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Drawing circuit diagrams directly in Word

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by muashr, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. muashr

    muashr Member

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    Hi,

    Can anyone guide me about a method (free and effective) for converting handdrawn circuit diagrams on a paper to a digital format (which later can be used in word etc)? Not scanning.
    or
    How can one draw a circuit diagram directly in Word using only a mouse?

    Thanks
     
  2. Ian Rogers

    Ian Rogers Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    OpenOffice comes with OfficeDraw..... I use it to create all sorts..
     
  3. Roff

    Roff Well-Known Member

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    I use LTspice for circuit simulation. You can use it just to draw schematics if you want to. After the schematic is drawn, capture it with a screen capture tool (Windows 7 comes with the Snipping Tool), and save it as a PNG file. You can do further editing with something like Microsoft Paint. When you're ready, just insert it into Word.
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. ronsimpson

    ronsimpson Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Word was not designed to do that.
    Word can import many formats. Like Roff said; screen capture.
     
  6. Willen

    Willen Well-Known Member

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    LTSpice itself has a schematic capturing tool for fast process than 'Print Screen SysRq' feature of Windows (fast because we don't need remove start button, task bar, menu bar etc unnecessary images captured by 'print screen' of windows).

    Just draw a schematic and go to Tool>Copy bitmap to Clipboard, then paste it to MS Paint (or anywhere).

    I set white background and black wires (from Tool> color Preferences) to give typical looks to schematics. Easy thing from LTSpice is that we don't need to mark R1 R2 R3 etc.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Roff

    Roff Well-Known Member

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    It's been a while since I used LTspice. I had forgotten about Tool>Copy bitmap to Clipboard. Thanks for the reminder.
     
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  8. Willen

    Willen Well-Known Member

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    You are welcome Roff. :)
    Probably it's not possible to convert handdrawn diagram directly to digital format as you said. You need to redraw whole schematic again in a schematic designer program.

    Don't you have a keyboard? How will you write component marking then? Turning ON the 'on screen keyboard' of windows (Start>Accessories>...) is a equivalent of real keyboard but it's not easy as real keyboard. If you draw a schematic in a MS word (?) directly using mouse then you won't understand your own schematic or it will take hours.

    If you have a computer then simply download ExpressPCB which has layout and schematic design tool. Easy to use and it's also free. Or download LTSpice and do as said on previous posts. Both are free software and both have around just 10MB file size.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
  9. MrAl

    MrAl Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Hello there,

    I've seen this question come up about 3 or 4 times in the past 10 years. That seems infrequent, but i think that is because most people just assume that it cant be done so they dont even ask. But then again, it has come up, and i have thought about it a little myself because i had many hand drawings of circuits from the past that would be nice to have converted into pure digital format, complete with neat and tidy symbols for all the components like resistors and capacitors and transistors.

    There are two direct ways to do this that i know of, if you dont need it to be in a perfectly neat form like a drawing that originated in software such as in LT Spice.

    The first is to scan it with a fast scanner. This creates a drawing that is exactly like the hand drawing.
    The second is to use a high resolution camera. I recommend at least 10 Megapixels. You take a snapshot, store in in some directory.

    Of course these techniques are not ideal either. We get a drawing that is just as sloppy as the original. To get it into a really nice and neat form however brings in some problems.

    First, not everyone draws symbols the same. Some draw inductors that look like resistors, and some draw caps differently.

    Second, the drawing would have to be scanned or photographed first anyway. Once this is done however there may be a way to convert it into a really neat professionally drawn schematic.

    The question that comes to my mind though is, just how much would we need this? If it was an everyday thing it would be worth it to come up with some software piece that could interpret the drawing and arrange everything into a neatly drawn schematic. I am of course talking about fairly sloppy hand drawings not professionally drafted pencil drawn schematics that already have a neat and orderly form. There would not be much to a program that can convert the latter into a minimum byte count file with a neat line drawing. The sloppy drawings would be hard to convert because the components can be all over the place, with connecting lines looping over and under things here and there and everywhere. There would have to be some software/human interaction i would guess.

    It would be an interesting program to write. For drawings that are already neat it would be a snap, but for the sloppy drawings very difficult. I have to wonder if anyone has made this kind of software yet.

    For my own purposes i have found that if the drawing is scanned or photographed and tehn converted into a .gif file, it doesnt take up a significant number of bytes. Yes it's not any better looking than the original unless i edit it by hand later. Sometimes a few little edits however and the drawing looks much better.
     
  10. ericgibbs

    ericgibbs Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    hi,
    It can be done directly, but it is laborious.
    I would recommend copy and paste, I use Screen Hunter 5, a free download of a screen clip and paste.
    E

    upload_2015-9-24_9-1-53.png
     

    Attached Files:

  11. atferrari

    atferrari Well-Known Member

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    As shown by Eric you can use Word's drawing tools.

    You said, "effective", better then go for LTSpice. Maybe you try to go the "easy" way but that will mean wasting time drawing again and again the same basic things.
     
  12. Raji Koshy

    Raji Koshy New Member

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    earlier i used MS visio
    its good, but now the updates are not available
     
  13. cowboybob

    cowboybob Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Welcome to ETO, Raji Koshy!

    What do you use now? Have you transitioned to a circuit simulator?
     
  14. ronsimpson

    ronsimpson Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Raji Koshy,

    1)There are several PCB layout programs that are free. While you do not want to make a printed circuit board, they include a schematic draw function.
    2)LTspice is free. It draws schematics.

    Example: Using LT SPICE I drew a schematic. Sized the picture and centered then "Alt Print Screen" to steel what is on the screen. Next I opened Paint. (I use pint.net which is free) "Crtl C" to copy the screen picture to paint. My paint complains the picture is big. Click OK. Now in pain there is what my screen looks like but I don't want all that. I use the select tool to grab just what I want to copy to WORD. "select and copy" which is just like Ctrl C. Then flip to work and "Crtl V" which is paste. I inserted it here to show you.
    upload_2017-9-28_17-39-59.png
    In word I can make the text flow around the picture or under or over the schematic.

    Here I used Eagle CAD to draw. Then copied to the Forum.
    upload_2017-9-28_17-48-37.png
    WORD does not do schematics but it handles picture files very well. So what I am doing is making a "picture" of my schematic.
     
  15. BobW

    BobW Active Member

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  16. ci139

    ci139 Active Member

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  17. jgharston

    jgharston New Member

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    Late reply, but I use Paint Shop Pro with the grid lock set on and a handful of pre-drawn components. Works very well for small diagrams, eg this and this.
     
  18. jpanhalt

    jpanhalt Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Great idea. How does Paint Shop Pro do on schematic capture to assure the schematic and board are consistent?
     
  19. Grossel

    Grossel Member

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    As far I have tested out - of all drawing programs that is not made specific to make electrical drawings, I'll recommend to avoid pixel-editing programs like MS paint, photoshop, paint shop pro, etc. It's just too laborious when need to change anything later.
    Use cad programs instead - personally I prefer Inkscape (my resistor avatar is drawn using that program).
     
  20. Ian Rogers

    Ian Rogers Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    Since Corel bought out Jasc software it has become expensive.... I still have a copy of Paint Shop Pro V5 but it's very outdated... As I once said way back.. Open office and Libre office have vector drawing tools and tons more.. Not bad for free..
     
  21. JimB

    JimB Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    In the days when I made my money doing training courses, I drew many simple schematics both electrical and hydraulic using the drawing facilities of MS PowerPoint.
    These schematics were easily imported into MS Word.

    However for a complex schematic, one of the dedicated schematic capture software packages would be much easier to use and give a better result.

    JimB
     

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