that will be omitted from the rendering of the icon on buttons on the Component Selector thus making it transparent where that colour is used.To avoid transparency effects set the colour of this corner to a colour different from any other colour in the icon but similar enough so that the corner does not appear to be missing from the icon when it is used.

Save the Components:

Once changes are made to the component suite the “Close and Save Components, Update Component Selector” button is enabled. Click this button to save the changes made and to reload the Components into the system so they are securely saved and ready to use. This button closes the edit window to speed up the save and reload process.


Cost CalculatorComponent Calculator

Create a Component Cost Calculation from Cost Items (Cable, Time, Flush-box etc) to enable the price of the Component to be calculated including Margin %

Follow this link to the “Advanced Insights” page for more details.


Supplier Data   Supplier Data Download

After downloading Supplier Price data files, this allows you to catalogue files for future use and to match Supplier’s Product Codes with ElectroPlan Cost Items to enable re-calculation of Component Pricing based directly on you Buy Price from the Supplier.

Follow this link to the “Advanced Insights” page for more details.



Save to PDF

   Export a Project to PDF File

Creates a PDF document of the project. Select which parts of the project to include and the type of document: Quote with various document sections, Certificate of Compliance, selected project details. Click here to see examples of exported documents.

Selecting Document Sections – Total Price Page (Customer and Site details, Description of Work, Total Price, Quote Validity and Payment Terms, Statement of Compliance) Component and Selected Additional Items Listing, Project Notes, Terms and Conditions, Acceptance Form. The default selection of document sections can be set in the Settings and Option tab of the Tools and Settings window.

Safety Certificate / Certificate of Compliance – This can be created for the current project or you can create one for a job without creating a new project. See the Opening Window displayed when ElectroPlan starts.

The layout of the Safety Certificate / Certificate of Compliance is based on … Electrical Combined ESC-CoC — Version: May 2014.

Including Plans — The project plans are all included in the document by default. To omit all the plans un-check ‘Plans’ in the left hand panel. To include only selected plans, keep the left hand panel ‘Plans’ checked and check the plans in the right hand panel that are to be included. You can click on the “Plans Only” button to set all the controls for a PDF file that contains only all on the plans.

Naming the PDF File – After the content of the Export Document is chosen the name of the PDF document and its location are determined in a Windows Save dialogue window. The default name will be the project name with some additions depending on the content selection. The location should be the folder C:/ElectroPlan/Quotes (by default) but, may be some other folder on your computer depending on recent file saving activity. Navigate to the desired folder and edit the name of the file as required. Once the file is created it can be emailed by adding it as an attachment.

Viewing the PDF File – The PDF can be viewed after creation by leaving the ‘Open PDF On Completion’ option checked. The program used to view the file will be the program set on your computer to view files of type PDF.

Plan Title Options – (See the Plan Titles tab in the Tools and Settings window.) Logos (none, one or two and location), Title size, line width, line colour, text font and size, and layout of text.


Print    Printing a Plan

Creates a legend on the plan and then opens a printer dialogue to select printer options.
From the dialogue box you can select the printer, paper size, paper orientation and paper source, depending on the capability of the printer.


Setting up ElectroPlan after Registration

Steps to follow to complete the setup of ElectroPlan and take full advantage of all the features.

Take the time to understand how ElectroPlan works and get well set up to get the maximum benefits from the system.


Start New Project   Creating a New Project

Clears the system to start a new project. If changes to the current project have not been saved the system will prompt you to save before starting a new project.

The Client Details of the current project can be retained intact for the new project where the new project is for the same client – this saves re-typing or obtaining the client details as an import from another project.

Naming a Project – The new project will be temporarily named “New Project”- edit this to create the new name for the project. As the project name is used to name the files created for the content there are some characters that are not allowed in project names … ?[]/=+<>:;”,*|^


Tools and Settings   Tools & Settings

There are seven tabs under Tools & Settings … Settings and Options / Document Content / Registration Details / Contact Details / Terms and Financial Details / File Locations / Plant Title Design.

