Category Archives: Tech Tips

Have you ever created an assembly with an exploded view then added a new configuration to find out that you need to recreate the explosion steps? There is an easy way to copy exploded views from one configuration to another.

Step 1) Make the configuration that has the exploded view the active configuration, the exploded view can be collapsed or exploded. SOLIDWORKS will warn you to switch the active configuration to the one with the original exploded view to be able to copy it.

Step 2) Expand the configuration to see the exploded view in the active configuration then drag it to the desired configurations, making sure that the destination configuration highlights first before you release the drag. You do not have to hold down ‘Ctrl’ while dragging to copy the exploded views, as was required in the older versions of SOLIDWORKS. You will notice the copy working correctly if you see a carriage return symbol with a small plus ‘+’ sign.

Copied exploded views might need some rework or adjustments depending on part orientations and which parts are suppressed in the different configurations.

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This has happened to all of us at some point in time,  you’re working within SOLIDWORKS and accidentally double-clicked on an empty area in your CommandManager or toolbar and unintentionally un-docked the CommandManager or toolbar.  Although not usually a big deal, depending on the way you click or navigate around the SOLIDWORKS User Interface (UI), but this can get tiresome if it happens often.  In 2016 they have made some much needed changes to help prevent this behavior from happening in the future.

The move zones for the command manager and toolbars are now limited to their corresponding move handles.  You no longer can click and drag toolbars in the CommandManager from an empty area in the menus.  You can find the move handles on toolbars by hovering your cursor until the move pointer  becomes active.  If you click in an empty space on a toolbar you will be informed to drag the toolbar by the handle.

For toolbars, the move handle is located to the left of a toolbar that is docked horizontally or on the top if the toolbar is docked vertically.

For the CommandManager the move pointer is activated when attempting to click and drag any of its corresponding tabs.

In an effort to further prevent accidental tampering with the toolbars and CommandManager, you can turn on a new option that will lock the current location of all toolbars and the command manager.  This option is called “Lock CommandManager and toolbars” and is located in the SOLIDWORKS Customize window.  It can be accessed from Tools > Customize > Toolbars tab

With these new changes there will be less of a chance to accidentally un-dock the CommandManager and toolbars.

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“How to fix a drawing with callout of <MOD-DIAM> instead of the DIAMETER symbol”

When updating to a newer version of SOLIDWORKS sometimes you will start seeing issues with your Diameter
symbol not showing when you create a Diameter Dimension. Instead you will see <MOD-DIAM>.

This issue can happen for a couple of common reasons. The first scenario is when your GTOL.SYM file does not update properly during a software upgrade. The second scenario could be when you installed your new version of SOLIDWORKS, there was a complication during the install and your GTOL.SYM file was never installed and so it is missing. The third scenario could be that your new installation of SOLIDWORKS is still looking to an older version GTOL.SYM file. The final scenario, this behavior can occur if you use the Copy Settings Wizard from an older version of SOLIDWORKS and import the settings into a newer version of SOLIDWORKS.

If you are experiencing the Diameter Dimension behavior from either scenario one or two, then Solution 1 described below will help fix the issue. If you are experiencing the behavior for scenario three and four, then Solution 2 described below will help fix the issue.

The first step is to see what could be causing this issue. To do so you will need to access your Symbol Library File under Options>System Options>File Locations>Symbol Library File. From there you will see where SOLIDWORKS is looking for that GTOL.SYM.

The next step is to open up a new Windows Explorer Window and browse to the folder location. Typically the Program Data folder is hidden, you will need to adjust your system settings to show hidden folders. Once you are able to view the Program Data folder, navigate to the GTOL.SYM file.

SOLUTION 1: For Scenario 1 and Scenario 2
If the GTOL.SYM file is missing you will need to get a copy of this file from a coworker or you can ask for it from DDI Tech Support. Once the GTOL.SYM file is transferred to that folder directory, try creating a Diameter Dimension to see if the issue is fixed.
SOLUTION 2: For Scenario 3 and Scenario 4
If you look at your system options and see that SOLIDWORKS is still looking to an older version SOLIDWORKS folder, you will need to adjust your system settings to look to the latest version of SOLIDWORKS in your Program Data folder. You will need to delete the existing file directory from your SOLIDWORKS system options, then add the new file location.
(Navigate to the desired file directory in Windows Explorer Window before deleting current path in SOLIDWORKS. This way when you add the new path for SOLIDWORKS it will be easier to locate.)

Start with removing the old:

Then click the add button to add the new location:

Here it is with the new location:

After adding the correct File Location, e.g.,“C:\ProgramData\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS 2016\lang\english\” of your GTOL file, try to create a Diameter Dimension to see if the symbol appears.

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There are two basic ways to get wire styles from one SOLIDWORKS Electrical project to another without having to recreate them over and over for each new project.

1) The first method is to create a new template from an existing project.  This method is advantageous in that any new projects will have the wire styles already in them.

Steps: I like to start by duplicating my existing project and then deleting all schematics from the copy, this gets the most complete project to make a template out of. Next, save this copied project as a new template. The copied project can then be kept to make more templates or can be deleted without effecting the existing template.


2) The  second method is to create a macro (favorite) that has all of the wire styles in it. This method has the advantage that you can add the wire styles to existing projects and new projects. You can even create groups or collections that could be dragged in as they are needed.

Steps: Create a project that has all the wire styles that you want to include in all future projects. Draw a wire segment for each of the wire styles. I like to use the ‘number of lines’ in the “Draw single wire” command to draw a bunch of a single style all at once.  Next, replace each segment with a different style. Then drag all of wires over to the Macros task pane, create a new group if so desired. Name the macro when prompted to during it’s creation. Now the new macro can be dragged into any project of the same standard to add the wire styles to the open project. (Same project standard, i.e. ISO, ANSI) All SOLIDWORKS Electrical user can now use the macro of wires, a restart of Electrical maybe required.

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A new utility called ‘Unconstrained bodies’ has been added to FEA studies in SOLIDWORKS Simulation. You can now analyze the contacts and boundary conditions in your studies to verify that the bodies are constrained enough to run in the study. Before even applying your first external load, this tool will review the degrees of freedom for each body and can help identify bodies that are underconstrained.

To learn more about this new utility for Simulation please review this PDF:

What’s New 2016 – Detecting Unconstrained Bodies

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