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Free Schematic Drawing Software

Up until five or six years ago, I was using Visio to draw schematics. This is a terrific program that allows you to place pre-made symbols on the page and connect them with lines. You can then move the components around the page to suit, and the lines remain connected. Symbols included with the "Technical" version of the program include vacuum tubes, transformers, capacitors, etc., as well as every conceivable type of semiconductor and integrated circuit.

The reason I stopped using this excellent program is that my hard drive crashed, and I didn't have a good image of the drive. I had to manually reinstall all my programs. At the time, my copy of Visio was nowhere to be found, so I decided to use LTSPICE as a temporary solution. That became more permanent than I had anticipated, but now I've finally decided to go back.

Unlike SPICE, Visio creates schematics that look like commercial drawings. All the components can be individually sized for correct proportionality, and they look the way you would expect. Visio also has many more pre-made symbols than LTSPICE, and the last version of Visio Technical before Microsoft bought them is cross-compatible with AutoCAD. You can import a custom-made symbol from AutoCAD for addition to the program, or export a symbol, modify it in AutoCAD, then bring it back.

The reason I'm posting this is that I've discovered that Visio 5 - the latest version before Microsoft bought it - is available free online. It's compressed in the 7-zip format, something I hadn't heard of previously. 7-zip is also available free. The link below goes to the WinWorld site where I found Visio. Google "7-zip" to find the unzip program. Visio comes with the usual autorun.inf file, so I wrote the files to a CD and installed from that. Visio and 7-zip both run under Windows, but maybe not the latest OS. I use Win XP. Visio initially complained about this with a pop-up warning box, but everything appears to function normally.

Visio is/was apparently used by a large number of educational institutions and government agencies. Because of this, manuals and primers are available online. I downloaded the full PDF of "Visio 2007 for Dummies" just this morning.

Visio is the only means I know of to share and archive electrical schematics in a professional format without spending an arm and a leg. I was astounded to find it for free. Have fun!



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Buy Chinese. Bury freedom.



Edits: 06/12/17

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Topic - Free Schematic Drawing Software - Triode_Kingdom 09:49:04 06/11/17 (5)

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