Create an EPLAN Parts Database Using SQL

Intended Audience: EPLAN P8 users with SQL or SQL Express

Thankfully getting SQL installed and running is the really the most difficult part about using it, creating a database for use with EPLAN is rather simple.

Most of what follows here describes connecting to the local SQL Express server and this is not necessary at all once you know that you have the proper server name, login name and password. However, for the first time user, you can spend hours trying unsuccessfully to create your first database with EPLAN only to find out there is nothing wrong with EPLAN, the problem is that you don’t have proper access to the SQL server.

For SQL Server users (Remote)
If you work for a company that has an IT department you will probably be connecting to a SQL server on your company network, ask them for the server name, your login name and password. You can now skip the material below and go directly to Creating the EPLAN Database in SQL. 

For SQL Express users (Local)

Verify that you can connect to the server
Open the SQL Server Management Studio studio manager application, if you have the option to run as admin please use this option. Start > Programs > Microsoft SQL Server xxx > SQL Server Management Studio

When the application launches you will be greeted with a dialog that looks like the dialog below. Please note that the server name and the authentication credentials were created previously during the installation of the SQL application. If you do not have this information in hand, go find someone that has this information, ask them for the server name, your login name and your password.

Authentication
When I installed the SQL server I chose the authentication recommended in the EPLAN quick start guide which is SQL Authentication. I would imagine that Windows Authentication works, but I have never tried it.

I am using the default sa or “system admin” login because I created the server, if someone else installed the SQL software for you, or if you are connecting to a network service, you will have your own login name & password.

Enter your credentials, If you have a problem at this step, it’s most likely your credentials.

Congratulations, you have just confirmed that you have access to the server.

This is what my interface looks like, yours will be slightly different, you should see at least the server name at the top of the list. So if you are a first time user, you will have a server, but we still need to create a database.

 

Creating the EPLAN Database in SQL
For this example I want to create an example database named ACME, the ubiquitous company name made famous by Wile E. Coyote. Despite what you may be thinking, we don’t actually create the db using the SQL tools, we actually create the new database using EPLAN.  EPLAN will automatically generate the new relational database with all the necessary tables and properties with just a few simple clicks.

 

Define your Database

Open EPLAN
Open your user settings
Options > Settings > User > Management > Parts.

EPLAN by default come ready to use a MS access database, I think officially SQL is now the officially supported parts manager database format since V2.5.

Lets create a named parts scheme: ACME (or your company name)

Creating a scheme named ACME that will enable us to switch between one or more parts databases, over time they tend to accumulate for various reasons.

Click on the star icon to create a new scheme, give it a name such as ACME or possibly your company name. The new scheme dialog will pop up and it will present you with a list of all the existing db schemes that you currently have.

Switched the db type over from Access to SQL Server and save the scheme.

To create the new EPLAN database click on the star icon on the far right, the SQL Server settings dialog should appear as seen below.

Enter your server name

Enter your user name

Enter your password

Enter the name of your new parts management database, I would suggest using your company name or “master parts” or something like that.

[OK] to execute

Believe it or not, EPLAN just created a brand new empty parts database, that’s it. If you had any problems, its almost 100% because you either have the server name or the UN or PW wrong.

You can start adding parts.

 

Still Curious?
If I were to go back to SQL management studio, I should see the named database in the list, and if I click to expand it in the tables folder I should see what i have below:

The SQL application has several handy tools built into it and I will discuss just one. The parts table [tblPart] is the most commonly used table for many EPLAN users, to see the properties and contents simply right click on the table name and choose > Select top 1000 rows. On the right pane a split window will open that contains a scripting interface at the top and a spreadsheet style view of the data below in the results tab. At this point there is no data to view, but you can see all of the available properties or fields for this table. These are the same property names that you will need to reference later if you want to automate data imports and exports.

SQL express on a windows file server (Optional)
For those of you who are curious, you can install SQL express on a windows file server and and use it for a small design team. I was teaching a P8 class in Georgia and got in a jam with a customer so we setup SQL Express on a windows file server for a team of six and it worked fine, the only “work” involved was setting up all the user permissions. You will want to install the application in a protected folder structure so that some knuckle-head can not move critical files and put you out of business, the permissions are required to control access to this folder. I don’t know how to create the permissions, so I will be no help there. SQL express will support a database up to 10GB which is way more capacity than you should ever need for your parts and translation databases.

Looking good, now all we need to do is put some data in there!

Next – Importing data from Excel to EPLAN

 

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