Make SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager More Useful with Component Name and Description

Article by TriMech Solutions, LLC updated November 2, 2022

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If you work with Assemblies in SOLIDWORKS, and your company uses some form of product numbering system, then chances are, your SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager looks something like this:

assemblies in solidworks

You probably see a part name – which is probably its product number – followed by a whole lot of useless text ((Default) <<Default>_Display State 1>, etc.). If you make use of a lot of configurations and display states, then the text after the part name might be a little more interesting, but probably still not very useful for your daily modeling needs.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could unclutter the screen of all that useless verbiage, and have a FeatureManager that displays information that’s relevant to you? Answer: Yes, it would. That’s why SOLIDWORKS gave us the “Component Name and Description” menu in 2022.

The Component Name and Description menu allows you to customize the way that the SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager displays model information for all the components in your assembly. To access the menu:

Right-click the top level of the assembly tree > Tree Display > Component Name and Description…

instructions on menu for clicking

This will launch the Component Name and Description menu. Here, you will be presented with a window of options for all the possible ways you can display the component entries in your assembly design tree. There will either be six or twelve options, depending on whether you are connected to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform or not.

menus on computer screen

In either case, the displayed text is broken up into three ordered columns:

  • Primary
  • ( Secondary )
  • < Tertiary >

By default, the Primary value is set to “Component Name”, the Secondary value is set to “Configuration Name”, and the Tertiary value is set to “Display State Name”. At the bottom of the window, you will see Name Preview, which shows what will be outputted to the FeatureManager. In the case of my Blender assembly, the top level output is “ Blender (Default) <Display State-1> ” and all of the constituent components follow similar naming schemes.

The quickest way to clean this up, since I only have the default configurations and display states for my components, is to check the option at the bottom of the window, “Do not show Configuration or Display State name if only one exists”.

menu with red arrow pointing to menu options

An equivalent option would be to uncheck the options from the Secondary and Tertiary columns. If this is a change that you will be implementing often, it may be in your interest to create an assembly template where this option has been checked.

The Component Name and Description menu serves a larger purpose than simply hiding configuration and display state info, however, so let’s briefly take a look at what’s available in the three display columns.

Primary

In the Primary column, there are four options (two, if disconnected from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform):

  • Physical Product Title [3DEXP]
  • Component Name (default)
  • Component Description
  • Enterprise Item Number [3DEXP]

three columns with highlighted options

Only one of the four options may be chosen in the Primary column.

Physical Product Title

The Physical Product Title is an option related to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. If a component (physical product) has been named (or renamed) on the 3DX platform, then checking this option will ensure that the component name will correspond to its name on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. If there is no Physical Product title associated with a component, SOLIDWORKS will just continue to show the Component Name.

Component Name

This is the default option for the first item in the component listing. It displays the file name of the part, followed by its instance in the assembly, in angle brackets.

Example: Rubber Foot <3>

This is one distinction from a Physical Product Title, as the instance count is not displayed for Physical Product Titles.

Component Description

This may be the most useful option in the Component Name and Description menu. If your company’s practice is to name parts by their product number, then the feature tree can become confusing to work with. Having the option to show a description of the part instead of its file name can make it a lot easier to identify each item in the tree at a glance.

component description in solidworks featuremanager

Descriptions can be defined for parts in the Save dialog, or in the part’s Custom Properties window. Again, if no descriptions have been set, then the display will revert to the Component Name, on a part-by-part basis.

Enterprise Item Number

The Enterprise Item Number is another option related to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The Enterprise Item Number is the platform’s standard method of automating a product numbering scheme for parts stored on the cloud. It will likely be some indexed combination of numbers, prefixes and/or suffixes, determined by your company’s platform administrator.

If no EIN is assigned, the display with default to Component Names.

( Secondary )

In the Secondary column, there are five options (three, if disconnected from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform):

  • Physical Product Description [3DEXP]
  • Enterprise Item Number [3DEXP]
  • Configuration Name (default)
  • Configuration Description
  • Component Description

menu options for SOLIDWORKS featuremanager

Unlike the Primary column, all five options may be selected at the same time. The same is true for the Tertiary column.

Physical Product Description

Descriptions may be set for cloud-stored CAD files on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and function the same as Component Descriptions.

Enterprise Item Number

This is the same 3DEXPERIENCE number available in the Primary column.

Configuration Name

This displays the name of the configuration being used for each component. If no new configurations were created, (Default) will be displayed after the Primary name entry.

Configuration Description

For components with multiple configurations, descriptions may be defined for each configuration in the Custom Properties menu and may be shown in the SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager.

Component Description

This is the same description that’s available in the Primary column. It may be useful to use this description in conjunction with the Enterprise Item Number, so that you can keep visibility of your EINs and descriptions together.

folder of saved items

<  Tertiary >

In the Tertiary column, there are three options (one, if disconnected from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform):

  • Display State Name (default)
  • File Title [3DEXP]
  • Revision [3DEXP]

three menus highlighted with options

Display State Name

The Display State Name is shown at the end of component entries in the SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager by default and will appear as <Default> if no new display states have been created.

File Title

The File Title is the 3DEXPERIENCE attribute for logging a file in your company’s cloud vault and may serve to distinguish duplicate files from each other.

Revision

Revision will display the in-use revision of each component, as defined by your platform administrator on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, and may show up as a letter, number, or combination of the two, depending on your company’s revisioning scheme.

Example: < A > , < B > | < 1 > , < 2 > | < A.1 > , < A.2 >

Revision, combined with the Description and Enterprise Item Number (or Component Name) can make for a very clean and informative SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager.

3d blender drawing

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TriMech Solutions, LLC

TriMech provides thousands of engineering teams with 3D design and rapid prototyping solutions that work hand-in-hand, from sketch to manufacturing. Javelin became a subsidiary of TriMech Solutions LLC in 2021.