Rename a file in the SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager Design Tree and PDM will update all the references

Article by Justin Williams updated June 7, 2016


When you rename an assembly file in SOLIDWORKS via the FeatureManager Design Tree SOLIDWORKS PDM will update all the references for you automatically.

Here I have a SOLIDWORKS flashlight assembly:


SOLIDWORKS Flashlight Assembly

I’d like to change the name of my sub assembly Head_sub to JavHeadSubAssy.

SOLIDWORKS PDM rename file requirements

Before we can change the name there are a few requirements to check off first:

  • The file must be checked out
  • PDM add-in installed and loaded
  • The user has the state and folder permission to Add or rename a file

If you are missing any of the above requirements you will receive an error message.

Note: To see the Rename option in SOLIDWORKS from the right click menu, this must first be enabled:

Tools > Options > System Options > FeatureManager > “Allow component files to be renamed from FeatureManager tree“

SOLIDWORKS PDM rename file process

Within the FeatureManager Design Tree right-click the part/sub-assembly name you would like to change, and select rename from the shortcut menu as shown in the figure below

SOLIDWORKS PDM rename file

Rename Assembly

After a rebuild and save, the name will be updated within SOLIDWORKS PDM:

Flashlight Assembly References Updated

Flashlight Assembly References Updated

It even updates the components within the sub-assembly:

Sub-Assembly Components Updated

Sub-Assembly Components Updated


If you’re looking to create a new assembly and use your current assembly as a base, then this feature isn’t the one for you.  Check out one of my favourite functions of PDM Copy Tree.

Learn more about SOLIDWORKS PDM

Attend our SOLIDWORKS PDM Administration training course to learn more about using or administering SOLIDWORKS PDM.

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Justin Williams

Justin Williams is a Data Management Applications Expert based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.