25 Replies Latest reply on Feb 18, 2012 11:09 AM by Jeremy Waldner

    Undockable FeatureManager Tree

    Jim Wilkinson
      Hello Everyone,

      Every once in a while we get a post or request asking for theability to undock the FeatureManager tree from the left of thescreen. The FeatureManager tree (and some other panes) are actuallydocked to the left of the each document window, but since mostusers work with a single document maximized, they are only seeingone tree at a time. I want to learn more about why users want to"undock" the FeatureManager from the left, where theywould want to put it, and how to handle the multiple documentissue. Here are some questions I have, but in addition to answeringthese questions, feel free to post any other information that youthink may help my research.

      First, the scenerio: We could make the "Manager Area" onthe left of the document an "application level" arearather than a document level area (in fact, many users haverequested this). That is, there would only be one instance of themanager area, similar to the Task Pane, and the contents of thisarea would relate to the currently active document. The managerarea could be undocked, placed on another monitor, docked on theright (perhaps having its tabs intermingled with the contents ofthe Task Pane), etc.  If you tiled document windows inSolidWorks, the contents of the FeatureManager tree,ConfigurationManager, DimXpert/TolAnalyst pane, and any API programpanes would relate to the currently active document (since therewould only be one instance of each of these panes).

      Keeping in mind that to achieve some of these new abilities, wewould possibly need to lose some of the existing abilities (butperhaps not all, hence why I am probing for answers on how you usethese areas).

      1) Do you want this ability to undock the manager area and ifso, why? Would you want to put it on the right of the screen? Wouldyou want to put it on another monitor? Are there other reasons?
      2) Even if you would not move the manager area from the left of thescreen, would you prefer to have it an "applicationlevel" container rather than a document level container? Ifso, why?
      3) In this scenario, you would never be able to see twoFeatureManager trees at the same time (from two separatedocuments). Is this acceptable? Are there scenarios where you needto see two trees at the same time? Perhaps for visual comparison?What about drag and drop between FeatureManager trees...is thatneeded? Would you be willing to sacrifice having one tree perdocument for the ability to move the tree around?
      4) There would only be one ConfigurationManager visible at a time.Is this OK or are there cases where you need to seeConfigurationManagers for different documents at the same time?Would you be willing to sacrifice having one ConfigurationManagerper document for the ability to move it around (please try todetach your thinking on the ConfigurationManager vs. theFeatureManager tree...we could handle them separately)?
      5) There would only be one DimXpert/TolAnalyst pane visible at atime. Are there cases where you need to see these panes formultiple documents at the same time? Would you be willing tosacrifice having one DimXpert/TolAnalyst pane per document for theability to move the pane around (please try to detach your thinkingon the DimXpert/TolAnalyst pane vs. the FeatureManager tree...wecould handle them separately)?
      6) There would only be one instance of any Add-in/API pane visibleat a time in the manager area. Are there any cases of Add-ins/APIprograms where you need to see these panes for multiple documentsat the same time? Would you be willing to sacrifice having one ofeach Add-in/API pane per document for the ability to move thepane around (please try to detach your thinking on thesepanes vs. the FeatureManager tree...we could handle themseparately)?
      7) When you tile documents, each document would show only thegraphics area for the document, not the manager area for eachdocument. This is advantageous in one way since all thosemanager areas reduce the amount of the model graphics that youcan see (which may be why you are tiling documents). Are therescenarios where seeing all those managers is an advantage?
      8) If we make the manager area application level, we may need toeliminate the ability to split the manager area. Are therescenarios where splitting this area is a major advantage? If so,under what scenarios do you use the splitting for which you thinkwe should continue to support splitting?

      I appreciate your answers to these questions or any other input youmay have on this subject.
        • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
          Mark Kaiser
          1. I had never thought of the ability to undock the manager. I can't think of a huge advantage at the moment.
          2. Don't really understand this question.
          3. I do use two feature managers frequently from seperate documents, for comparison purposes. I may look at a backup or previous revision of a design to see how I built the model. This becomes useful in the early design process and how to build a model so it can be modified easy, configured easy, etc. Maybe I screwed up a model and can't remember how previously built, so I open the backup to look at the feature tree history, with both documents visible to easily compare the trees.
          4. How could I cycle configs of multiple documents (at the same time)? I vote no on this, give me a config manager for each open document.
          5. Don't use DimXpert/TolAnalyst, therefore no input on this one.
          6. Not frequently used features either.
          7. Shut off/hide your FMT if you don't like seeing it! I like the user ability to hide/show the FMT. Don't take away my choice!
          8. I personally don't like the splitting FMT. Just my opinion.

