Using SOLIDWORKS Named Views in Exploded Assembly Drawings

Article by John Lee, CSWE updated January 29, 2018


Is the Exploded view in your drawing appearing differently to your model view?  It might not be referencing a SOLIDWORKS Named View.

Ever had this happen?  I have created an exploded assembly configuration with all the components spaced consistently apart, but in the drawing the exploded view doesn’t look that way.  Unlike the model, the drawing shows some components overlapping each other, while others might be spaced too far apart.  Scratching my head in puzzlement, I go back into the model and edit the explode steps, re-dragging components in an attempt to compensate for the spacing problems in the drawing.  I go back into the drawing again to check the results and it still doesn’t look right.  It seems like I’m going in circles!  What gives, eh!?

(Hint: we are going to solve this problem by using SOLIDWORKS named views!)

The likely cause of the problem is that the view orientation of the model is different than that of the drawing!  Mismatched orientation can cause even the most carefully exploded assembly to appear with unintended results in the drawing.  So instead, let’s save some time here…and our sanity.

SOLIDWORKS Named Views to the rescue!  Set the model and drawing view to use the same orientation…

Of course, a quick way to ensure that the view orientation matches between the model and drawing is to use the same standard view in both, such as isometric, dimetric, or trimetric.  However, if I want an orientation that is a bit more custom, then I can use SOLIDWORKS named views as follows:

  1. In the model, rotate the exploded assembly view to the desired orientation.  Edit any explode steps if desired.
  2. Press the Space bar, or choose the View Orientation button at the top of the graphics view.  This brings up the Orientation window.
  3. Choose the New View button and type a name for the view, such as “exploded”.  You just created a named view!

    Workflow to create named views of the model

    Creating the named view

  4. In the drawing, insert a model view or select an existing view and go to its Properties Manager on the left.  Under Orientation, choose the named view created in the previous step.

    Workflow to set one of the model's named views as the orientation of the drawing view

    Referencing a named view in the drawing

And presto!  The drawing view orientation is now the same as the named view in the model.  Not only that, but it works both ways!  In other words, I can preview the drawing view just by activating that named view in the model.  They are effectively linked.

Now I can make any final edits to the explode steps in the model, and be confident that the drawing will update accordingly (provided that I used that named view in the model while editing the explode!)

Changing View Orientation

If I want, I can also modify the orientation in both the model and drawing, with a few simple clicks:

  1. In the model, set the new desired orientation.
  2. Bring up the Orientation window.
  3. Choose the Update Standard Views button.
  4. Choose the named view in the list.  It will now be updated and the drawing view will now update as well.

    workflow to update an existing named view with the new orientation

    Updating the named view

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John Lee, CSWE

John Lee is inherently lazy in that he prefers to work smarter - not harder. A CSWE with fifteen years of experience using SOLIDWORKS and a background in mechanical design, John has used SOLIDWORKS in various industries requiring design for injection molding, sheet metal, weldments and structural steel.