SolidWorks has something called custom properties. Many programs within Windows have file formats that include properties which allow the user to include some general information about the file without affecting its actual content. For most of these programs, there is a standard short list that includes fields like Author, Keywords, Comments, Title, and Subject. There is also a method that allows the user to create their own custom properties.
SolidWorks has simplified the process to create custom properties, and allows its users to utilize their values within the document via linked annotation notes. The custom properties are available under pulldown File>Properties>Custom tab. There are even shortcuts included that allows the user to create links in these fields to attributes of the document itself.
The advantage in using custom properties is that one can link to their values in annotation notes. This allows for automatic updates to annotation notes without having to edit them directly.
Here are the instructions to link a note to a property. (These instructions are from SolidWorks Help which can be found by searching titles only for “Link to Property”. For more detailed information, please see the Help.)
Start an annotation note.
In the Note PropertyManager (left pane) choose this icon:
In the Note Properties dialog box, choose this icon:
- Select the radial button that identifies the file from where the values will be linked. The most common choices are either the “Current Document” or “Model in view specified in the sheet properties” (for drawings).
- View the available custom properties.
- Choose one and then click the OK button.
- This will add a tag to your annotation note that looks something like $PRP:”<property name>”. The annotation note itself will display the value of that custom property.
This can be used to automatically fill in data fields on drawing blocks based on custom properties and document properties in the model. It can also allow the fields to be filled in from a macro that is designed to provide those values. Linking annotation notes to custom properties can save a lot of time and reduce repeatitive drawing activies. However, before committing completely to using links to custom properties on drawings, one should look into the methods and reasons for this. They should also consider the pros and cons of each. I will go into detail about when and how to use links to custom properties on drawings in a near future article.