How to Make a Circuit Diagram
Whether you call it an elementary diagram, electronic schematic, or circuit diagram, it’s an important resource for any electrical engineer. Follow these steps to create an effective circuit diagram of your own.
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SELECT A DRAWING MEDIUM
Pick a medium in which to build your circuit diagram. While some engineers prefer a pen and paper, or a marker and whiteboard combination, we recommend an online tool. When you create diagrams online, it’s easier to add, delete, or rearrange elements. Your information is saved in a digital format, so you won’t have to save scraps of paper or remember where you put them. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll proceed as though you’re using Lucidchart. You can get started with Lucidchart's free editor. When your circuit diagram is complete, try exporting it as an image file or share it online.
PICK A STARTING POINT
Very few circuit diagrams, especially those made by beginners, are built from scratch. Until you’re comfortable with making your own circuit diagrams, start from an existing image. This image may be provided by your teacher or supervisor. You can also source one online.
Next, determine a goal for your circuit diagram. Are you combining several circuits into one? Adding new components to an existing schematic? Be sure to understand the scope of your project, including how much time it will take.
ADD SHAPES AND SYMBOLS
It’s time to draw your circuit diagram. Begin with a basic overview of the wiring connections. In Lucidchart, you can draw lines that represent connections by hitting “L” on your keyboard, then clicking and dragging with your mouse. Line formatting can be altered by selecting the line and right-clicking, or choosing from the options in the properties bar at the top of the page.
Add components to your diagram as needed. Be sure to review the entire circuit diagram shape library to make sure it contains the elements you need. If it doesn’t, you can easily upload an image from your desktop or search within the editor for additional icons.
When you drop a power source into the diagram, select it with a click. This will bring up a menu where you can designate its label, orientation, and charge. Double-check that you are noting the correct value for each component.
Continue adding elements to your circuit diagram until it represents all connections between devices, including power and signal connections. Remember that circuit diagrams typically don’t reflect the physical layout of components.
CHECK YOUR WORK
Your diagram is nearly complete. But before it’s put to use, ask yourself the following questions:
Are the components of this diagram widely available?
Does the circuit behave as expected?
Is the diagram readable and easy to understand?
As a final step, take your circuit diagram to someone you trust and ask if it makes sense. That person should have an outsider’s perspective that can add valuable insight to your work.
Lucidchart is a simple solution for making circuit diagrams. Use it for all types of specialized charts, whether you need business or technical diagrams.