How to Organize your SolidWorks Template Files

February 3rd, 2012


PROBLEM:

Have you ever noticed how disorganized all your default SolidWorks files are (document templates, sheet formats, BOM’s, cut lists, custom property templates, etc.)?  After a default installation, they are all randomly crammed into a handful of directories including but not limited to the locations listed below:

  • C:\Program Files\SolidWorks\SolidWorks\data\
  • C:\Program Files\SolidWorks\SolidWorks\lang\english\
  • C:\ProgramData\SolidWorks\SolidWorks\

There’s something extremely dangerous about storing your customized files in directories like the ones listed above.  What happens if you upgrade?  Uninstall?  Reinstall?  Files in your ‘Program Files’ directory are not safe, so why store all your customized templates there?  How are you going to share your customized files with the rest of your co-workers?

SOLUTION:

Download and run:

sw_files_2012

This executable file will automatically extract a ‘SolidWorks Files’ directory to your C:\ drive with a host of sub-folders that mimic the list of file locations available in your system options (see image below).  I’ve already organized these folders to include all of the default 2012 template file sets.

solidworks_custom

To finish the setup, a PDF file will automatically open explaining the finishing touches that need to be completed.  Pay attention to the fact that the instructions you need to follow vary depending on whether you’re setting up the files for multiple users or just a single user.

BONUS:

You’ll also notice that I’ve included a handful of bonus files along with the file set:

  • Document Templates
  • Sheet Formats
  • Drafting Standards
  • Custom Property Tab Template
  • My personal keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures, and toolbar layout

You can read an explanation of these additional files by clicking here.

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Jordan Tadic

Certified Elite Application Engineer 3DVision Technologies

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4 Responses to “How to Organize your SolidWorks Template Files”

  1. Jason Corl says:

    Hi Jordan,

    Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I know you’ve been doing this for a while because I keep up on it. I’d like to offer a suggestion for another post that I would find really helpful on the topic. If we have already used your system and updated all of our file locations, then upgrade from say 2011 to 2012, how do we know what has changed. It wouldn’t be good to just start over from scratch so it would be nice to have a delta-update to this system. One that would say out of all of these files, settings etc. here are the new folders and or new content for specific folders that wasn’t present in the previous release that you need to add to your implementation. For Example if a new category was added to the default design library in a new release and we just keep on using our shared folder environment and re-point SW to the same system every time, we would theoretically never know that we had missed new content, make sense?

    I’ve been using this same type of system of my own for a long time and I came across yours a year or so ago and thought it was great someone finally put this out there for others to utilize. I think the way SW handles this is a crime. There’s no reason SW can’t have all of this stuff in a single folder from the get-go. I’ve been doing this type of delta update with my own stuff for a while and I even added a few things from yours that helped so if there’s a person to continue this on for maintenance instead of just initial setup, you seem like the most capable and I’m sure there are a lot of people who would benefit, including myself. Thoughts?

  2. Jordan Tadic says:

    Jason,

    That’s some great feedback! I could certainly start putting together a document listing the differences as you mentioned so that users can be aware of new files/folders that are available with the new release.

    Another way to tackle the situation is to keep all standard files named the same as they originally were. Anything that you end up customizing should get a custom file name. Anything added (say to your design library) will also have a custom file name. If this is the case, extracting the files directly into the centralized folder will overwrite the standard data (ensuring you have the latest version), add any of the new data from the new release, and leave the custom named files alone (which is what we want).

    So, as long as you’re giving your customized files unique file names, there shouldn’t be any harm in extracting the new releases of this executable into your standard directory.

    Regardless, I’ll try document all of the updates for next year’s release. Thanks again for the feedback!

  3. Samuel says:

    Hello Jordan,
    I used the executable you provided in this post many, many times, and love it; I think the end result is how Solidworks should be organizing the Template Files by default.

    I am still on SW 2012 – but will be updating shortly.
    Do you have an equivalenet tool for all SW versions?…it’s so useful!

    Thanks

  4. Jordan Tadic says:

    Samuel, I have not yet updated this for 2014 yet, but I have it on my to-do list. I will post it here when it’s completed.

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