What are SOLIDWORKS External References?

Article by Brandon Abercrombie updated May 29, 2023


What are SOLIDWORKS external references? In SOLIDWORKS assemblies, external references are relationships between components that exist outside the current assembly. SOLIDWORKS external references can be to other parts, assemblies, or drawings, and they allow the design of an assembly to be linked to external sources. Examples of external references include sketch relations that reference geometry from an external component.

Using External References Properly

External references are important regarding SOLIDWORKS assemblies because they enable the design to be updated automatically when changes are made to external sources. For example, if a component in an assembly has an external reference to a part, any changes made to the part will automatically update the assembly. This can save significant time and effort in the design process and ensure that all components remain up-to-date and aligned with the overall design intent.

However, external references can also create potential issues and should be managed carefully. If an external reference is lost or broken, it can cause errors in the assembly or prevent it from being able to update correctly. Therefore, it is important to track external references and ensure that they are maintained correctly.

Accessing SOLIDWORKS External References

There are several ways to find external references in SOLIDWORKS assembly files. One way is to use the “External References” dialog box, which can be accessed by selecting “Tools” > “External References” from the menu bar. This dialog box lists all external references in the assembly and allows the user to modify or remove them as needed. Another way to find external references is to use the “Find References” tool, which can be accessed by right-clicking on a component in the assembly tree and selecting “Find References”. This tool will search for any external references associated with the selected component and display them in a dialog box.

All in all, external references are an important aspect of SOLIDWORKS assemblies that allow designs to be linked to external sources and updated automatically. While they can create potential issues, they can be managed effectively by tracking and maintaining them correctly. The ability to find external references in SOLIDWORKS assemblies is crucial to ensure that designs are accurate, up-to-date, and align with overall design intent.

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Brandon Abercrombie