          This would be a major change, you know how much grief users sometimes give over minor changes...
            • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
              Jim Wilkinson

               

              Originally posted by: Mark Kaiser. 4. How could Icycle configs of multiple documents (at the same time)?



              There would only be one ConfigurationManager pane on the screen andthe contents of the pane would be for the currently activedocument. You just wouldn't be able to look at oneConfigurationManager per document if we implemented it in thismanner.
            • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
              Wayne Tiffany
              I use multiple document windows to compare, move parts, etc. Having each document have its own tree is very important to me as if affords the opportunity to have each tree stay in sight for quicker visual comparison, it stays where you left it, etc.

              I also split the FT most of the time when I have more than one configuration, which is probably 90% of the time. To lose that ability would be maddening to me. To make the change to increase graphic area is not a good tradeoff as the user can currently do that by hiding each tree as desired. My vote is keep it like it is.

              WT
                • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                  Jim Wilkinson

                   

                  Originally posted by: Wayne Tiffany I also splitthe FT most of the time when I have more than one configuration,which is probably 90% of the time. To lose that ability would bemaddening to me.



                  So, my understanding from this is that you split the manager areato look at the tree and the ConfigurationManager at the same time.Is there any other reason you split it?
                    • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                      Wayne Tiffany
                      That's usually it, but I have, on occasion, split it to look at two different areas of the tree at the same time. I also have split it on occasion to put an underline at some point in the tree that I want to use as a visual reference.

                      Along with this discussion should be the fact that the 2008 ConfigurationManager is hijacked by the Display States area. Even if I have no specific Display States, I lose half of my config area. Since I almost always want to have the configs visible, this is quite a blow to my performance. Letting me drag that split bar would be a good option there. Or, give me the option to show either configs or display states.

                      WT
                    • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                      Paul Lemke
                      I couldn't agree more with Wayne. I think this is coming from a bunch of artistic people who want solidworks to look like photoshop. Please let me know if I am wrong about this. Also I would like the ability to hide some of the tabs on the side as well as the solidworks resources tab, realview and the file explorer tab. I never use them and it is sorta clutter. Multiscreen support is a lot more important to me.
                      command manager docked on the side not up top please.
                    • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                      Jason Capriotti
                      I think there have been some ideas about being able to undock the different tabs like the Config Manager or Property Manager. Considering that monitors are going wide screen and many (incuding myself) have two monitors, there is more room to do this on the sides.

                      Of course you can't please everyone but if you take away something you are going to get alot of complaints and grief, like how you can't dock the new 2008 command manager on the sides anymore (my pet peeve). For me, having the ability to see the feature tree and configs for each document is a must for comparing purposes so please don't take that ability away.

                      As for spliting the "manager" pane, I do that all the time when there are more than one configuration. Usually to switch between them while working, less steps that way. I can go through the different configs quickly and set whats different for each. Having two panes side by side would accomplish the same thing so maybe thats the tradeoff.

                      Maybe a toggle under the view menu for toggling the "Manager" between Application mode and Document mode. Probably a bit more work but it makes most everyone happy.
                      • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                        Charles Culp
                        Is there a reason why it could not be done like drawings, whereeverything from every sheet is in the same pane.  Sheets thatare not active are grayed out; thus parts that are not active wouldbe grayed out. - Just my first thought to get the advantages ofboth worlds.

                        See attached screenshot of what i would imagine.  You have touse your imagination for the "grayed out" of the lowerpart... All I have for graphics is MS Paint.

                        -I personally have no real opinion either way.  When I firststarted using Solidworks it felt strange with the FM on the left,because I learned 3D Studio first, where it is on the right. Now that I am used to it 3DS seems awkward...  How wouldmoving the FM tree help anyone?  Wayne mentioned how it mightmake it more difficult for him, I hate to see things movebackwards.

