Derived Configurations in SOLIDWORKS

Article by Saeed Mojarad (CSWE) updated August 6, 2018


SOLIDWORKS Configurations are a great way to represent multiple variations of a part/assembly within a single file. Using configurations also helps with managing your files. For example, consider a standard bolt. It has different sizes for the diameter, head, thread length and so on. It is common that a standard bolt has hundreds of different variations.  Now imagine if you need to have a separate file for each one of these variations. Managing all these files would be a nightmare. But thanks to configurations in SOLIDWORKS you can make all those variations in one single file and modify/change multiple variations with a few clicks.

What is a SOLIDWORKS Derived Configuration?

Another underused area of configurations is derived configurations. A SOLIDWORKS Derived Configuration allows you to create a parent-child relationship within a configuration. You may have noticed that in some cases SOLIDWORKS creates derived configurations automatically. For example a derived configuration:

  • Represents the exploded view of an assembly,
  • Shows the flat view of a sheet metal part,
  • Shows the machined version of a Weldment part,
  • Is used to create a SpeedPak configuration.

Creating Derived Configuration

But a derived configuration can be created manually as well. To manually create a derived configuration right-click a configuration and select “Add Derived Configuration”. Then set options in the PropertyManager and press OK. The derived configuration is added to the ConfigurationManager underneath its parent. You can also add derived configurations using the “Modify Configurations” dialog box or a “Design Table”.

Add SOLIDWORKS Derived Configuration

Add SOLIDWORKS Derived Configuration

By default, all parameters in the child configuration are linked to the parent configuration. You can check that by activating the derived configuration and then trying to edit a dimension. As you can see in the Modify dialog “Link to parent configuration” is selected by default.

Link to Parent Configuration

Link to Parent Configuration

Override Derived Configuration

You can override any configurable parameter in the derived configuration so that the parameter is no longer linked to the parent. Simply activate the derived configuration and edit the parameter. Then from the drop-down box select “This configuration.  Now the parameter is no longer linked to the parent and if you change the parameter in the parent configuration it will not propagate it to the derived configuration anymore.

This Configuration option

This Configuration option

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Saeed Mojarad (CSWE)

Saeed Mojarad is an application engineer at Javelin Technologies. He received his B.S from Mazandaran University, Iran; and his M.S. from École de technologie supérieure (ETS), Canada. He has several years of experience using SOLIDWORKS in different industries such as manufacturing and aerospace. Currently located in Calgary, he is helping SOLIDWORKS users all across Canada as a technical support and SOLIDWORKS instructor.