Introduction to EPLAN Layers

Many EPLAN users are only vaguely aware that the design tool makes extensive use of layers. EPLAN automatically assigns objects of all types to pre-defined and pre-named layers during placement so gone are the team arguments about where this or that object should be placed. You can certainly create your own custom layers but many users never have found a good reason to do so.

To access the layer manager from the main menu: Options > Layer Management

EPLAN Layer Management

These layers have many useful properties that can be set or adjusted to meet the needs of a customer or a particular project. These layer names and settings can then be easily imported and exported from one workstation to another, and they can also be pre-defined in templates and basic projects. To learn more about them please check out this link to the EPLAN help file where they discuss this function in detail.

Lets take a moment to see how this works. I just created a new project and an hour or so later I decide that I don’t want my text to display as blue, I would prefer black.  My first action would be to double left mouse click the text to open up the properties dialog.

Click to embiggen

Take a moment to look at the assignment properties and note the icon that looks like a blue stack of paper, this icon indicates that this property is controlled by the current layer settings. In this case the font size, color, alignment angle and others are controlled by layer “EPLAN108”.

We can manually edit any of these properties locally for this one instance, but if we really want to make the change we want to make the change globally at the default layer setting level. If the setting has been adjusted locally or Independently, the layer icon will be missing.

To make global changes to the layer settings we need to open the Layer Manager: Options > Layer Management

Before you make any changes it’s always a good idea to make a backup of your settings first. In EPLAN we can accomplish this by exporting a scheme which is an xml file. Should you need to revert to your previous settings you can simply import your old scheme settings.

Scheme Import-Export

For all the great features that the layer tool provides, it does have a big short coming, there is no search tool and there is no show all layers feature, instead what we have is a collection layers organized by type, sometimes it takes a while to find the layer you are looking for even when you know the exact name. In the case of our example we are looking for a text property which happens to be a graphic, so I open the graphics group and then the text group and there is my text layer EPLAN108, it takes a while to get used to.

There are several settings that you can adjust for each layer, I will select the text color setting and change it to black, once you have made your adjustments click the apply button to save the changes. When you return to your project, all instances of that object should be updated.

There is a shortcut to navigating this mess, if you look closely at the layer number you will see that the text that follows it includes the full pathway to the layer of interest. Simply read the trailing text or write it down to find where it is in the layer groups.

For those who would just rather see the whole list, I have provided one as both a pdf and as an excel file. This particular file was provided by William Baldassarri of who was a former colleague of mine when I worked for EPLAN.

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