DriveWorks – Using Character Codes to Jazz up your SOLIDWORKS Annotations

DriveWorks is the design automation tool for companies that engineer to order. Using DriveWorks, we can create infinite variations of your product in a fraction of the time done manually. Leveraging DriveWorks to generate drawings is one of the many advantages design automation brings to the table. DriveWorks allows you to adjust your drawing sheets, views, and annotations to fit your new designs. Things like scale, dimension positions, and even annotation text can updated based on the changes to the model. One feature that is often overlooked is the ability to have dynamic notes on your print. You can take information gathered from driveworks and pass it along to the sheet. Many designers like to add special symbols and formatting to make their notes easy to read. You can add these special characters and formatting by using the Character Function in your annotation text rules. Here is a before and after example for a drawing note.

In the example below, we are generating a dynamic note that includes information about the design including the Overall Length, Width, and Height. The result would read a "Pressure Vessel Frame – XX Long by XX wide by XX high.

SolidWorks

SolidWorks

This would come into SOLIDWORKS as a single string of text. Depending on the annotation settings, it would either auto size to the text or word-wrap. This could cause notes to grow to a gangly length, sometimes straying off the sheet. Relying on the word wrap can also lead to strange results depending on the text entered.

Here is the good news. We don't have to rely on these two options and just hope for the best. We can enhance our annotation rule to get more predictable results. We can even add in symbols and other characters to make notes easier to understand.

In the updated rule below, we added carriage returns (aka, the enter key), tabs, and bullets to make the note more presentable.

SolidWorks

SolidWorks

We do this using the Character function, CHAR(). The Char function uses the ASCII decimal code to insert the corresponding keystroke. Alternatively, you can use alt codes to get similar results. A simple list of ASCII codes can be found here http://ascii.cl/, try the html list for more options. If you want to use alt codes, you can find those here http://www.alt-codes.net/. Here are some of the most commonly used Character Codes:

Char(13) – Enter key or Carriage return

Char(9) – Tab Key

Char(39) – Single Quote or foot symbol

Char(34) – Double Quote or Inch symbol

Char(177) – Plus or Minus stacked

Char(149) or (8226) – Bullet

Char(176) – Degree Symbol

Char(248) – Diameter Symbol

Char(8482) – Trade Mark

Char(174) – Registered Trade Mark

Char(169) – Copyright

If you have any questions about this topic or anything DriveWorks, please comment below. You can also contact us at www.cati.com or www.inflow-tech.com

You can find more information about DriveWorks at www.driveworks.co.uk

Ryan Dally | Product ManagerDriveWorks
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.

One comment on “DriveWorks – Using Character Codes to Jazz up your SOLIDWORKS Annotations

  1. Good stuff!
    DriveWorks has made the carriage return a bit easier. Rather than having to remember the ASCII code, there is a NewLine() function that you can throw in.
    You can also use the Concatenate() function to make things a lot nicer and neater than having all of the &’s.
    And don’t forget about the power of FONTS, too. All manner of symbols are available in fonts like Wingdings, etc. And we have many clients for whom we’ve set up DriveWorks to drive SOLIDWORKS notes that are set to use a BARCODE font. This puts their ERP/MRP scanner codes right on their drawings and allows DriveWorks to create routing sheets and more.
    Great job, Ryan.

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