It has been a while since we have blogged, so without further ado, the below are the list of benefits that have changed for these two releases:
- Automatic shape highlighting when double clicking on terminals.
- Smarter wire links.
- Improved and automated exporting to AutoCAD DWG and DXF formats.
Updated wire links will now automatically pop up the pairing window if you have not paired the wire links. Once you have paired them, double clicking on them will let you jump to whatever target you're linked to.
Although Visio comes with built-in AutoCAD DWG and DXF exports, unfortunately it is limited to a single page export and fraught with rendering errors. After prolonged testing, we're happy to release tools that will allow users to export the entire document, without rendering errors.
Also included in these release, a host of updates and fixes that makes using Electra so much more easier. If you have no already, head on over to http://radicasoftware.com/Support.php to download and run the update installer.
After testing Electra on the new Visio 2013, we are happy to report that Electra works extremely well with one single major caveat. Files that are saved in Visio 2013 will lose all functionalities, irrespective of whether if you save them into Visio 2013's new macro enabled xml format (.vsdm) or the older (.vsd) format. This is because Visio 2013 has a bug (confirmed by our correspondence with Microsoft), that causes all password protected macro documents to be unable to save properly without losing all macros (non password protected macros are not affected). So, in effect, this affects all add-ins, not only Electra.
As usual with Microsoft, we have no idea when this will be fixed, but we are not going to hold our breath until then. We felt that we owe our customers more speed and transparency, and have taken a few active steps, so that you can proceed with using Visio 2013, but with caution. Therefore, if you insist on using Visio 2013, here is what you have to do to ensure your files are saved properly without losing Electra functionalities:How to use older drawings in Visio 2013.
All older drawings made using Electra will have their macros password protected. To save properly, you will need to use the following steps:
- Open your older drawing in Visio 2013.
- Press F11 to open the Visual Basic Editor.
- Click on “View” and select “Project Explorer” as shown below:
- On the “Project” panel, double click on “Electra_Template” as shown below:
- You will be asked for a password, and if you don’t have one, please do email us at [email protected] and we will be glad to supply you with a password.
- Right click on the “Electra_Template” and select “Electra_Template Properties” as shown below:
- Click on the “Protection” tab:
- Uncheck “Lock Project for Viewing”, delete password for “Password” and “Confirm password”:
- Click “OK” and close the Visual Basic Editor then save your drawing.
Essentially, you will have to unprotect your older drawing for it to save properly without losing Electra functionalities.How to start a new drawing in Electra.
If you have not done so, please go to our Support page and download the latest Electra update (R219). After installing this update, the “New Electra Drawing.vst” template will be essentially non protected, and all files created using this template will not have problems saving in Visio 2013.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience, and will keep all of our customers updated on this issue as soon as we get some news.
Update 3: We have confirmation that the below will solve this compile error problem.
Update 2: We are still awaiting some confirmation, but we believe the below will solve this problem:
- Re-download the Electra software (release or trial) and re-install Electra using the latest version.
- Remove .exd files and re-start Electra. More information on how to do this is available here: http://blog.radicasoftware.com/2012/04/compile-error-after-windows-update-on.html
Update 1: At this stage, it seems only Visio 2007 has problems, and Visio 2010 with Electra is working fine.
Unfortunately, after this Windows update, Electra has been broken again. We are throwing all our resources at this at the moment and hope to have a solution soon. New updates will be posted here in this post, so we would recommend NOT updating Windows at this stage.
As you use Electra to build up your Component Database, it's clear the interface is best suited for single component only. Try copying, adding or editing multiple components and you will soon find the entire process troublesome. In this release, we make the process of editing or adding multiple components into the database, a breeze.
- Exporting Component Database to Excel.
- Importing an Excel file into the Component Database.
- Important points to note during import.
Click on Electra tab/menu, then Export | Component Database, and the content of your component database will be exported to an Excel file. The entire database will always be exported and you cannot export only part of the database.
Once exported, you can then proceed to modify, add or edit accordingly.
To import an Excel file back into the Component Database, we strongly suggest that you use the template as it is exported above. After modifications, simply click on the Electra tab/menu, Import | Component Database.
