Make your BOM Worth a Thousand Words in SOLIDWORKS 2019

Article by Angus Hudson, CSWP updated September 15, 2018


Creating a bill of materials to document the different components in an assembly is a near universal task. For caution of the word all, let’s stick with saying that most designers will need to perform this potentially time-consuming activity during their careers. Therefore, it is no surprise that designers everywhere rejoice when they discover SOLIDWORKS keeps track of every component added to their assemblies, enabling them to create BOMs with the click of a button. This is further enhanced by SOLIDWORKS associativity, which ensures that any changes to an assembly are automatically reflected in the BOM, without requiring any user interaction.

New SOLIDWORKS BOM Component Preview

Although many designers create BOMs, a dramatically larger number of people need to read and reference them on an ongoing, daily basis. SOLIDWORKS 2019 addresses this by adding thumbnail component previews to your BOMs, ensuring readability and ease of use long after design work is finished.

While working on a SOLIDWORKS drawing, users can toggle an additional column in the BOM to be visible whenever the mouse is hovered over it. The cells in this column contain the star symbol (*), which, when moused over, displays a component preview.

Remembering every component in an assembly by its name or description isn’t always practical, and this new feature makes it much easier to quickly jog your memory, keeping you focused on the work at hand. Additionally, for already crowded drawings, this feature can enhance readability by allowing users to opt for a smaller, simplified BOM.

SOLIDWORKS BOM Component Preview

Expanding the BOM reveals a component preview column. Hovering over the cells in this column brings up a preview of the relevant component.

Include Component Image in export to Excel

The value of SOLIDWORKS BOM Component Preview is not limited to working within the SOLIDWORKS environment. Right clicking a BOM yields the “Save As” option for publishing to Excel. The dialog now includes a new “Include File Image” option, which publishes the BOM with previews of each component. This adds a new clarity to bills of materials, enabling better cross-department collaboration, and significantly reducing the risk of incorrectly identifying components.

SOLIDWORKS 2019 increases the clarity and usability of exported BOMs by enabling the inclusion of component thumbnails

SOLIDWORKS 2019 increases the clarity and usability of exported BOMs by enabling the inclusion of component thumbnails

SOLIDWORKS 2019 has made significant advancements in creating more usable bill of materials. This translates to a faster, more accurate, and more user-friendly experience when performing the ubiquitous task of reading and interpreting BOMs.

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Angus Hudson, CSWP

Angus is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional and Applications Expert, based in our Vancouver, British Columbia office.