Understanding the AutoCAD Electrical .ENV File

April 26, 2016 By Brad Bland Leave a comment

In AutoCAD Electrical we have a WD.ENV text file that controls different environmental settings throughout the program. A user can generate their own alternate file to use instead. Always keep the original as a backup in case of file corruption.


If a user searches “C:\Users\{username}\Documents\Acade {version}\AeData\” they can find their wd.env text file. This file can be edited with notepad. When looking at the file, each line is defined as “environment code, setting, description” all separated by a comma. When the first character in a line is an asterisk (*), the program ignores that particular line. This is called “commenting” or “remarking” a line. It is similar to computer programming when they comment out a specific line of code, the computer ignores that particular line.


To determine what “.env” file a specific project is using, follow the steps below:

  1. Right-click a project name, select settings, and then click the Environment File button to select the project-specific ENV file to use.

  2. Click on “Environment File” button in Figure 3 from above.
  3. The Optional “.env” File Assignment for Active Project window appears.

  4. Using the command prompt, type in: (c:ace_find_file “env” 3)[Enter].

When customizing a user’s own “.env” file, the following table is a list of different environment codes and their purpose for use in the .env file:


A user can define path setting using any of the following aliases:


The %DS_DIR% alias from above is based on the “user” profile. Companies are making this a network location, and if the network becomes unavailable could cause issues.

As mentioned earlier, a user can create their own custom “.env” file, or generate a project specific “.env” file. The “.env” file is only read when the software starts up or if the project file is reloaded. So, the “.env” file is not constantly being resourced.

Recommendation: Once changes have been made to the “.env” file, AutoCAD Electrical should be restarted.

To create a project specific “.env” file, follow the steps listed below:

  1. Copy the wd.env file and rename it to a (project name).env.
  2. Open and edit the new file in notepad.
  3. Change the path for the library symbols and other settings as required for the project.
  4. Save to the same folder as the wd.env file: C:\Users\{username}\Documents\Acade {version}\AeData\.
  5. Right-click a project name, select settings, and then click the Environment File button to select the project-specific ENV file to use.


Sample Modification

An example modification to the “.env” file would be if every time a user makes a change on a drawing, and that drawing has related items to other drawings, AutoCAD Electrical will prompt the user for a QSAVE. A user can choose to “Always QSAVE”, but this is only good for the current session of AutoCAD Electrical. When the software is restarted, the message will appear again. To avoid this a user could modify the “.env” file to automatically QSAVE. Edit the “.env” file and scroll down to the “Misc” section and remove the asterisk (*) in front of the line shown below:


By removing the asterisk (*), this removes the “commented” line to suppress the QSAVE prompt. Now any change will automatically QSAVE.

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Tagged with AutoCAD Electrical 2015, AEC, AutoCAD, Manufacturing, AutoCAD Electrical, ENV, Environment Code

About Brad Bland

Brad joined Advanced Solutions in October 2015 as an Education Specialist based out of Kansas City, MO. Brad has a Bachelors Degree in Manufacturing Enginering from Missoui Western State University. He is professionally certified in Autodesk Inventor.

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