Updating an AutoCAD Electrical Project File to a New Environment File

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May 12, 2021 | All, AutoCAD, Electrical

The environment file (wd.env) in AutoCAD Electrical controls where the software retrieves the content needed to create the drawings. The wd.env identifies:

  • where the libraries are located for various symbols used in schematic drawings;
  • the 1:1 footprints used in panel drawings;
  • where the menu files are located that allow you to choose the schematic symbols and footprints.

If changes are made to the environment file, the project files created before the changes will not automatically update the library and menu file paths that were established when the project was originally created. In some cases, you will want to keep the original locations in the project, but in most cases, you will want to update the project to the new locations.

This document will show you the steps needed to update an older project, or a project made by someone else, to the current environment file locations.

Watch the video demonstrating these steps.

Most of the time, you realize the paths are wrong because a dialog box displays letting you know the software looked in several locations for the symbol you were trying to insert, but it could not find it. The dialog box looks something like this:


Many times, users get this message because they upgraded to a new version of the software, and they are working with a project file that was created in a previous release. Additionally, if the project was created by another company, it will have different paths identified. This happens when companies that work together share their projects, like panel builders supplying the completed panels along with the drawing files. After activating the older project, the user tries to retrieve a symbol from the library and will get the AutoCAD message showing you where it looked.

When this happens, the user typically goes to the project properties option, expands the library locations and realizes they are pointing to the wrong locations. Rather than editing the locations one line at a time for every project that needs to be updated, there is a Default button that will allow you to update each category.

To update the project to the locations defined in the environment file, you need to select each of the four categories on the Project Settings tab under the Library and Icon Menu Paths and click the Default button. If default paths are used from one release to another, the project file will automatically update to the new paths. But if any changes are made, the paths will not update.

Here is an example before using the Default button to update the older project file:

Here is the same project after updating it:


Understanding how to manage the AutoCAD Electrical environment and project files can save hours of time and frustration.

The environment file also tells AutoCAD Electrical where to retrieve and save other files too. Some examples are:

  • the browse button in the Icon Menu dialog box;
  • the default Location path identified in the New Project dialog box;
  • the catalog database.

Setting up the environment file to work as a single source for all group members will ensure everyone will be working, and retrieving, from the same content.

The AutoCAD Electrical content can be set up on the server or through the Autodesk Vault. Moving the shared content to the server or Autodesk Vault will avoid being locked into a version and will also make migrating to new releases easier.

Now is the time!  The longer you wait, the more cleanup you will have to do.


If you need a partner to help you navigate through your technology challenges, contact Applied Software today. The experts of Applied will help you investigate the solutions that are right for your company.