Nate Holt's Blog

July 23, 2009

Text to Attribute conversion tool – AutoCAD Electrical

Filed under: Electrical — nateholt @ 9:28 am

AutoCAD Electrical has a set of tools for converting “dumb” schematic drawings into semi-smart AutoCAD Electrical schematics. One of these tools, the Convert Text to Attribute Definition conversion tool, can come in handy for some other tasks.

Last night I was looking over a new user’s drawing set. He had constructed a complex servo drive schematic symbol. It inserted fine into his schematics and he could wire it up using AutoCAD Electrical’s INSERT WIRE command. The servo’s wiring reported in the various from/to reports but was lacking some useful information.

There was no reporting of the servo’s terminal pin number in the wire from/to report. A small portion of the wired servo symbol is shown below, servo symbol on the right and wiring coming in from the left. The various wire from/to reports would report wire number “07023” coming from some device and tying to servo such-and-such, but the report would NOT say that wire 07023 tied to terminal pin connection number “27”.


Exploding the servo symbol revealed the problem. The wire connection attributes were there and correct (ex: X4TERM12, X4TERM13,…), but the terminal pin number and its description text were both fixed text entities! AutoCAD Electrical had no way to link a wire connection on the symbol to its terminal pin text value.


These terminal pin numbers needed to really be attribute definitions with appropriate tag names (TERM12, TERM13, … to match up with their wire connection attribute names) and with pre-defined default values (27, 28,…). As a bonus, the extra description text to the right of each terminal pin text could be converted to tag-names TERMDESC12, TERMDESC13, … (again, to match up with their wire connection attribute names) and with default values of “I/O COMMON” and so on. This would provide ability for terminal pin description text to also be included in the various from/to reports.

If both terminal pin and terminal description text entities were converted to appropriately tagged attribute definitions, then the from/to wire connection reporting would be much more complete. Fixing this very large/complex library symbol… the prospect was to go back, open up this servo library symbol “.dwg” in AutoCAD, and then manually/painfully replace each one of the several dozen text entities with equivalent attribute definitions. Not a happy thought.


But using the “Convert Text to Attribute Definition” tool hidden on the Conversion Tools ribbon made this task almost painless.



Start the conversion command. Pick on the “27” text entity (if it is MTEXT, need to explode it first). The dialog below pops up. Enter in the attribute definition name “TERM12” to match with the wire connection attribute X4TERM12 and hit OK. The existing text is flipped to an attribute definition “TERM12” with a default value of “27”.


The command loops around and prompts you to keep going. Pick on the next text entity to convert and the dialog pops up with the previous TERM12 default. Hit the “>” arrow to increment the tag name to the next value, TERM13. Hit OK. Keep going till done!


A cool thing about this technique is that the attribute definition carries the same text font and justification and size as the original text AND the original text’s value becomes the attribute defintion’s default value.


1 Comment »

  1. […] WDATA table – intermediate wire network data table Project-wide attribute value update’r Text to Attribute conversion tool Propagating AutoLISP variables drawing to drawing – the ( vl-propagate…) function MText […]

    Pingback by Index of AutoCAD Electrical Utilities – April 2006 through September 2009 « AutoCAD Electrical Etcetera — September 28, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

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