Settings and Options
  • Project File Saving Options — When you save a project the system makes a new copy of the project file with all the project content. The last version of the file can be deleted, retained or a choice offered at the time.
  • Component Delete — (from a plan): Switch on or off the confirmation message before the component is deleted.
  • Deleted Files — To recycle or not. This setting covers project files, plan image files and component image files.
  • Component Details— When the mouse cursor is held still over a component icon on a plan a details box shows with description, price and other information. This can be turned Off and On as required.
  • Mouse Pointer Options for Placing and Moving Components – When the mouse pointer is over a plan this setting determines the shape of the pointer.
  • Project Export – Default Document Options – Select the document sections that will be selected when the Export window is opened.
  • Default Resolution for PDF Image Extraction – this setting determines the initial resolution for plan images extracted from PDF documents. A setting of 110 to 300 should cover most situations. Higher settings can be used to re-extract selected pages where more detail is available and needed for the plan. Larger files are generated in the process so additional time will be need to process the data.
  • AutoSave Settings – Timer Interval (minutes) – this setting determines the time interval between saves. The default is 5 minutes. A value of zero will disable the save based on time interval. Activity Trigger – changes are rated – New Plan = 100 points, a keystroke = 1, Component Placement or Move = 10. Once the changes exceed the trigger setting the system will save the project. The default value is 100.
  • Component Icon Management – There are two settings for the mode in which the system manages the relationship between Component Descriptions and the Name of the Icon Image File. With the “easy to use” mode system will manage the icon files and always save the icon image to a file with the same name as the Component Description. With the “advanced” setting the user has control over the name of the file containing the image for the component. This allows more flexibility with changing and editing of images.

Document Content: The ‘Document Text Content’ settings at the top of this tab are the text content files for the creation of exported documents. The file names and locations can be left as the installed settings. Use the ‘Edit File’ buttons to alter the text content to suit your circumstances.

  • Default Project Notes – a template of notes added to a project and then edited to suit the content of the specific project.
  • Certificate Text – statement of compliance with electrical regulations.
  • Terms and Conditions – the terms and conditions of the quote
  • Acceptance Sheet Text – the text of the agreement signed by the customer

(Note: from version 14-08-04 onward the Document Content and Document Logo files are located in the folder /ElectroPlan/Documents. Prior version had these files located in ElectroPlan)

Document Logos: (Block and Strip Logos) These settings tell the system the file names of the two logo options for the documentation files. Have a look at the sample documents to see the logo layout and decide if you want to use a Block or Strip Logo. Your company logo needs to be saved in a file for use by the system for the preparation of quote documents. The logo file type must be a graphics image and must be correctly identified in the Block and Strip Logo fields. The Block Logo is allocated a space 50mm wide and 20mm high at the top left of the page. The Strip Logo is allocated a space 84mm wide and 10mm high across the top of the page. Either or both of the logos can be defined, if the Strip Logo file field is blank or the file name defined for the logo is not found, your company name will be shown in the documents as a bold heading.

To create your Company Logos: Using a graphics program make your logo files using graphics and wording that will identify your company. Use a high enough pixel density that it will print in good quality – Block Logo 2000 pixels wide and 800 pixels high. Strip Logo 3400 pixels wide and 400 pixels high. Save your logo file where ElectroPlan is installed. (C:/ElectroPlan or C:/ElectroPlan/Documents by default) The logo image will be adjusted in size to fit the document area allocated for the logo. Once the files are saved, use the Browse button next to the logo file definition field in the Tools and Settings window to set the logo file names and locations consistent with where you saved the files.

Certificate Logo File: This is set by default as Certificate Logo.bmp and a file of that name is supplied with the trial copy of ElectroPlan. This is the logo used in relation to electrical safety statements in the exported documents. This should not normally need to be changed in normal operation of the system.

Registration Details: This section holds your registration details for ElectroPlan and should only be changed when a new registration number is being validated.

