SOLIDWORKS Design Table From File

Article by James Swackhammer updated April 27, 2020


I’m a fan of SOLIDWORKS Design Tables when creating multiple configurations. I think it is an efficient way to design and especially if you are a fan of Microsoft Excel you will like it too. Check out our recent blog post on how to create a design table.

Most of time when you create and insert a design table you will use the option Auto-create. Recently I had a few cases where a purchaser or sales person created or received an Excel table from a customer asking for particular dimensions on various parts. So when inserting a design table and there is already a an Excel table created you would use the option From File and browse to that location.

Auto-create Design Tables

Auto-create Design Tables

Couple formatting rules need to be covered when making an Excel table then inserting into SOLIDWORKS. If you look in the help menu for this particular challenge you will notice they mention to leave cells A1, A2 and all on row 1 blank. All the configurations names and then to proceed starting in A3 and go down. What you want to control with the table start in B2, C2 etc. These cells are to be turn 90 degrees. They also must contain the feature or dimension @ sketch 1 or boss-extrude1 for example. The help menu also states that any text is not case sensitive. I found this to be untrue.

Design Table features

Design Table features

If any of these are not done the table will not populate when trying to insert From file. Even if this is all done correctly it’s possible the table with error out and not input properly. Now you’re thinking “that’s weird” and “what do I do now?”. There’s a far better solution to this. As the Designer/Engineer/Draftsperson I would create an example Excel format from the Auto Create file.

Design Table

Design Table

Creating Design Tables from File

So here’s the Design Table creation process:

  1. Create a simple part that might be common for a customer to control.
  2. Name all the dimensions and features that are to be controlled.
  3. Auto-create a design table with all the above on it.
  4. Save it out
  5. Open the Excel doc on its own outside of SOLIDWORKS.
  6. Clear out the numbers for any dimensions
  7. Create a SOP (standard operating procedure) to show how to fill in the doc.
  8. Now this can be used for From file with little to no problems.
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James Swackhammer

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