Click on the Browse button to browse for the Excel file, an then click on the Import button. The status of the import will be visible on the status window.
- Component information will NEVER be deleted during import.
- The header (first row) of the Excel file must be exactly the same as it is exported.
- Duplicate component information will be ignored.
Because the entire database is exported, you may find it easier to work with your data by deleting part of it in the Excel file. When the same data is imported, the deleted data are simply ignored, and no deletion will be performed on the database. This ensures that the database is not accidentally deleted or overwritten.
To delete information from the database, you will need to use the Electra interface or modify the database directly by opening it in Access.
For Electra to understand the data, the header or first row of the Excel file must be exactly the same as it was exported. This ensures that your data are consistent and easily readable by Electra, and correctly imported into the database.
Before Electra modify or add component information from Excel back into the database, the information is checked, to see if they already existed in the database. If duplicates are found, then these information are ignored and the user notified accordingly on the status window. This is to ensure that the database stays small, fast and very usable, without duplicates.
In addition to a host of other things that we've done in this release, we sincerely hoped that you can now modify component database information much more easier, faster and your productivity greatly improved.
For new users who do not have a copy of Microsoft Visio on your PC, you would need to download a Trial from Microsoft, here's how:
- Go to http://visio.microsoft.com/en-us/Preview/default.aspx.
- Click on the “Try it” link as shown below:
- Click on the "Get Started Now" link as shown below:
- If you have a Hotmail account, or a Windows Live ID, sign in and skip to step 8. If you don't have one, click on the “Sign up now” link as shown in red below:
- You will be asked for your email address and a new password for your Windows Live ID. Fill in all required fields. You also will be asked to review Microsoft services agreement and privacy and cookies statement. To agree and continue, click the "I accept" button as shown below:
- Microsoft will send you an email for verification. Access your email and click on the verify your account link.
- After verifying your account, click “OK” button as shown below:
- You will now be presented with a page where Microsoft will ask you to fill in some profile information as below:
- Fill in all the information as required and click “Continue”.
- Select a language for your Visio Professional 2013 Preview. Click “Download 32-bit Software” button as shown below and you are done.
If you have any trouble when downloading Visio Trial, please email us and we will be glad to help.
After the hiccups lately, and settling those troubles, we thought we'd take the opportunity to make a new release which is long due. Mainly, terminal generation is much improved, in addition to some algorithm changes which results in faster generation of terminals and also wire detection.
- Automatic Terminal Block Numbering
- Custom Terminal Numbering
- Multitier Terminal Blocks.
- Improved algorithms for even faster generation speed.
Previously, when you drop a TerminalBlock symbol onto a drawing, you will be required to type in a terminal block number yourself, but no more. Terminal blocks now have automatic numbering and their numbering will be automatically incremented when Electra detects that you already have such a terminal block on your drawing. We hope this makes your work a little easier and faster.
When you drop a terminal symbol on a wire, the terminal numbering will show "0" to denote that it's currently not numbered. Rather than wait until you generate Terminal Listing, and for Electra to automatically number your terminals, you can now set your own numbering simply by selecting a terminal symbol, and typing away.
Once you type in any numbering or text, during terminal listing generation, Electra will automatically pick up these data to be reflected in your terminal listing.
Bear in mind though, when you use a TerminalBlock and select "Renumber Terminals", Electra will change what you typed back to it's normal format (X1-1).
Terminal blocks in Electra can now handle multi-tier terminals as shown on the left. Essentially, you still generate terminal listing by right clicking on a TerminalList symbol and selecting "Generate Listing".
After terminal listing generation, you would have to arrange your terminals, and ensure they are arranged in parallel, either vertically or horizontally for the Terminal Block symbol to be able to recognize the multitier terminals, as below:
Once you have arranged your terminal listings, drop a TerminalBlock symbol onto your drawing, and encapsulate all stacked terminal listing with a Terminal Block and Electra would be able to automatically identify stacked terminals, therefore automatically count stacked terminals as a single unit, and also renumber them accordingly as seen below:
Both terminal listing and wire detection algorithms have been improved, resulting in as much as 4 times higher generation speed. We're obsessed and geeky about these things, but only in a good way, so hopefully it'll help you get the circuits done a little bit faster.