4 Replies Latest reply on Sep 12, 2018 7:52 AM by Glenn Schroeder

    SW file organization/management

    Sutton Mehaffey

      I have a couple of SW file organization questions for those who have used

      SW for a while.  For a couple of years, we have hired college students in

      engineering to design some of our metal enclosures.  They have done a pretty

      good job overall.  I am trying to better organize the files the students have

      created.  But, I'm having a few issues doing it like I want.


      1.  The students use a company laptop to design.  When finished, I copy the files to my

      desktop.  However, I can't open the files easily because the folder structure is not the

      same.  It looks like if the folder structures are different on the laptop and my

      computer, the file references get broken.  I can use the Pack and Go feature, which copies

      all the files to one folder, but that defeats the purpose of organization.  I like to have

      different folders (Assemblies, Parts, Common Parts, Hardware, Drawings, PDF, STEP files).  Using

      Pack and Go also duplicates Common Parts and Hardware unnecessarily, using this method.  I think the file

      references go from the root folder down.  If they were to go backwards from the current

      working folder, that would make it much easier.  Any better way to organize files efficiently?

      If the answer is make the folder structures the same, or Pack and Go into one folder, then

      not ideal at all, but I'll deal with it.


      2.  We have assembly drawings for our enclosures, which incorporate several non-metal items. 

      Basically, just to make sure things fit properly.  The metal enclosure is sent to our metal

      fab via STEP files.  I don't want to send them files of anything not produced by them.  I asked

      that only the metal files be sent to the metal fab.  So, a second assembly was made, with a

      second set of drawings.  I find this not very efficient, because now two different assemblies

      need changing if there is a modification (the full assembly and just the metal one).  Is there a better

      way of handling this?


      Thanks in advance.  Hopefully, several SW users may have had similar issues.  I'm wondering how

      you handled it.



        • Re: SW file organization/management
          Glenn Schroeder

          1.  When we first started using SW here we also had separate folders for Drawings, Parts, and Assemblies, but I abandoned that years ago.  Instead I have a single folder for each project, and all related files go in that folder, with Parts, Assemblies, Drawings, pdf's, etc all together.  I might add that on more complex projects I often have sub-folders, with the date as the folder name, and occasionally as the design evolves I'll Pack and Go to a new dated folder and keep the earlier version (or versions).  However, when the design is finalized all these dated folders are deleted.  Having all files together eliminates the problem you mentioned above with Pack and Go.  For library parts I use the "Replace/Select" button at the bottom of the Pack and Go dialog box to exclude the library components (see #3 near the bottom of How can I create a new Assembly or Drawing similar to an existing one?).


          2.  I'm not sure I followed that, but couldn't you make the metal items a sub-assembly in the main assembly, so that if it needs editing you'd only need to do it once?

          • Re: SW file organization/management
            Frederick Law


            Setup same folder structure on Student Laptop and your Desktop.

            Setup Solidworks options (File Locations) the same on laptop and desktop.  You can setup your desktop, export settings and import on laptop.

            I put everything under one folder: templates, macro, standard, toolbox, hardware etc.

            For example:


            This way its easier to backup or move everything to another computer.

            Once student finish their work, just copy the project folder to your desktop.

            I usually put parts, assemblies and drawings in same folder.

            Files releasing (pdf/step) to customer/vendor could be in another folder.



            Can you make second assembly as sub-assembly in the main assembly?

            • Re: SW file organization/management
              Sutton Mehaffey

              Glenn & Fred,


              Thanks for the answers.  I think the subassembly is the way to go.  That would solve the problem.


              Glenn.  Why would you exclude the library components in your Pack and Go?  Wouldn't that cause reference issues when you called up your assembly/part?


              I guess the Pack and Go is the way to go for me.  Not ideal - I'd rather have my own folder structure.  Having the same folder structure(s) would be a nightmare, since the files are scattered all over the laptop and weren't maintained in a central place due to me not knowing how hard SW makes it to port files to new folders.



                • Re: SW file organization/management
                  Glenn Schroeder

                  Sutton Mehaffey wrote:


                  Glenn. Why would you exclude the library components in your Pack and Go? Wouldn't that cause reference issues when you called up your assembly/part?


                  I exclude the library components because there's no point in making multiple copies of them, plus it saves room on our network drive to not have multiple copies of the same file scattered around.  And no, it doesn't cause reference issues.  When I exclude library components from a Pack and Go then the new Assemblies and Drawings reference the library files in the original location.