Importing Exploded Views into SOLIDWORKS Composer 2020

Article by Ben Crisostomo, CSWE updated December 25, 2019

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SOLIDWORKS Composer is a great way to create documentation based on SOLIDWORKS models. However, a major sticking point for Composer users was that they needed to create exploded views from scratch. This is no longer the case, as importing exploded views in SOLIDWORKS Composer 2020 is now possible! Let’s take a closer look at how importing exploded views work and the considerations that need to be made.

Toggling the Options in the Open Dialog Box

When opening a new project, a couple of options have been added to the SOLIDWORKS subsection of the open options as seen below. These options are checked by default. Let’s go over these two options that are new to SOLIDWORKS Composer 2020 in more detail.

Import Options when Opening a SOLIDWORKS Model

The “Import SOLIDWORKS Explode Views and Saved Views” option will create camera views based on the exploded views and custom views that have been saved under the configuration selected. One thing to note is that only exploded views that have been saved under the selected configuration will be used.

The “Import SOLIDWORKS appearance” is also new to Composer 2020. In previous versions, model appearances were automatically imported when opening, but the option to not include the appearance data is available.

Model Output in SOLIDWORKS Composer 2020

Initially, if the exploded views of your SOLIDWORKS model have multiple steps, a camera view will be made for each one as seen in the image below. The views that are not needed can be deleted, but keep in mind that once a camera view has been deleted, it will not be replaced when the model is being updated.

Initial Camera Views derived from Exploded & Saved Views

When working with an ever changing model, there are always revisions to be had. When it comes to exploded and saved views, there are a few behaviors that the person on the SOLIDWORKS end needs to be aware of so that updating in Composer runs smoothly.

Behaviors to Consider for Updating Composer Views

  • Only Exploded Views that are derived from the selected configuration will be imported into the Composer file.
  • Initially, all steps used to create the Exploded View will have their own Camera View in Composer. The excess views that are not needed can be deleted, but cannot be readded when updating the Composer file.
  • New Exploded views that were made in Solidworks will add new Camera Views in Composer.
  • Deleting an Exploded View in Solidworks will cause the behavior of the associated Camera Views in Composer to behave incorrectly if the file is updated.

It is important that both SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Composer teams understand the behaviors listed above so that errors occurring due to a deletion or addition of an exploded view are managed. Overall, Importing exploded Views in SOLIDWORKS Composer 2020 is a welcome addition and will save a lot of time.

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Ben Crisostomo

Ben is a SOLIDWORKS Technical Support Application Expert based in the Javelin Oakville head office