Back in the "old days" it was easy to know which SOLIDWORKS products you had installed on your computer, because there was only one! Today, there are almost two dozen items in the SOLIDWORKS 2015 product line, and sometimes you just want to know what exactly you have installed on a given computer. SOLIDWORKS 2015 includes new a little gem of a tool called "My Products" that simply lists all of the possibilities, and shows you what is installed:
Additionally, when you first launch the tool it will warn you with an initial dialog box if any of the installed tools are not yet activated, giving you some valuable insight on the license status of the software:
This can be very helpful for CAD administrators and IT folks who want to get a quick snapshot of the software installation without having to fire up SOLIDWORKS itself. It's also cool because it shows you, at a glance, what's out there in the SOLIDWORKS product line -- sometimes you can forget what's available, since there are so many! Clicking on any of the blue text in the dialog will link to the appropriate page on SOLIDWORKS.com so you can read more about it.
You access the "My Products" tool in the same area of the Windows Start Menu as you do for other SOLIDWORKS tools. If you're like me and prefer to use the Search in Windows 7 or 8, use "My Products" and NOT "My SOLIDWORKS Products," and the tool will come up to the top, ready to launch.
Enjoy this new little CAD admin trick for the new year!
By: Jeff Setzer, SOLIDWORKS / Composer Product Manager
I’m sure everyone could finish that question with something different. Many people are frustrated by SOLIDWORKS for not implementing changes that matter to them. The secret to getting SOLIDWORKS to do that? Tell them.
… how things should work.
… how the user interface should behave.
… where and when your crashing happens.
Let’s start with the basics for getting your idea heard by SOLIDWORKS, the steps for getting to the form necessary to do this can be found here. Filling out this Enhancement Request form as clearly as possible is the important part for SOLIDWORKS. It lets them know that there are things that can be better. They receive thousands of these a year, so let’s talk about methods to drastically improve chances of an idea, YOUR IDEA, being implemented:
Write clearly and concisely.
Make a business case.
Make it easy to implement.
Make it popular.
Let’s break each one of these down.
Write clearly and concisely. Make it easy to understand your problem and in as few words as possible. The more concise, the better. Due to the volume of requests, huge readings are likely to be skimmed over. Bullets over paragraphs in this case.
Make a business case. Quantify, Quantify, Quantify.
Quantify time savings
occurrences per week*number of weeks*users*time savings per occurrence = time savings
Quantify monetary savings
time savings x hourly cost+material and manufacturing savings = dollars saved
Quantify number of users effected
number of our users x companies like ours = users effected
Quantify as much as you can. The goal is to explain to SOLIDWORKS their Return On Investment (ROI) for investing the development resources in your problem. Explaining how the ROI for other customers increases is the key. If it’s a boost to the ROI for many customers (try to ballpark how many for them), the change will make it in a future version.
Let SOLIDWORKS know the assumptions you used in your quantifications. They may do further research and if you’ve told them what numbers they need, that research becomes easier.
Make it easy to implement. An idea is a long way from an implementation. Developing software doesn’t just take a programmer. It takes user interface designers, managers, and other specialized resources. If you are taking on one of these roles you can reduce the resources needed to make your idea happen making the ROI for SOLIDWORKS larger by shrinking the investment portion. The image below shows an example of providing the interface design. It takes the guess work out and makes it easy to see the benefits. The result is a smaller development team needed. With clear instructions, only a programmer is necessary and the change will be exactly what you want. Other items that could be provided are a workflow diagram, images of other software that does what you want, and successive screen drawings if multiple interfaces are necessary.
Make it popular. Enhancement requests are based on a voting system. Less popular requests still get looked at, but the more people that vote for something the more weight it carries. To get a request implemented, get everyone in your company to vote for it. Get the SOLIDWORKS users in your LinkedIn network to vote for it. Go to a SOLIDWORKS User Group and get them to vote for it. SHOUT IT TO THE WORLD…
Ok maybe not, but make an effort where you can.
The louder you make the voice behind it the more likely it will be heard. Clear Description+Business Case+Ease+Popularity=Enhancement by SOLIDWORKS
Fifteen minutes of making a clear case for an enhancement can save you hours of productivity in the future. If your enhancement is too niche for SOLIDWORKS, but it has a lot of value, you can always use the SOLIDWORKS API to program your own enhancements. If that’s not familiar, there are classes to take such as the one here.
There is a tool included with EPDM called Rollback. This allows an administrator the option to delete current and previous versions to restore a file to an older version. There is no control how far back the rollback allows a person to go so be careful who you give this to! GXSC recommends only the build in administrator account be allowed the rollback option. A person could rollback a released file to version 1, when it was an empty file. It is best used as a tool to test new system changes on particular files, rolling back files as they go through states and transitions until the process works correctly.
Rollback is a tool found on the history of a file. Simply click an earlier state and select Rollback. The Warning:
Remember, be careful! Those later versions will be gone forever!
If the file you are rolling back is referenced you will get an error about that as well.
There is however a safe method to do a rollback, one that does not delete versions. Any user can do this, granted they can "get" earlier versions. To do this, check out the file and 'get' the earlier version:
Afterwards make your new changes, check in and write a comment about what you did.
Afterwards continue with the rest of your design process. The next time it is approved to be released it will be the most recent revision, and not revision A or B. In this case the next revision will be C.
Actually you can, and there are two different ways of doing it...
The first is to have the configuration name be the part number. To do this you must go into each and every part and subassembly and change the Bill of Materials Options (inside Configuration Properties, as show) for each configuration in the model. This sounds like a big task but That's what it's gonna take. You are goin to have to change it from saying Document Name (SW Default) to Configuration Name, and then name each configuration what you want it to be.
The second, and preferred by me, way is to use a configuration specific custom property. The trick to using a custom property is that the Bill of Materials Options (inside Configuration Properties, as show) must be set to User Specified Name and $PRP:"PartNumber" (where PartNumber is the name of the configuration specific custom property being used). Again this initial change must be made to each configuration in every single part and sub assembly in your assembly.
Here are several reasons(In no particular order) as to why I prefer this method:
Confugurations can be named as you please
Custom properties are easier to edit than configuration names
Changing a custom property will not affect the ability for an Assembly to find the correct configuration
Part number can be controlled in the same place as all the other properties in a model
All the other items in the BOM are custom properties (or should be, and I mean it)
Here's another tip when doing this... An easy way to tell if all the configurations in a particular model are properly set, is to simply look at the configuration tab and to the right of the configuration's name it should say [ $PRP:"PartNumber" ] as shown.
And now for the best part... to all of you who bothered to read this whole article I am including a macro that will add a configuration specific custom property to each configuration and rename the Bill of Materials Options to User Specified Name with the value set to show the property name specified. Click Here to DownloadThe use of this macro is at your own risk. Graphics Systems Corporation is in no way responsible for any damages that occur as a result of using this macro. The macro is provided as is and will not be supported in any way.
All of the knowledge necessary to write this macro can be achieved through the SolidWorks API class offered at Graphics Systems. Please see our class listings for the next available class.