                        *Edit: Oops.  Little "typo" in my screenshotthere, imagine that one of the +parts is tied to the one window,and the other -part is tied to the other...
                        • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                          Devon Sowell
                          Hello Jim-

                          My first response is; You want to change the U.I. AGAIN?; using this as your justification "Every once in a while we get a post or request asking for the ability to undock the FeatureManager tree from the left of the screen. The FeatureManager tree (and some other panes) are actually docked to the left of the each..." I would like to point out the phrase "Every once in a while"

                          Please stop changing the U.I., I have 25 Clients I consult to, they don't have the free time to learn a new U.I.
                            • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                              Rich Osterreicher
                              How bout an undockable Command Manager?
                              • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                                Jim Wilkinson

                                 

                                Originally posted by: Devon Sowell Hello Jim- Myfirst response is; You want to change the U.I. AGAIN?; using thisas your justification "Every once in a while we get a post orrequest asking for the ability to undock the FeatureManager treefrom the left of the screen. The FeatureManager tree (and someother panes) are actually docked to the left of the each..." Iwould like to point out the phrase "Every once in awhile"



                                I never said we WERE going to change the UI. I am trying toinvestigate WHY the request comes in. The newsgroups are only onesource of input from a very limited group of people. We get manyrequests for multi-monitor support and are getting more and morerequests for wide screen monitor support. Unfortunately, mostpeople simply say they want something and don't go into any detailsof why. I am trying to research what the variousrequests actually mean and what implications it would have onthe current user interface.
                                  • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                                    Dwight Livingston
                                    I only rarely have more than one document up at a time. It would be somewhat useful to move the FeatureManager to my other monitor. I am always changing the FeatureManager width to make room in the graphics area or to see long feature titles. If you did have just one FeatureManager for multiple documents, I would think you should be able to drag an item from the FeatureManager to a different document window, which would change the FeatureManager as you drag, so you can finish the drag in the other tree.

                                    All in all, the FeatureManager docking is very small potatos compared to other issues.
                                • Undockable FeatureManager Tree

                                  Jim,

                                   

                                  Being able to detach the FeatureManager  tree is notimportant to me, but several of the things mention cause meconcern.

                                   

                                  1)      I really don't care etherway.

                                  2)      It should be document level forcomparing multiple documents. If we can't directly compare multipleFeatureManager  trees that will be a step back.

                                  3)      For comparing documentsmultiple FeatureManager  trees are important. No, I'm notwilling to sacrifice multiple FeatureManagers for the ability toundock it.

                                  4)      If I'm working with multipleconfiguration parts I want a ConfigurationManager for each. No, I'm not willing to sacrifice multipleConfigurationManagers for the ability to undock it. Being able toseparating the FeatureManager  tree and ConfigurationManagerwould be a nice feature.

                                  5)      At this point I haven't startedusing DimXpert/TolAnalyst yet.

                                  6)      Don't use Add-ins/API paneenough to have an opinion.

                                  7)      I'm willing to sacrificegraphics area to reduce the amount of mouse clicks and movement. Asmuch as possible I setup my workspace that a single click gets mewhat I want. Having to click between multiple windows in order tobe able to view the FeatureManager and having to remember what theprevious tree looked like would be a pain.

                                  8)      When I'm working with multipleconfiguration parts and assemblies (+50% of the time) I normallyhave the FeatureManager split to be able to work with both theFeatureManager  tree and ConfigurationManager. If we canseparate the FeatureManager tree and the ConfigurationManager thiswon't be an issue, just don't limit me to one of each.

                                   

                                  I agree with Wayne 100% about the 2008 ConfigurationManagerbeing hijacked by the Display States area. Although I'm willing tosacrifice graphics space to improve my work flow I hate being forceto give up space in the FeatureManager to the Display State justbecause I want to use the Configuration Manager.

                                   

                                  This is my 2c since you ask for opinions.

                                  • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                                    Eddie Cyganik
                                    Hello Jim,

                                    1. Yes, to the Right. Because I'm Right-Handed.

                                    2. I love the document level but if the application level works the same way, then this would be fine, unless I'm missing something.

                                    3. This would be fine with me as most features can be copied from the graphics area and for everything else, we use library & palette features.

                                    4. One Configuration Manager would be acceptable.

                                    5. Ditto.

                                    6. Ditto.

                                    7. Again, I would find this to be acceptable.

                                    8. I use the spit in two different scenarios:
                                    -> Working with configurations. Switch configs & simultaneously verify there are no errors in the FMT.
                                    -> Working with assemblies. Simultaneous review & modification of components and their respective mates.

                                    Thanks for asking Jim.
                                    • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                                      I think I can summarize how I would like to SolidWorks to behave; like Visual Studio. The feature manager, configuration manager and other windows could be docked to the containing window like how the properties, solution explorer, toolbox etc windows are in VS. The drop down menu in the properties window (in VS) could be mapped to open documents in SolidWorks. If one needed to copy and paste, all one would need to do is copy the feature, change the document, and paste. Big deal. Tabbed documents in SW as well as the ability to undock the command manager would be nice as well.