Set as new Group User: Initiate settings for shared use of the system – See below … Multiple Users

Contact Details and Terms and Financial Details — The information entered here is used to fill in the details on exported documents.

File Locations — These settings determine where the system stores and locates files of various types. The ‘Component Configuration File’ is the location and name of the special file that holds the definitions of all the components defined in the system. Generally these settings can be left as installed with the Trial Version.

Plan Title Design – The exported plans have either  the classic plan layout with text information located above and below the actual plan image or an optional customized title block …

Plan Title Options

  • Title Block Height (10mm – 40mm, default 15mm)
  • Border Line width (1 – 10, with zero indicating no border)
  • Border Line Colour
  • Text Font and Size for Customer and Plan Details.
  • Text Layout Options
  • Logo positioning, Left, Right, No Logos.

As you make changes to the layout the screen show more or less what the plan design will look like. This is an indication and the results should be tested in a project export to judge the results.


Multiple Users (Group Users)

A single ElectroPlan installation can be used by more then one person …

  • On the same Computer
  • On the same Network Location
  • On the same Cloud Drive

Note : An ElectroPlan registration is required for each person using ElectroPlan.

Please check out these links for information on how ElectroPlan files are stored and things to consider for use of ElectrioPlan by more then one person.

Protecting your Data / Moving Projects and Data between Computers

Using ElectroPlan on Cloud Drives – Dropbox and Google Drive

Each person using the system can have their own Configuration (File Locations, Documentation Options, Components, etc etc).

Any of the many configuration items can be set for an individual user, as well as there being separate project save history and drawing line library.

To set up ElectroPlan for Multiple Users – ie the first Group User …

  1. Start ElectroPlan with an existing valid registration and go to ‘Tools and Settings’
  2. Open the ‘Registration Details’ tab and click the ‘Set as new Group User’  button.
  3. Exit ElectroPlan – On exit, the system will save the current configuration settings to a new file in the name of the current user. There will also be a new Desktop Shortcut created with the name of this user which must be used to start the system for that person.

To add a new Group User …

  1. Obtain a new ElectroPlan Registration for the new person.
  2. The registration email will have a Registration Details File attached which holds the registration details of the new user. Download this file to the folder where ElectroPlan is installed.
  3. On the computer that will be used by the new user – Start ElectroPlan from Windows Explorer by navigating to the folder where ElectroPlan is installed and double-clicking the ElectroPlan.exe application file. The registration details will be imported from the downloaded file.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 in the previous section to establish the new user’s configuration and shortcut.

Note: The shortcuts created for each user as part of this process must be used from this time onward to run ElectroPlan for each user so that their own configuration is loaded and saved when they exit and that their save history and line drawing preferences are preserved.


Float Components   Floating Component Selector

This enables the Component Selector, which is normally docked at the left hand side of the screen to be in a floating window on top of the plan. This makes the design area larger.

In floating mode the Component Selector can be resized and made into a two column format for long lists of components in a category. It can also be hidden completely to allow work on the plan. To return the Component Selector to its normal position or to un-hide it, just click the Float Component button.


Float Tools

   Floating Tool-Bar

This enables the tool-bar, which is normally positioned at the top of the screen, to be in a floating window on top of the plan. This makes the plan design area larger. The buttons in the floating window still work in the same way. To close the tool-bar window and return the tool-bar to its normal position just click the Float Toolbar button.


Help   Help

Open the Help window with links to pages and content links on this website.

The links are opened in a new tab in the default browser. If the browser is not running then it is started in order to show the web page.

There are also buttons in various places throughout the application to give access to contextual help details.


Information   Information About ElectroPlan

This window provides information about the system, as well contact details for contacting ElectroPlan.

There is a link to the ElectroPlan website and also a link to the website Registration page for when you need to renew your registration and continue your subscription. The Version number of the the system and the number of days of your subscription remaining are shown. Visit the ElectroPlan website Upgrade page to see the latest version of the system that is available for download. Complete a download at any time to keep your system up with the latest features.