How to use the SOLIDWORKS Task Scheduler to Modify Custom Properties

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE updated August 15, 2013

Article

Let’s say I was recently given a project to work on and it was very similar to an old project. After reading an article on Javelin’s blog about Pack and Go, I decided I was going to use this handy tool within SOLIDWORKS to make a copy of the old file set and update all the references in it. However, when I went to print the drawings, I found an annoying problem that I’d not considered. My drawing title blocks contain the wrong information:

Who are these people???

Who are these people???

Our title blocks use Custom Properties to populate fields that indicate who was responsible for the initial design of the old project. As these are Custom Properties, they are not modified during the Pack and Go. Of course, this is an old drawing (the dates are all 2007, before I started working for this company).

The fields are controlled by Custom Properties

The fields are controlled by Custom Properties

N.P. and P.K. have left the company and nobody I’ve asked even knows who R.R. is. Therefore, if the shop floor has any questions about the design they’ll have no one to turn to. I want to update this, but there are nearly 600 drawings associated to this project, and to do this manually would take hours (2 hour 30 minutes, assuming 15 seconds per drawing). Luckily, SOLIDWORKS has another handy tool to help make my life easier: SOLIDWORKS Task Scheduler

Start > All Programs > SolidWorks 20__ > SolidWorks Tools > SolidWorks Task Scheduler

Activate Task Scheduler

SOLIDWORKS Task Scheduler

Activate the scheduler from StartAll ProgramsSolidWorks 20__SolidWorks ToolsSolidWorks Task Scheduler,

Using Task Scheduler allows me to automate a variety of tasks that would otherwise be tedious and time-consuming. Please note that with SolidWorks Standard, not all functionality will be available. However, since I have SOLIDWORKS Premium (or Professional), I have access to the full functionality of this tool. Behold:

SOLIDWORKS Task Scheduler in action

SOLIDWORKS Task Scheduler in action

I first click on the task I wish to run, in this case Update Custom Properties. Then I specify which files I want to run the task on by clicking Add Folder and browsing to my working folder.If I wish, I can schedule the task to run right now, or at a later time (such as when I’m on lunch, in a meeting, or after I’ve gone home). If I’m running it now, I usually remind myself at this point to close SOLIDWORKS . If I’m running it later, then I’ll set an alarm on my computer to remind me before.

Manually complete this form

Manually complete this Custom Properties form

Since I’ve not run the files through Task Scheduler, it doesn’t know what Custom Properties exist. Therefore I need to populate it by manually typing in the values. These need to match what was in the file in SOLIDWORKS. The advantage is that I need only do this once. I’ve decided to clear out the other fields as well, since it would be sloppy and unprofessional to claim that former employees checked and approved my work before I started here. I’ve placed a space in the Value column for these properties. If I don’t, it will give me a warning that “Some of the custom property items are missing. Enter the missing items”

Result!

Drawing title blog result

After I’ve run the task, I open my drawing. All 600 drawings show that they are not approved and were created by me with today’s date. I had a busy day!

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Jim Peltier, CSWE

Jim has been using SolidWorks since 2001, and has spent most of that time working in the design of industrial automated manufacturing equipment. He has been working as an Applications Expert at Javelin Technologies in Oakville, Ontario since July 2012 and is a Certified SolidWorks Expert (CSWE).