Rename SOLIDWORKS Files directly from the FeatureManager Design Tree

Article by Chris Briand, CSWE updated April 27, 2016


A favorite feature of ours that has come along in the 2016 release is an option that will allow us to rename SOLIDWORKS files directly from the FeatureManager design tree while SOLIDWORKS has the file open and loaded.

Enable the ability to rename

Before we are able to make use of this slick bit of workflow, we need to enable the functionality within the Options Dialog.

Pick Tools > Options > System Options > FeatureManager > “Allow component files to be renamed from FeatureManager tree“. Checking or unchecking this option will enable or disable the ability to change component file names directly in the FeatureManager.

Rename SOLIDWORKS Files from FeatureManager Tree

Rename Components from FeatureManager Tree

Now that we are ready to rename a file from the FeatureManager, you can hit F2 on the keyboard to rename your selected component from the parent level of your assembly or from a sub-assembly, deeper within the assembly structure.

When we attempt to rename the file, a new warning message pops up, advising users of the course of action that has been taken.

Rename Warning Dialog

Rename Warning Dialog

When the option “Temporarily rename document” is chosen the filename is then modified within the feature tree. It is not until the next save operation that the changes are actually stored.

Rename Documents Warning

Rename Documents Warning

When saving we are prompted with an additional dialog that advises the user about the possible issues with the references that are not available for update due to those other files not being open.There is a checkbox in this dialog that will allow up to update the “Where Used” references for the part file. This option ensures that there are no broken references left elsewhere where this renamed part may be used. There is also a checkbox for using the referenced documents location for searching (File Location Options).

We would encourage everyone to test out this new functionality on a sample file set; as it has the potential to greatly reduce the confusion some users feel while attempting to keep track of the naming of their components and the references that SOLIDWORKS depends upon for successful assembly modeling.

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Chris Briand, CSWE

Chris has been educating and supporting Engineers, Designers and IT Personnel within the 3D CAD industry since 2002, and was adopted into the fantastic team of applications experts here at Javelin Technologies in early 2006 and migrated along with his team members to the TriMech Solutions team in 2021.  Chris enjoys the continuous learning driven by the ingenuity and challenges Designers bring forward. Innovation using 3D Printing, 3D CAD and other technologies, combined with a diverse background as a technologist, allows Chris to find solutions that accelerate Designers, and take Design Teams to new heights. Chris is currently being held at an undisclosed location, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.