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VIA Wiring Diagram - Sharing Menus with Multi Users on a Network

I've been fortune enough to use a copy of VIA Wiring Diagram since release 14.0. In case your unaware, VIA Wiring Diagram (WD) is an electrical diagram drawing tool that automates a tremendous amount of work for Control Engineers. In our case, VIA WD has saved us up to 50% of electrical design time spent on a single project. We've seen a 75% decrease in design time spent on machines that are similar in build where a project file from VIA could be copied as a start bases for the next design. VIA can generate a bill of materials, auto generate wiring numbers and line references to name a few of it's many features.

I've also have come accustomed to sharing growing pains with VIA and the technical support team. So with all that said, I wanted to post a technical explanation from Nate Holt of how to share your VIA catalogs, symbols, etc when you are in a network environment.

Our usage consist of sharing a network license of VIA, and we fequentally make additions to symbols available in the pick box called from VIA's menu system. If I create a new block and added it to my menus on my computer, I wanted that same change to be "global" per say to all the other engineers that open VIA next time at their computers. Nate Holt writes back a step-by-step guide of settings that should be changed to make this magic happen.

Written by Nate Holt, AutoDesk, Inc., (Was then Via Devolpment)

1. Sharing the parts catalog lookup file -- Move the "default_cat.mdb"catalog lookup file to a shared network drive. Then open your wd.env file (in the base VIA-WD folder, "c:viawd2000" for example) with an ASCII text editor and change the "WD_CAT" setting to include the full path and file name. For example:

WD_CAT,n:/electrical/catalogs/via/default_cat.mdb, VIA-WD shared catalog lookup file For each VIA-WD user on a local machine, repeat the above so that all user's "wd.env" files are pointing at this common catalog lookup database file.

2. Sharing the schematic symbol libraries -- Move the schematic symbol libraries up to a shared network drive. Then open the wd.env file (as above) and edit the WD_LIB entry. Have it include the full path or paths to the symbol folder(s). For example:

WD_LIB,n:/electrical/symbols/;n:/electrical/symbols/special/, schem symbol lib path(s)

Now, for each existing VIA-WD "project" you've created (and each new one you create), select the "PRJ" dialog and select the "Symbol LIB" button in the bottom left-hand corner. A subdialog pops up. Select the "WD_LIB" button on this dialog. The wd.env file's symbol lib path will be written to the current project's symbol lib path edit box. Save and go to the next project and repeat. At this point, whenever you pick from WD's icon menu to pop in a schematic symbol, WD will go to your shared network folder to retrieve the schematic symbol.

3. Sharing the panel footprint symbol libraries -- similar to #2 above but the wd.env setting is "WD_PNL" and the "Symbol LIB" subdialog requires you to hit the "Panel" radio button at the top left part of the subdialog to display the "WD_PNL" default button.

4. Sharing PLC parametric build data files -- move (don't copy) all plc*.dat files up to a folder set aside on the shared network drive, let's say "n:/electrical/support/via/". Add this path to your regular ACAD support file path. Now, when you pick the PLC insert button, WD will search for the plc*.dat files and find them on the shared network drive when WD checks the ACAD support paths.

5. Sharing WD's icon menus among multiple users -- move these files and all *.slb files to a shared network drive. Open up the wd.env file with an ASCII text editor and uncomment entry WD_MENU and WD_PMENU. Encode the full pathto the schematic icon menu file for "WD_MENU" and the panel layout menu for WD_PMENU. For example:

WD_MENU,n:/electrical/support/via/wd_menu.dat, schem icon menu file WD_PMENU,n:/electrical/support/via/wd_pmenu.dat, panel layout icon menu file

Now, similar to #2 above, open each existing project (and for each new one), set the project's default schematic and panel layout menus to point at these shared files. If you find that the icon menu performance gets very pokey after this change, move the icon menus and "*.slb" files back to your local drive. Slow network response really shows up when AutoCAD tries to paint the screen's icon menu slides.

6. Setting the default "Project" folder to be on a shared drive -- edit wd.env as described above and set these two entries to point at your default shared network drive folder for WD "project" files: WD_PROJ and WD_PICKPRJDLG. With this in place, hitting the "Pick Proj" button --> "Other Projects" will automatically start the browsing on the shared network drive project folder.

7. Setting WD's INS CIRC to always default to a shared drive -- edit wd.env as described above and set entry WD_INSCKTDLG and WD_USERCKTDIR to point at the designated "user circuit" folder.

8. Setting the Schem and Panel icon menu's "Browse" button to point at a shared network folder -- edit the wd.env file as described above and adjust settings for WD_INSCOMPDLG and WD_INSFPDLG respectively. With these settings in place, it should be fairly easy to add new WD users. Changes you need to make can be made one time in one place for all users.