Product Review: Template Wizard (2010)

Several years ago, I reviewed one of the earliest versions of Template Wizard, published by 3 Dawn Consulting, LLC at  Template Wizard is an application which fills a gap in SolidWorks functionality by creating the process to automatically generate document templates for drawings, parts and assemblies.  Kevin Van Liere of 3 Dawn Consulting has provided to me a new license of Template Wizard for the purpose of this new review.  This review is my own content without input of others. 

The current version of Template Wizard is refined and more capable.  Template Wizard gives the user the ability to create templates from scratch.  Users may also create drawing templates from AutoCAD generated files.  If the user wishes, they may use it to edit existing SolidWorks drawing templates.

tw2010-1User Interface

Template Wizard is an add-in that runs within the PropertyManager pane inside of SolidWorks.  Selecting settings within the interface is similar to other functions that run within the PropertyManager.  Users create new templates in a 9 step process.  The process starts with a blank drawing sheet and ends with a fully functional templates for drawings, parts and assemblies.  When creating a drawing template, some user interaction with the view pane is required to place objects and anchor points.


Installation is quick and painless.  Just execute the downloaded install file, then start up SolidWorks.  Template Wizard appears as a pulldown menu.  The user will be prompted to enter a registration code (provided at the time of purchase) the first time before they create a new template.


If a user wishes to create new templates, it is recommended that they create a drawing template first.  As mentioned, Template Wizard takes the user through a series of steps.  Once the drawing template is complete, it then allows the user to transfer applicable settings over to new part and assembly templates.

The order of drawing template creation tasks is fairly logical.   The user is prompted at each step:

  1. Drawing size, view projection, standards, units of measure, etc.
  2. Border creation, margins, zones, border layer.  Although Template Wizard does automatically create borders based on user choices, a nice function to include might have been the ability to choose settings that automatically follow standard ISO or ASME borders, based on drawing size.
  3. Title block and custom properties.  Title blocks may be created from existing title blocks or created from scratch using dozens of field blocks.  This step is likely the most complex.
  4. Establish tables and their anchors. This one function by itself may make Template Wizard worth its price.  SolidWorks has anchors that serve as automatic starting points when the user inserts tables onto a drawing.  However, this anchor functionality is somewhat under-documented and hidden.  Template Wizard labels each anchor which allows the user to see where and what they are.tw2101-3
  5. Fonts, bent leader length and tangent edge settings.
  6. Save “Page Design”. One thing that I find confusing is the use of alternative terminology in Template Wizard.  A page design means sheet format.
  7. Establish the “next sheet” variable and save “template design”. “Next sheet” variable is a quirky SolidWorks setting that establishes the drawing template.  Template Wizard uses this variable in a cleaver way to allow drawing templates to utilized a different sheet format for additional sheets of a multi-sheet drawing.
  8. Create part and assembly templates, and the custom properties file. This reduces the effort of creating part and assembly templates down to a push of a button.

Update Wizard

Though I have not tested this functionality, it is important to note that Template Wizard has a function called Update Wizard.  This tool gives the user the power to update the sheet format of a whole bunch of drawings at one time.  The tool even allows the user to find and replace specific text in the same way!

Purchasing options

Template Wizard is available through the website.  Given the value and time-savings potential of Template Wizard, the price of US$295.00 seems reasonable.  Visa and MasterCard are accepted for immediate delivery of the software license.  Paypal, invoice and check are also excepted.


Template Wizard was created because SolidWorks does not provide a simple method for template creation.  The process in SolidWorks is not well documented nor easily understood by new or some experienced users.  Template Wizard allows the user to bypass the learning curve by providing powerful tools in a fairly straightforward process.  However, even though Template Wizard is a great tool, it is not completely intuitive.

The user should read Template Wizard’s Help file before using it.  Treat the Help file as a tutorial.  The Help file gives the user information they need to make certain choices.  For example, during the Title Block creation step, the user is presented with tons of choices.  Those choices are defined in the Help file under “Pre-Designed Title Blocks” and “Title Block Elements”.  I would like to see this information included within the Template Wizard’s workflow in the form of a preview window or something similar.

Where Template Wizard excels is in the fact that it breaks down the template creation process into a series of steps.  Many of these steps are wonderfully automated, drastically reducing the time it takes to create a template.  It even changes settings in SolidWorks itself to allow the user more flexibility in how they wish to save and use their new templates.  As a byproduct of its workflow, Template Wizard also serves as an education tool.  It teaches the user about what is needed to make sheet formats and templates in SolidWorks.


