October 01, 2020

10 Tips for the New Electra Cloud User

Here are 10 tips that will hopefully speed things up and get you productive quickly by using Electra Cloud.

1. How to pan and zoom easily.

In Electra Cloud, there are 3 icons being displayed on the lower right corner of your window automatically, which are "Zoom In", "Zoom Out" and "Zoom to fit Page". These 3 icons let us zoom in, out and look at the entire page with just a click of the mouse.

Zoom settings
Zoom settings

2. How to draw and measure with specific dimensions.

To draw a shape with specific dimensions, open the properties dialog. Under View menu, click on Show properties (View | Show properties).

Shape properties
Shape properties

In the width and height fields, type in your dimensions in major units (e.g.: 12in, 13 in, 14 px, etc) even with expression and multiple unit, and Electra will understand your units and size accordingly, taking into account your current settings for page scale and page measurement units. If you wanted to draw a line slanted at a particular angle, just draw a straight line and use the shape properties window to key in your required angle.

If you are using layout shapes in the stencils provided by Electra, drop the selected shapes to drawing and right click on these shapes to set exact dimensions by clicking the "Set Dimension". In addition, using the Electra menu "Manage Components" or "Generate Layout" would also allow you to do the same.

Layout shape
Layout shape
Set Dimension
Set Dimension
Manage Components
Manage Components
Generate Layout
Generate Layout

To measure dimensions, drag and drop the 3 measurement shapes shown at left, and drag on their yellow handles to measure and display dimensions. Right click on these shapes to change measurement units into inches or cm.

3. How to draw dotted, dashed lines and arrows.

Draw a normal line, make sure it is selected, then click on the line icon or icons shown at bottom to change line thickness (weight), dashes (line style) or arrows (line ends).

Line Stylings
Line Stylings

The same applies for wires in Electra, make sure a wire is selected and then click on these icons to change the wire from it's default solid line to dashes or to any color you fancy.

4. How to set and use layers.

Electra Cloud support layers and in normal usage, layering might not be needed, but if you do need it, click on the View | Show Properties. In Properties click on Layers to access layers.

In Electra, pin names and descriptions are separated into their own layers, so that their properties can be easily changed globally, as shown below:

Layer properties
Layer properties

You can assign all descriptions to be shown in a color of your own choosing, or have it shown but not printed and vice versa. The same applies for pin names. If required, you can make your own layers and assign your symbols and text onto your custom layers

5. How do draw a triangle or hexagon.

To draw a triangle, click on the Line tool, then click and drag to draw a straight line (as shown at bottom). The blue handle with white fill shows the beginning of the line while the blue handle with yellow fill shows the end of the line. Click and drag on the end point of the first line, to make a second line and Electra will automatically join the 2 lines. Repeat the same for the 3rd line and Electra will automatically close the 3 lines to make a triangle. The same applies for drawing a hexagon or for any other multi-sided shapes.

6. How to draw a curved line.

Click on the Freeform tool, then click and drag to make an arc. Hover your mouse over this arc, and Electra will display additional handles. Drag on the round handle to bend the curve to your requirements.

7. How to flip and rotate shapes.

To rotate the shape, you need to click on the shape and rotate it by rotating the handle as shown below. If you want to flip the shape, right click on the shape, go to Operations and select either Flip Horizontal or Flip Vertical to flip the shape accordingly.

Symbols in Electra were made with their pin names from left to right and top to bottom. If for any reason you require that these pin names appear otherwise (as shown bottom), you can do a flip on the symbol, and both the connection points and pin names will be flipped to the desired position.

8. How to change a shape's stacking order.

Sometimes you might want to make shapes that is stacked on top of one another, as shown at bottom. The top image shows the triangle on top, square in the middle and circle at the bottom of the stack. All of them are given 50% transparency for illustration purposes.

Right click on any shape and click "Arrange", select "Bring to front" , "Bring forward", "Send backward" or "Send to back" to rearrange their stacking order.

The bottom image shows the triangle being "Send to Back" and thus we have now the square on top, circle in the middle and triangle at the bottom of the stack.

9. How to format text block in shapes.

All shapes in Electra Cloud can have text attached (even though the text might be blank), and only a single text can be attached to a single shape. To have multiple text, you would need to group multiple shapes in a group, where each shape in a group can then have their own text.

As shown in the image at above, by default, Electra will format the text block accordingly, for rectangles, the text block will fill the entire rectangle, for lines, the text will follow the curve of the line in question. If you need to change the appearance of the text, click on the shape and then click on the text block tool and then drag on the blue handles. You will be able to resize the text block in addition to repositioning the text to wherever you require.

10. What are connection points and why is it important.

In Electra Cloud, you are allowed to connect one shape to another by the connection points

In electrical CAD drawings, Electra would require that you connect a wire only to connection points (as shown at left with blue 'x' at the edge of the symbol). This is because only by connecting to a connection point, would Electra be able to know that you have connected a wire to a terminal on your symbol and be able to generate a connections (from/to) listing properly.

Generate connection point
Generate connection point

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AUTHOR

Thomas Yip

Founder at vecta.io, created Electra, engineering nerd.

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