How to read hydraulic circuits

Information about the device of the hydraulic system is shown on the hydraulic diagram using symbols.

Hydraulics schematic symbols are a basic component of hydraulic circuit. Symbols for hydraulic systems are for functional interpretation and comprise one or more function symbols. Hydraulic symbols are neither dimensioned nor specified for any particular position.

The following list is contains hydraulic schematic symbols to DIN ISO 1219. This list is designed as ad aid for creating symbols.

What symbols represent hydraulic components?


Pipelines on hydraulic circuits are shown with lines connecting the elements.

Main line symbol

The control lines are represented by a dotted line.

Control line

The direction of fluid flow is indicated by arrows, if necessary. Some lines are designated by letters:

The connection lines are shown by a shaded point.

crossing lines

If the lines intersect in the diagram but are not connected, then an arc is drawn at the intersection point.


Hydraulic fluid is placed in the tank. The tank connected to the atmosphere is shown on the hydraulic circuit.


A closed tank, such as a hydroaccumulator, is shown as a closed loop.

Hydraulic Accumulator


The filter is depicted in the form of a rhomb with a dotted line. This is the line that symbolizes the filter element.



The symbol for the pump is the circle within which a filled triangle (arrow) is drawn. This triangle shows the direction of movement of the fluid. pumps are indicated by a circle, with a triangle arrow indicating the direction of fluid flow.

Pump symbol

If the pump shows two triangles, then this is a reversible pump.

Reverse pump

If the pump symbol has an arrow drawn diagonally, then this is a variable pump.

 variable pump

Hydraulic motor

The hydraulic motor symbol is similar to a pump symbol. The triangle inside the contour is rotated 180 degrees. Triangle shows the direction of supply of fluid to the hydraulic motor. In this case, the arrow indicates the direction of supply of fluid to the hydralic motor.

Hydraulic  motor

If the symbol shows two triangles, it is a reversible hydraulic motor.

2 direction hydraulic motor

If the arrow is diagonally drawn on the symbol, then it is a variable hydraulic motor.

variable hydraulic motor

Hydraulic cylinder

A hydraulic cylinder is a mechanical actuator, that is used to give a unidirectional force through a unidirectional stroke.

On the double-acting hydraulic cylinder symbol, lines of fluid supply to the piston and rod cavity are shown.

Double acting cylinder

A hydraulic cylinder with a plunger (single acting) is shown as:

hydraulic cylinder with a plunger

Directional valves

To denote a directional valve, several squares are drawn. Each square symbolizes 1 position of the spool. If a directional valve has two positions, then two squares are drawn. The drawn lines in each square show which channels are connected in this position.

Directional valve

Here four linear (four lines A, B, P, T lines), three positional (three squares) directional valve are shown.

The circuit shows the neutral position of the valve spool. In this example, in the neutral position of the directional valve, the channels P and T are interconnected, A and B are muted.

neutral position

The directional valve can switch by connecting other channels.

On the square to the left, it is shown that when the valve switches, the lines P and B, A and T will connect. This conclusion can be made by virtually moving the directional valve to the right.

lines P and B, A and T will connect

On the square on the right, it is shown that when the directional valve switches to another position, the lines P and A, B and T will connect.

lines P and A, B and T will connect

The operation of the directional valve is shown in the video.

Operational modes

To switch the valve, you need to move the spool. This can be done in various ways.

Types of operation:

Controls are shown using symbols.

Operational modes

The circuit shows a four linear, two-position valve, with electromagnetic control and spring return.

4 way directional valve

Pressure relif valve

The figure shows the symbol of the pressure relif valvee.

relief valve

The arrow inside the square indicates the direction of flow of the fluid.

The spring force should be higher and the valve will open.

Check Valve

The check valve allows fluid to flow in one direction, and shut off its flow in the opposite direction. This is also shown in the circuit.

check valve

When the liquid flows from top to bottom, the ball (circle) will slide from the saddle, indicated by two lines.

When the fluid flows from below - upward, the ball will press against the saddle, and will not allow the fluid to flow in this direction.

The symbol of the check valve may depict a spring that presses the ball to the saddle.


Hydraulic resistance or unregulated choke on the circuit depict two curved lines.

Possibility of regulation, is shown by an arrow. Adjustable throttle is designated as:

Throttle valve - hydraulic circuits

Measuring devices

In hydraulic systems, instruments are used: pressure gauge, flow meter, level indicator, their designation of these devices is shown below. Pressure gauge (manometer), flow meter, level gauge.

Measuring devices

Hydraulic schematic symbols to DIN ISO 1219

Main line
Main line symbol
Control line
Drain line
Control line

Energy transfer and storage

Pump symbol
Hydraulic motor
1 direction to flow
Hydraulic circuits - motor
2 direction to flow
2 direction hydraulic motor
Hydraulic Accumulator
Hydraulic cylinder
Double acting
Double acting cylinder
Hydraulic cylinder
Single acting

Directional valves

2/2 way directional valve
2 2 valve
3/2 way valve
3 2 way valve
4/2 way valve
4 2 hydraulic valve
5/2 way valve
5 2 valve
4/3 way valve
4 3 directional valve

Pressure control valve

Pressure relief valve
relief valve
Pressure reucing valve
reducing valve

Flow control valve

Throttle valve
Throttle valve - hydraulic circuits
Flow control valve
2 way
2 way flow control valve

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