Eliminate the EPLAN preceding sign (-)

Officially its called the “preceding sign” and in EPLAN it is represented by the minus symbol “-” but it has many other unofficial names:

That dash in front of the device tag, The minus symbol thing, the product identifier and more..





In North America many EPLAN users have never seen this symbol or if they have they have no idea what it represents and they simply want to get rid of it. If you are using one of the many supplied basic projects or templates that ship with EPLAN, they all have this configured in the settings to display automatically. Before we just turn it off, or back on, a brief description is in order.

The product aspect identifier comes from ISO/IEC 81346. This is part of a well developed system for creating unique identifiers for all devices in a system. In essence, all devices in a system can be described using three aspects: (yes, there are a few more if you are interested)

  • the functional aspect =
    • What function or circuit is it a member of?
  • the location aspect +
    • Where is the device physically located?
  • the product aspect 
    • What type of product or device is it? (CB, F, CBL, etc)

Should your designs ever get larger than a single control panel, I strongly recommend that you give the standard a careful review.

Removing the symbol
This process will not remove the function aspect (=) or the location aspect (+) of any devices or symbols so that if you make reference to a component or connection that is located external to the current mounting location (say in another panel) those identifiers will still be available.

OK, to eliminate placing the product aspect preceding sign (-) on future placements:
Options > Settings > Projects > [current project] > Devices > DT
Uncheck any devices that you don’t wish to have a preceding sign when you place them, quite often this is all of them.
Now when you place a symbol or a device the displayed DT should not have a preceding sign.


To get rid of the preceding signs that have already been placed I would suggest using the Find & Replace tool.
First make a backup of your project before you proceed
Also remember that the Find tool is selection sensitive so if you only have a page selected it will only operate on a single page, try this initially on one page to get used to it.

Open the find tool [Ctrl] + F and search in only the DT/Designation

In the Find What field enter the product aspect preceding sign: ” – ” (without the quotes)
[OK] to search

Sort by the value property and identify the DTs with preceding sign
using the shift key perform a multiple selection, then right click and select the Replace tool from the menu
In the find what field enter the preceding sign: ” – ”
In the replace with field just leave it blank
[OK] to execute
Repeat as necessary

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