                                      The reason I would want these changes is to maximise the document view. Putting the feature manager and the other related panes at the application level would allow that.
                                      • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                                        Mark Matthews
                                        I guess i am one of those who requested a movable FM. I want it on my other monitor, out of the way, but as open as possible without being crowded out by the config manager which should have it's own window. I want the ability to have all those tabs open in their own windows on my other monitor. The reason for this is that I am a big user of the split FM window now and I hate it. I'm ALWAYS having to move the bar to see what I want cause it has a mind of it's own and doesn't stay put. I do alot of renderings and I want the PW editor completely open on my other monitor without having to click on all those tabs; in other words, all the adjustemnts spread out for me.

                                        Multiple FM managers openfor comparison? Yes I can see that's important. Drag the FM onto any tiled open part and then all FM's appear in each open part. Drag it back out to the other monitor or an unoccupied space in the application window and it becomes the active document's once again (and an "application level" window).
                                          • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                                            Sean Phillips

                                            Mark Matthews wrote:

                                             

                                            I guess i am one of those who requested a movable FM. I want it on my other monitor, out of the way, but as open as possible without being crowded out by the config manager which should have it's own window. I want the ability to have all those tabs open in their own windows on my other monitor. The reason for this is that I am a big user of the split FM window now and I hate it. I'm ALWAYS having to move the bar to see what I want cause it has a mind of it's own and doesn't stay put. .

                                            This is my feelings exactly. I want my main monitor to be the model, with no menus, feature menu's, etc. All of those I want to be on my second monitor.
                                              • Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                                                Matthew Lorono
                                                1. I want an undockable FM so I can move it off to the second screen to allow me to maximize the space space on my first screen for the view pane.

                                                2. Yes, so that I can compare multiple FM's at the same time. having the FM's displayed fully, next to each other, while view panes of multiple documents split the main screen would be extremely useful, as long as it is made clear which FM belongs to each view pane. Perhaps this can be done with automatically assigned color strips on the each of each view pane that matches the background color or a similar view strip of the its associated FM.

                                                3. No. That's ridiculous. See my answer for 2.

                                                4. No. That's ridiculous. See my answer for 2. Half the reason to do this is to see the complete document information of multiple documents at the same time. The other half is to open up the main screen's area for more view pane space. See my answer for 1.

                                                5. It seems this would be fine, though I'm not sure why it's being asked.

                                                6. Please explain this further.

                                                7. If I understand the question, then I say see my answer for 2.

                                                8. No. Do not remove the ability to split the FM.
                                            • Re: Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                                              James Sorrentino

                                              Just adding my plug for a undockable FeatureManager Tree. Most CAD user I know have a two (2) monitor set-up & would love to be able to put the FM on the second screen so that the drawing view is maximized. This would also keep those from 3D Studio happy by docking the FM on the right side.

                                               

                                              As far as the Property Manager & the Configuration Manager being dockable seperately, I personally don't have a need for it but if someone else does then go for it. Why not make SolidWorks as customizable as possible?

                                              • Re: Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                                                Jeremy Waldner

                                                     I've been using dual monitors the last few releases, with the modeling window on my right monitor, and the Main SW window extended partially onto the secondary monitor (left side) so just the FM was on the second window, and the property manager popped out and placed to the left of the FM.

                                                SW opened that way every time without me having to resize anything save for the odd time I'd have to adjust the FM width so it stopped right at the monitor break/margins.

                                                     And then comes SW 2012 with "dual monitor support", and messed up the way this works. (oh the irony)

                                                My documents now open entirely on the left monitor, which has just enough window area to show the FM. Meaning the actual window opens so small, even the maximize, minimize and close buttons aren't visible. now I have to manually maximize every document. Every. Darn. Time.


                                                1) Do you want this ability to undock the manager area and ifso, why? Would you want to put it on the right of the screen? Wouldyou want to put it on another monitor? Are there other reasons?

                                                 

                                                     This single option would solve the problem, allowing me to maximize the the drawing pane on the right monitor, and popping the FM and Property Manager onto the left monitor.

                                                This would also allow further customization so a user can move their FM, PM and/or Command Manager to the left OR right monitor, in the case of triple monitors. This is most certainly something I would use.

                                                 

                                                     And while you're at it, allow the ability to pop out the Configuration Manager & Display Manager as well, so we can tile them as we wish. What's the reason to limit that ability to only the Property Manager?

                                                please?

