4 Replies Latest reply on Dec 14, 2013 9:32 AM by Alex Jones

    Inserting pictures into drawings best practices

    Shan Lentine

      I did several searches into problems with inserting pictures into drawings and have come across quite a bit of good information, but it is segmented and spread all over.  I wanted to create a "one stop shop" for the best practices of inserting pictures.


      I have tried several ways of inserting pictures.  Some have different advantages and disadvantages.  It seems the common disadvantage is that pictures make the drawing files very large.  This is one disadvantage I can't seem to overcome.  The format I always use is .JPG, I have not tried any other picture formats.


      One method I use is putting a picture on to a Word document and then copy and paste to the SolidWorks drawing.  I find that this method allows me several options when I right click on the picture that other methods do not.  Some of the options are "Send to Back" and "Show on This Sheet Only".  I find these options very useful especially when adding notes or showing the picture on mutiple sheets.  The disadvantage is that it seems like the picture will occasionally "disappear" when the drawing is viewed or saved in a format other than a SolidWorks drawing.  Also, when double clicking on the image, the error "Can not activate a static ActiveX object." comes up.


      Another method I have used is related to the previous one.  I insert a word document using Insert/object/create new/Word document.  On that inserted Word document, I drag and drop the picture I want to display.  The picutre then has all of the options that the previous method has when I right click on it, but is also able to be modified when double clicked.  The down side is that it appears to make the size of the entire drawing very large.


      Another method is to insert a picture with Insert/Picture...  This does not give me many options when right clicking on the picture except for the standard copy, paste, ect.  When I double click on it, I get sketch picture porperties that allow basic size, location, and transparency options, but not much else.  The picture does seem to be more stable and will show up in other drawing formats.


      I was wondering if anyone has come up with their own list of best practices when inserting pictures into drawings that make for a stable and smaller SolidWorks drawing file.

        • Re: Inserting pictures into drawings best practices
          Bob Miller

          I've just started to play around w/2009:  (all of below is in a drawing)


          It seems that the best way to insert a pic is to use the \Insert\Picture...\  command on to sheet!!! (trying to insert a pic into a view results in the view getting bigger but the image not showing !#@!)


          When we use an image we often like to create notes w/pointers to features in the image and what I've done in the past was to put the image & notes into an empty view so that if I need to move it (90% of the time) they can all be moved together.


          What I recommend (for SW2009) is that the image be placed on the sheet and its notes in an empty view so that only two things need to be moved.  (see Drawing Pic 1.jpg)


          Note that when the drawing is printed the lines show thru the image even tho they don't in the original (see Drawing Pic 2.jpg)


          A comment about the file size: SW is probably doing the same thing that MS does w/Word docs: expanding ALL images to the uncompressed size.  So it doesn't matter if the inserted image is a full BMP or a highly compressed JPG file the resulting SW file size is about the same!   And since compressed files, esp. JPGs, have 'artifacts' (see attached!) it is best to use the native a file. However reducing the pixel count (width & height) esp. removing excess white space WILL reduce the drawing file size.

            • Re: Inserting pictures into drawings best practices
              Shan Lentine



              Thanks for your reply and the illustrations.  I agree with you that the "insert/picture... " does seem to be the best option when drawing stability is your primary goal.  You do bring up a good point with the notes.  My pictures are often accompanied with notes and arrows as well and it is tedious to have to move every one if the picture is moved.  It was just one of those things that I just never really thought about, I just did it if I had to and tried avoid having to.


              The disadvantage I find with that approach is the loss of options to modify the picture or display the picture on multiple sheets.  I am assuming that when the option "Show on this sheet only" is selected, the file size of the print only increased by the value of one picture.  If the picture is inserted manually on every sheet, I am assuming that the size increases by the value of the picture * the number of sheets.


              I guess what I am saying is that I want my cake and eat it too .  I want to avoid entering an enhancement request if there is a way to do it that I am missing.

            • Re: Inserting pictures into drawings best practices
              Lee S

              Hi guys,

              I have tried to insert a picture into a sketch using Insert > Picture but it keeps telling me there's an error with the file. The file I was uploading was a .jpeg so I tried a .bmp, .tiff, .gif but none of them work. I have done this on another PC and there's no problem. Anyone any ideas?




              • Re: Inserting pictures into drawings best practices
                Alex Jones

                I copy the image (Ctrl+C) then Paste it(Ctrl+V) inside Solidworks then right click on the image inside SW and select Send To Back.