Autocad Electrical® creating Items in Vault Professional 2013®

Originally Published 8/8/2013


Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve done anything that impressed me enough to consider writing about it.  Summer doldrums?  Short attention span?  Well, whatever it was, I’ve just completed a challenge that no one else seemed to know the answer to, so it may be worth writing about.  If this is all painfully obvious to you, my sincerest apologies!

The challenge was to be able to assign Items from an Autocad Electrical 2013® project, and get my company’s internal part number to be the Item Number on the project and all of the components.  The Project was fairly easy to do with Vault® mappings, as I had the control panel BOM number right on the drawings… it was easy to extract that property and map it.  For some background information on managing Properties in Vault Professional 2013® see this wiki help link:

The big challenge was to force the panel and/or schematic components to use our internal number as the Item number.  The component, by itself, does not have any mappable properties.  By default, when assigned to an Item, components use the Catalog number from Autocad Electrical’s ® catalog.  I was attempting to use the catalog’s “User1” property to enter our part numbers.  However, any attempt to map the Vault ® property “Number” (which is used to set item numbers) to User1 by mapping to the electrical project was a complete failure.

Let me back up, and share some mapping tips I pulled from several posts on the Autodesk ® Discussion Forums.  Without repeating everything in the wiki link above, on the property “Number”, any mappings that are on the “Mapping” tab should be deleted, since they will override the mappings that apply to the Item numbering scheme.

Mapping tab of Number Property Editing Window

Here’s another wiki help link on numbering schemes:

My Item numbering scheme is set to Mapped, which will use the mappings set up on Number, under the “Settings” tab.  This is a bit unique to this property because of how it works with numbering schemes.

Item Default Numbering Scheme
Settings Tab and Mappings for Property Number

You can see in the image above that I have several file properties mapped to Number under the settings tab.  The second and third were the easy ones, since these properties existed in the files and were easy to grab.  The property “bom#” came from my Autocad Electrical ® project template (.wdp file).  The Autodesk Inventor ® property “Part Number” came from my Inventor ® drawing template.

The property “USER1” was the one I could not get to, until I did a little digging.  I figured out that, by default, components form the Electrical ® catalog were taking the catalog number when assigned Items.  This property also was not available for mapping from the project file.  After a lot of hair pulling and some hand wringing, I decided to look at what properties were available for mapping from one of my schematic drawing files.  Sure enough… Catalog Number was in there!  User1, however, was not.

Closer examination of the schematic I was playing with revealed that none of the components I used had my part numbers entered in the catalog.  Lights came on and bells dinged in my head.  Could it be that simple?  I set up a test project and drawing, and placed several random components which I knew DID have part numbers under USER1.  I saved the files and checked into the Vault ®.

With those files safely tucked away in Vault ®, I went back to my mappings window (see the image above), and attempted to map USER1 from the Autocad ® drawing instead of the project.  Under the “import properties” tab I selected the test drawing I had just checked in.  Since the drawing contained components which actually used the “USER1” field, I was able to map it successfully.  Next, from my Vault ® Client I found the test project and selected “assign Item”.  The list of Items came up with all of my part numbers as the Item numbers.  It was a beautiful thing.

So, the moral of a long story is, before you attempt to map a “user” field from the catalog in Autocad Electrical ®, first create a “seed” drawing that contains components where that field is in use, and check it into Vault ®.  Then use that file to create the mapping.

I’m sure I’m missing something here, so feel free to comment and, as always, ask questions or tell me how wrong I am!  🙂

Many thanks to Mr. Randy Brunette of Autodesk ® for helping me get my thought process going to figure this out.


“Autodesk® screen shots reprinted with the permission of Autodesk, Inc.  Autodesk ® , AutoCAD ® , DWG, the DWG logo, Vault®, Autocad Electrical® and Inventor® are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and other countries.”


CAD Department Supervisor at Powell Fabrication & Manufacturing, Inc. CAD Designer & Detailer specializing in Inventor Tube & Pipe, Frame Generator, Content Center, Vault Professional. Autodesk Expert Elite member. Blogger. AU 2014 Speaker. Husband and father.

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