additionally (extra info just so you know why i'm having difficulties with this),
let me explain it this way ---
if i go back to STEP001 and add parts that need to be there from STEP001 forward, they appear in all configurations, but their mates are suppressed for all configs except for the one they were added (001).
if i insert a part in STEP005, when i switch to a prior step (STEP001 through STEP004), that part is not suppressed.
basically it all works fine if i'm inserting parts one after the other in a linear fashion. but once i add parts out of order (which happens), i have to manage each part in each configuration, which can be troublesome considering the detail and resource intensity of having to switch between 5+ configurations...
From what you're describing, would it work better to use Display States instead of Configurations? You could hide selected components instead of suppressing them, and then you wouldn't have the issue with the mates. I don't work with exploded views much (hardly ever), but I don't see why Display States wouldn't work.
I would agree with Glenn on trying to use display states over configurations. I am fairly sure this will give you a smaller file size in the end also.
All that being said if you want to use configurations some of your issues may be solved by adjusting your Configuration Properties. This will need to be done on your first configuration so all the following use the same properties or you will have to go back and edit the properties of all your existing configurations. Under advanced properties you can control some of the actions of your newly added parts.
Right click on the configuration, select Properties and look at the Advanced Options section of the property manager. Be sure to read the Help docs for this, which state:
"The following properties control what happens when you add new items to another configuration, and then activate this configuration again."
Also, Configure Component and Configure Feature, which are available from the right click menu of components and mates respectively, should be your new best friends. You can pick a dozen components or mates and set the suppression status in all the configurations from one handy window. You can also organize your components and mates into folders so, for example, you can group all your Step 005 mates together.
killer. this sounds like exactly what i should be using. i'll look into it, thanks.
RE: display states, the idea is that the model at STEP001 is more manageable than it is at STEP005 (and beyond). correct me if i'm misunderstanding this, but suppressing components will free up some memory (and improve performance), while hiding parts via display state will not free up that memory. my goal here was that if you were to open up PART-STEP001 you would only load the necessary components into memory...
or maybe i'm wrong and a display state would also achieve my desired effect?
I don't have any research to prove it, but I've always been under the impression (mostly from posts here on the forum by people who are a lot smarter than I am) that hiding components with display states results in a smaller file size than suppressing them in configurations.
I don't see any reason why they wouldn't work for you, and I'd think the workflow would be much simpler.
As far as display states it's really going to be a preference thing. Sometimes configurations are more beneficial then display states and vice versa. The easiest way I can explain it is below. Obviously both can control more, this is just a simple start and how I start to choose between the two on some of my projects.
Configurations = when there is movement (open and close positions etc.) anything that would require a different mate position
Display States = anything display only, color changes, material changes, hiding parts or assemblies.