Tech Tip: Opening Assemblies and Drawings without Referenced Parts

Article by TriMech Solutions, LLC updated November 9, 2022


A common situation we see is a client or coworker says that they may have an old assembly or drawing that we could reference to create a new part, but as time has passed, things have been moved around, references were lost, and we subsequently end up with missing views, suppressed components, and a myriad of errors and warnings. This can be frustrating at the least and a massive roadblock at worst. I’m here to tell you that all is not lost, and there’s a course of action we can take thanks to the capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Large Design Review and Detailing Mode.

Next time you have an assembly with broken links, select to open the drawing in SOLIDWORKS Large Design Review Mode. As opposed to the empty graphics windows and warnings of opening the file in lightweight or resolved, we can now see all the topographical data, which will allow us to take section views, measurements and explore product structure.

Similarly with drawings that are missing their references, we can open them in detailing mode, which can give us the ability to even make changes in some instances. Below is one such instance, where I broke the references to this drawing, and the difference in opening this resolved versus in detailed mode is obvious. There are a few caveats to ensure that we can accomplish this though.

The major contingency of how much you can do with this is dependent upon how old the drawing is. Before 2020, some drawings may not have the necessary data that would allow you to make modifications (adding dimensions, annotations, views, etc.). There may have also been changes to the original part or assembly files, so SOLIDWORKS may show a warning that content is out of date.

You are still able to view the model though, which in most instances can be more than enough of what you need. If having broken references is an all too regular occurrence for your team, check out some of our data management solutions, like SOLIDWORKS PDM and the 3DExperience Platform.

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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.