Reduce SOLIDWORKS assembly open times by specifying external reference search locations
If there is one topic that repeatedly sends our customers to sleep, it’s file references. But what if I could tell you that could save time whenever you open an assembly? Where is this magic time saving switch you ask? It is squarely located within the “External References” section of the SOLIDWORKS 2017 options dialog, found under Tools > Options > System Options > External References.
Typical External References
In many cases our referenced file locations are pointing at locations that we (or our team) turn to for the most commonly reused components. If you have things setup in a logical manner it may mean that these directories are shared and that only a few people on your team have “gatekeeper” access to the location to add files. If this is the case, it is more than likely that any files that you have misplaced are not located within your commonly referenced folders.
The fewer folders that SOLIDWORKS has to recursively wade through in order to locate a particular file, the faster it will open each and every assembly. This is especially true with large assemblies which may have components referenced across a variety of network locations.
Full Speed ahead with your Search
In order to avoid SOLIDWORKS perform a recursive search back through those common component and shared libraries, you can uncheck the new option: “Reference Documents specified in File Locations”
This will prevent SOLIDWORKS from searching in those locations (the list typically gets longer the older the installation is).
If you choose to leave this checked; you can instead take advantage of a sub-option to avoid any open folders and anywhere you have recently saved items by selecting “Exclude active folders and recent save locations”
For system administrators looking to make this a default option that is locked for your users, please see my previous article on Locking User Options.
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