Template Wizard’s value comes from the time and effort saved during the creation of SolidWorks templates.   It is not an application that has a high reuse value.   However, I do recommend keeping it installed (but inactive) on SolidWorks.  This will allow the user to make adjustments to their templates over time, as needs change.

Template Wizard is not for that do-it-yourself person whose independent spirit and drive pushes them to create their own template and sheet formats.  It is for the person or company that does not wish to spend a lot time creating, changing or maintaining templates.

Product Review: Template Wizard (Part 2)

Template Wizard is a relatively new application from SolidWorks Templates by Kevin Van Liere.  He spent about 2 years developing and improving it.  It is designed to work within SolidWorks 2008, though it does have some limited functionality in SolidWorks 2007 SP4.0 or higher. This part of my article is a critique of Template Wizard’s specific functions and workflow.  Ultimately, the most important question will be answered “42”.  How easy is it to make a new Drawing Template with Template Wizard?

General Description and Workflow

This review is based on Template Wizard Version 2.5.3088.23714.  As stated before, Template Wizard allows for the creation of SolidWorks templates.  It is an add-in that runs from within SolidWorks.  When running, its interface occupies the Property Manager in what is commonly referred to as the FeatureManager or Feature Tree Pane, along the left side of the open document.  Settings and features are all selected from within this pane.

Once it is installed, Template Wizard appears as a pull down menu by the same name.  Two options appear in the menu.  “Create/Modify Templates” and “Help”.  This is very simple and to the point.  When selected, the Template Wizard pops up with some options to start a new template or modify an existing template.  These options apply to drawings, parts and assemblies.  However, if one selects anything other than Drawing Template first, the software gently reminds the user that it will work best if a Drawing Template is created first.

Template Wizard takes a step by step approach.  As one goes through the nine general steps for creating a Drawing Template, Template Wizard establishes its settings and allows the user to build what will become the Sheet Format and Drawing Template.  After that, it also flows right into the creation of part and assembly templates.  One minor drawback to this step-by-step approach is that the arrows which take you from step to step (backward and forward) are small and barely noticeable in the upper right corner of the pane.  The size of these arrow is controlled by SolidWorks itself (and not the fault of Template Wizard), but that doesn’t make it any easier to recognize.  However, once one is familiar with the interface, there are no usability issues due to this minor detail.

Creating a Drawing Template

Step 1 is the Template Wizards start-up form itself (where the user is wisely guided to first create a Drawing Template).  Once the choice is made and “Begin” is selected, a blank drawing is opened with Step 2 the Template Wizard appearing in the Program Manager.

Step 2 is very logical.  It requests sheet size, type of projection, unit system (in/mm, etc), dimensioning standard (ISO/ANSI, etc) and other fundamental settings.  As choices are made, they are immediately implemented.

Step 3 creates the border for the Sheet Format.  I’m not sure how much work went in to designing and programming this step (great or slight?), but in my opinion, this one step makes the whole Template Wizard package worth its price tag!  All the user has to do is set the margins, determine the number of zones and zone marker lengths; then click “Create Border”.  This step allows the user to generate a fully defined and complete border in seconds!  Advanced options also exist that establish other several settings.  The border can also be saved as a block for use elsewhere.

Step 4 allows the user to add title block elements to their template.  In my opinion, Step 4 is by far the most complex portion of Template Wizard.  It may even be a little scary at first.  There is a large selection of title block elements to choose from.  One must select each element from a drop down list box and place it on the drawing using the element’s insertion point.  It is fairly simply, but not immediately obvious, even with the on-screen description.  Before attempting to use step, I highly recommend reading the Help.  I especially recommend looking up “Pre-Designed Title Blocks” or “ASSY LOGO” in the Help to bring up images of the title block elements.  Once the user has the hang of how to pick and place the title block elements, this step easy and extremely powerful.  Template Wizard functionality does appear to be bumping into limitations of SolidWorks itself in this step.  One example of this is that if the user attempts to directly edit text within the template (instead of using Template Wizard functions to make such edits), SolidWorks will crash.  According to Kevin, this is a flaw in SolidWorks, but it is a flaw that pops up when using his application, so that may be a moot point.  I will say that if Template Wizard is used as intended, such issues should be minimal.

