How to Draw a Circuit Diagram

Written by j.t. barett
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How to Draw a Circuit Diagram
You can draw electronic schematics on paper or with a computer. (embodiment of engineering idea image by Yuriy Poznukhov from

Every electronic circuit forms a loop beginning at a power source, continuing through a set of components and coming back to the source. You can draw many simple circuit diagrams by following that plan. Create a circuit diagram, called a schematic, by sketching out a set of symbols created for every electronic component connected to each other by straight lines. The final diagram will represent every part and connection for the actual circuit.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Electronic symbol set
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Electronics design book

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  1. 1

    Familiarise yourself with the standard set of electronic symbols and how to draw connections between components. Practice drawing symbols for resistors, capacitors and batteries, then work up to diodes and transistors. Note that you represent integrated circuits (ICs) with a rectangular box---there's no need to draw everything inside the IC.

  2. 2

    Determine what kind of circuit you're going to draw. An electronics design book will show you different kinds of circuits and how they work.

  3. 3

    Begin a schematic by drawing a power source, such as a battery, which are traditionally located at the far left- or right-side of a diagram with the battery's positive side facing up. Draw two long horizontal lines near the top and bottom of the paper, representing wires for positive and negative power. Sketch in various components. Note that you'll erase and redraw lines and components as you go along. Refer to the electronics design book to verify that the different parts will work the way you're drawing them.

  4. 4

    Print a title or description of the circuit near the top of the paper. At the sides or bottom, briefly note voltages, frequencies or any special details needed to make the circuit work. If you're going to build a circuit from this diagram, label each part with a letter and consecutive number. Resistors are typically labelled starting with "R1, R2" and so on up through the number of resistors on the diagram. Capacitors use the letter "C," and transistors use "Q." Write the component values near the part. For transistors, diodes and ICs, write their part numbers.

Tips and warnings

  • Practice your drawing skills by copying circuits from a book or web page or use computer software to draw circuits. Software is available for every level of expertise, from low-cost programs to expensive, professional software.

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