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 


                                                2) Even if you would not move the manager area from the left of thescreen, would you prefer to have it an "applicationlevel" container rather than a document level container? Ifso, why?

                                                3) In this scenario, you would never be able to see twoFeatureManager trees at the same time (from two separatedocuments). Is this acceptable? Are there scenarios where you needto see two trees at the same time? Perhaps for visual comparison?What about drag and drop between FeatureManager trees...is thatneeded? Would you be willing to sacrifice having one tree perdocument for the ability to move the tree around?

                                                4) There would only be one ConfigurationManager visible at a time.Is this OK or are there cases where you need to seeConfigurationManagers for different documents at the same time?Would you be willing to sacrifice having one ConfigurationManagerper document for the ability to move it around (please try todetach your thinking on the ConfigurationManager vs. theFeatureManager tree...we could handle them separately)?

                                                5) There would only be one DimXpert/TolAnalyst pane visible at atime. Are there cases where you need to see these panes formultiple documents at the same time? Would you be willing tosacrifice having one DimXpert/TolAnalyst pane per document for theability to move the pane around (please try to detach your thinkingon the DimXpert/TolAnalyst pane vs. the FeatureManager tree...wecould handle them separately)?

                                                6) There would only be one instance of any Add-in/API pane visibleat a time in the manager area. Are there any cases of Add-ins/APIprograms where you need to see these panes for multiple documentsat the same time? Would you be willing to sacrifice having one ofeach Add-in/API pane per document for the ability to move thepane around (please try to detach your thinking on thesepanes vs. the FeatureManager tree...we could handle themseparately)?

                                                7) When you tile documents, each document would show only thegraphics area for the document, not the manager area for eachdocument. This is advantageous in one way since all thosemanager areas reduce the amount of the model graphics that youcan see (which may be why you are tiling documents). Are therescenarios where seeing all those managers is an advantage?

                                                 

                                                     Convincing enough arguments to make this an option, at least. James Sorrentino and Matthew Lorono have an idea. Maybe a simple button to toggle between it being an application-level and document-level container? I would prefer to have a single document-level FM, but can see it being useful either way.

                                                 

                                                 


                                                8) If we make the manager area application level, we may need toeliminate the ability to split the manager area. Are therescenarios where splitting this area is a major advantage? If so,under what scenarios do you use the splitting for which you thinkwe should continue to support splitting?

                                                 

                                                never use splitting, so no opinion there.

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 



                                                  • Re: Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                                                    John Sweeney

                                                    Hi Jeremy,

                                                    Do you open the document by dragging the file from Explorer into your SolidWorks session?  If so, our new logic for "dual monitor" has changed this behavior.  When your SolidWorks window is spanning, or partially spanning, two monitors SW2012 allows you to drag files from Explorer and automatically fit the document to the monitor you drop it onto.  If you drop the document onto your right monitor area, you should notice it will fill the right-hand display.  Unfortunately, this goes against what you are trying to do. 

                                                    I've written SPR 638214 to address what I believe is your issue and I'm discussing the behavior with our usability team to try and come up with a solution that is the best behavior for everyone.

                                                    As a workaround for the time being... you can use the File-Open dialog, or pick the file from the list of "recent documents" in the File menu, or use the "R" key to quickly pick from a visual list of the recent docs.  You could also make the SolidWorks window size smaller so it is less than 150 pixels onto your left monitor (this is the threshold used for determining if we should open on a particular monitor).

                                                    Best Regards,

                                                    John

                                                      • Re: Undockable FeatureManager Tree
                                                        Jeremy Waldner

                                                        Thanks for the reply, John.

                                                        And sorry for the belated response.

                                                        I open documents using the 'open file' icon and, subsequently, the dialogue inside Solidworks.

                                                         

                                                        Which has certain glitches introduces with SW 2012... I'm using Win7,

                                                        and the "Folder Options" button in the 'Organize' dropdown menu is grayed out, so you now have to manually adjust every folder and subfolder size to where you want them.

                                                        Also you now have to scroll to select 'all files' in the filetype selection box, even though there is a lot of space to display all the filetypes on the screen.

                                                        And I don't understand what was wrong with the 'checkbox' selection method to open a document as read-only.

                                                         

                                                        Some of these changes are paltry issues, and I don't want to waste anyone's time whining about them, but little changes in the UI cause frustration and take time to get used to.

                                                         

                                                         

                                                         

                                                        Is there a chance of getting an undockable Feature Manager?

                                                        Also...I couldn't locate SPR 638214.

                                                        Any idea why?

                                                         

                                                        Jeremy