Step 5 directs the user to pick the Revision Table anchor.  Given SolidWorks 2008’s little quirks, I HIGHLY recommend choosing the upper right corner of the border.  It seems for some reason some functionality for creating Revision Tables has been reduced in 2008, making this necessary.  Very poor decision on the part of SolidWorks Corp., but I digress.  Template Wizard does insert the Revision Table once this anchor is selected.

Step 6 is a small step in which the user makes selections regarding fonts, annotations and display of tangent edges.  This step almost feels like an after-thought.  Perhaps these choices could be moved into Step 3 instead, or perhaps expanded to cover more settings that users may be interested in controlling?

Step 7 allows the user to save the drawing template (as it appears on screen) as a Sheet Format.  My only complaint here is that non-standard nomenclature is used.  Instead of referring to this function as “Save Sheet Format”, it has a button to “Save Page Design”.  I asked Kevin about this.  He made the choice to use this terminology because inexperienced users did not understand “Sheet Format” and how it is different from “Drawing Template”.  However, this choice may be confusing for experienced users.  Perhaps a statement in the on-screen help may allow Template Wizard to make this matter clear, especially if new terms are being created.

Step 8 is where the user actually saves their Drawing Template.

Step 9 allows the user to continue on to create templates for parts (models) and assemblies.  Template Wizard can carry over some information from the Drawing Template to these templates, such as unit settings and custom properties.  It also allows the user to control several other settings.  This function uses an intuitive and straightforward step-by-step approach to create those templates similar to how it works for drawings.


Template Wizard is a very well researched and useful product with a very low price tag.  Overall, it is easy to use and very comprehensive.  Kevin states, “I really put my heart into it to make it as good as I could.”  This dedication really shows in the end product.  The software is still a little rough around the edges in some places [as of 2008], though much of this seems to come from limitations or bugs within SolidWorks itself.  Given all factors, Template Wizard is well worth its price.  New and experienced users will benefit from this application.  Really, in my mind, the best customer for this software is anyone who has the responsibility to create templates for a new company or a company that has just started using SolidWorks.  The next best customer is one who wishes to improve already existing Drawing Templates.  I recommend Template Wizard for all such cases.

Product Review: Template Wizard (Part 1)

One of the areas where SolidWorks lacks is in the creation and editing of engineering drawings.  Specifically, there is very poor support for drawing templates.  One person has taken a stab at filling this gap in SolidWorks functionality.  Kevin Van Liere of SolidWorks Templates has created Template Wizard.

The goal for Templates Wizard is to make it easy for the end user to create and edit drawing templates.  According to Kevin, SolidWorks Corp. does not acknowledge that their lack of functionality with drawing templates is a problem.  Also not provided by SolidWorks Corp. is a best practices guide for templates during SolidWorks training.  He developed Template Wizard due to these facts and out of pure frustration.

He says that his target is end users, of course.  In particular, new users will find Template Wizard most helpful, though he does feel existing users will benefit as well.  I am inclined to agree, especially at the current list price of {outdated}.  Due to the low price, he stated that some VARs have contacted him about purchasing seats of Template Wizard to provide it to their clients for free as part of an overall package.  For the price, this is likely one of the most accessible professional SolidWorks Add-ins available.

The Add-in creates templates for drawings, models and model assemblies.  It allows the user to create such templates from scratch. In the case of drawing templates, it also allows the user to create a SolidWorks drawing template based on an AutoCAD template.  Additionally, it will edit existing SolidWorks drawing templates to add fields and functions that might be previously lacking.

The focus is on the actual templates themselves.  For example, Template Wizard intentionally does not go deep in to settings, such as centermark sizes.  It does provide general control by the selection of ANSI, ISO, etc.  However, for the most part, it offers the pure experience of creating the template itself.  I think that task is daunting enough without getting into the numerous individual settings available within SolidWorks.

Part 2 of this article will go into the details of Template Wizard, focusing on its work flow and specific functions.  It will include a (hopefully) thorough critique of the Add-in.

For the record, this review is unsolicited by SolidWorks Templates; I contacted SolidWork Templates.  This review is based on a free short term license that was provided to me by SolidWorks Templates solely for the purpose of this review.  That license is revoked upon completion of this review.  No guarantees by me were granted to SolidWorks Templates regarding the outcome of this review.  I did discuss my negative findings with Kevin regarding specific functions prior to release of this review.  All of my findings (positive and negative) will be openly presented in Part 2.