Running two SOLIDWORKS Version installations / “Where did the calloutformat.txt file go?”

Article by Rob Greer, CSWP updated November 14, 2015


NOTE: this tip is for users that are comfortable with editing a computer registry. BE SURE TO FOLLOW STEPS EXACTLY.

The problem I’ll cover in this tip is a fairly common occurrence when a user runs two SOLIDWORKS version installations on the same machine (e.g. SOLIDWORKS 2015 and 2016).  The problem is the user eventually sees an error saying that the “Calloutformat.txt” file cannot be found:

Callout error

Callout error

Or tapped hole callouts mysteriously start to show as simple drilled holes (just a diameter dimension, no thread mentioned):

Two SOLIDWORKS Version Installations: Tapped hole labelled as simple hole

Tapped hole labelled as simple hole

First, some background information

When SOLIDWORKS is installed, the various file locations for things like Hole Wizard hole callouts, templates, etc., are noted in the user registry of the computer so that SOLIDWORKS can find all of the files it needs when you are using it.  Each installation of SOLIDWORKS is usually stored in a separate folder on the computer hard drive.  When you install a new major version of SOLIDWORKS , the installation manager prompts you to specify the folder where the install should go.  Typically I recommend labeling this with the major release number (eg. “SOLIDWORKS 2016”) so that it is obvious what the folder is for.  This avoids the situation where you have install folders like “SOLIDWORKS (2)”, which I don’t recommend.

The calloutformat.txt

In this tip, I’m going to focus on the Hole Wizard “calloutformat.txt” file and what happens when you perform a new SOLIDWORKS major release install in tandem with an existing installation (eg. 2015 and 2016 installed on the same machine).  Be aware though that there are several files and locations in addition to the calloutformat file that can be found under: Tools > Options > System Options > File Locations.  The calloutformat file going “missing” is the complaint that I hear the most so I’m focusing on it.

Here’s how the problem usually unfolds:

  1. SOLIDWORKS is working fine on a computer (for example SOLIDWORKS 2015)
  2. Its time to upgrade to the new version of SOLIDWORKS (e.g. 2016) but the old version (2015) is still needed for awhile.  So a dual install (SOLIDWORKS 2015 & 2016) is needed.
  3. The new install is performed.  2015 is not upgraded, so there are now two installations of SOLIDWORKS on the machine.
  4. The 2016 install works fine.  Gradually over time, 2015 is used less and less.
  5. The 2015 install is removed since it is no longer needed.  The 2015 folders are deleted.  This is where labeling the folders by version really helps!
  6. The 2016 install has problems that may not be noticed right away.  The calloutformat file is gone, templates are missing, etc.

Here’s why the problem happens

When the new install is performed, the SOLIDWORKS 2016 installation manager finds the SOLIDWORKS 2015 installation and references the same folders and files.  So now you have SOLIDWORKS 2016 using the SOLIDWORKS 2015 templates, calloutformat.txt file and more.  There is no notification that this has happened.  It is automatic.  There is no option to perform an installation using defaults (as though the 2015 install didn’t exist).

So when you remove the 2015 install as in step 5 above, you remove the files that the 2016 installation was using.  For the most part, this will not cause a problem.  You will just see the occasional errors and tapped holes are no longer labelled correctly.  The interesting part is, all of the files are installed in the 2015 folder, it’s just that the 2016 install wasn’t using them.  So to fix the problem, you need to reset the install to use the existing files.

Resolving the problem

There is a way to install the new version as a completely separate install.  It is not exactly straightforward, but it works.  Here it is:

  1. Assume that the 2015 install is already done and working.  It has been run at least once and shut down.  Now we need the 2nd install (2016).
  2. Make sure to read through our SOLIDWORKS installation guide on how to perform an installation properly
  3. Before starting the 2015 install, edit the registry of the computer.  Find: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks.  Rename that folder to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks_old
  4. Perform the install of SOLIDWORKS 2016 as usual.  Remember to set the install folders to “SOLIDWORKS 2016” and “SolidWorks 2016 Data” (for Toolbox).
  5. Important step: Run SOLIDWORKS 2016 and shut it down.  This creates a new SOLIDWORKS registry key with the default 2016 settings.
  6. Use the SOLIDWORKS Copy Settings Wizard to export the current SOLIDWORKS 2016 settings.  Save it to a file.
  7. Go back into the registry editor and delete the new key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks or you could rename it to something like HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks_new, if you like.  It won’t be used, it’s not needed.
  8. While in the registry editor, rename the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks_old, back to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks.  Close the registry editor.
  9. Use the Copy Settings Wizard for 2016 to import the previously saved settings.

The two installs are now ready and are completely separate.  No worries of files or settings overlapping.

Related Links

Certified SOLIDWORKS Services available from Javelin

Javelin can help you to:

Find Related Content by TAG:

Rob Greer, CSWP