SOLIDWORKS Part Feature Tree (and other data) Salvage!

Article by John Lee, CSWE updated December 19, 2023


If your SOLIDWORKS part file seems to be unusable for some reason, don’t count the part out just yet.  Here are creative way to salvage your work by transplanting the SOLIDWORKS part feature tree, custom properties, and configuration data into a new part file!

This hopefully spares you the time and effort of re-creating the entire part from scratch.  Note it will replace the ID’s of the face, edge, and model, requiring re-detailing of the drawing and repair of assembly mates, but at least you won’t have to re-model from scratch.

NOTE: when opening any containing assemblies or drawings, you will likely see a message about a mismatch between the internal ID of the new part versus the original.

To salvage the SOLIDWORKS Part Feature Tree:

  1. Close all currently open SOLIDWORKS files
  2. File > New > Part > OK
  3. From the new part, Insert > Part > navigate to, and single click, the part that has the problem > Open    …do not complete the Insert Part command yet.
  4. In the Insert Part Property Manager, scroll down and check the box to “Break link to original part” > OK    ….this causes all items under “Transfer” to transfer into the new part  including the SOLIDWORKS Part Feature Tree.

    SOLIDWORKS Part Feature Tree

    Select these two checkbox to transfer in the maximum possible work from the original part

  5. Click the green check mark, which automatically sets the origin of the inserted part onto that of the new part, unless the box was checked for Locate Part with Move/Copy feature, in which case the Locate Part Manager will appear, in which case make selections to continue.
  6. In the Feature Tree, select the newly-added folder (with the same name as the original part) and delete it.  Whatever was in the original feature tree should now appear in the new part.

Thanks to the Technical Support team at SOLIDWORKS for passing along this useful tidbit, and a special thank you to the original discoverer.

NOTE: If the original part had multiple configurations and/or custom properties, then you can salvage that data if the original part will open.

To salvage custom properties that are not configuration-specific:

  1. In the original part, File Properties > Custom > Shift+select all row headers > Copy (Ctrl+C)
  2. In the new part, File Properties > Custom > select the first row header > Paste (Ctrl+V)

To salvage configurations and configuration-specific custom properties:

  1. Open the part and try to insert an Excel-based design table.  Insert > Tables > Excel Design table > Auto create.  This will automatically create a new design table to track configuration-specific data.
  2. Configurations tab > Tables folder > right-click the Excel Design Table > Save Table
  3. In the new part, Insert > Tables > Excel Design table > From file > choose the file that was saved out in the earlier step.
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John Lee, CSWE

John Lee is inherently lazy in that he prefers to work smarter - not harder. A CSWE with fifteen years of experience using SOLIDWORKS and a background in mechanical design, John has used SOLIDWORKS in various industries requiring design for injection molding, sheet metal, weldments and structural steel.