Whenever I travel with my computer, I always create a list of items I’ll need (computer, screen, charger, mouse, etc.) However, it never fails that once I get to my location that I realize I forgot the connecting cord or the widget that goes with my wireless mouse. If you’ve found yourself in similar situations then you know it’s a pretty similar feeling when you’ve gone through the effort to modify or create a top-level assembly in SOLIDWORKS only to send it to someone and have them greeted with the “Unable to locate the file” message. This message indicates that they are missing one or more references to your assembly. While I can’t help to remind you to pack your computer cords, I can help ensure you’ve “packed” all of your SOLIDWORKS components using a handy feature called SOLIDWORKS Pack and Go.
What is SOLIDWORKS Pack and Go?
SOLIDWORKS Pack and Go was introduced in 2007 and has been included in every SOLIDWORKS installation since. It’s a great feature for sending top-level assemblies and drawings to other people because SOLIDWORKS uses file references to store model information. This means you need to send all referenced part, assembly, and drawing files for another user to open them. However, when the files are spread out over multiple locations, the Pack and Go tool will collect all of the reference files in one place and make a copy.
Where is the SOLIDWORKS Pack and Go tool located?
Outside SOLIDWORKS, navigate to a top-level assembly in Explorer, right-click, select the SOLIDWORKS icon, and select Pack and Go.
In SOLIDWORKS go to File > Pack and Go. Whatever method you choose, you will be greeted with a screen indicating you are ready to start customizing your Pack and Go.
Using SOLIDWORKS Pack and Go
For my example part, I’m going to break our Pack and Go options into three sections. At the top, you have options for which file to include.
These options allow you to choose and Drawings, Simulation results, Toolbox components, decals, or other suppressed components that your file might need. Quick tip: If you are sending files to a user who is not using your toolbox, or if you have custom toolbox components, it’s a good idea to check that toolbox component option.
Next is the file information section.
Checking boxes next to file names in this section will let you select or deselect any files you don’t want in your Pack and Go. Additionally, by double-clicking on any of the “save to name” or “save to folder” boxes, you can change the name or location of your new Pack an Go copy. This section also gives information about the size and number of files in your Pack and Go and the option to either save all of the checked files to a new folder or a new zip file.
Finally, the rename options section allow you to customize the name of the files in your Pack and Go on a larger scale.
By using the Select/Replace button you can search for specific words in a file name and replace them with a new word before sending your file (e.g. replacing “Rev2” with Rev3” at the end of all your file names. You can also add a prefix or suffix to the entire folder using the corresponding checkboxes.
Finally, the folder radio buttons allow you to choose the number of folders you want your Pack and Go to have. This can span from all folders that the files were spread across, to a single flat folder with all parts, drawings, assemblies, and other files.
When you’ve finished filling out these options, you simply hit the save button and SOLIDWORKS will create a new folder or zip folder in the location that you requested. As you can see, SOLIDWORKS Pack and Go is exceptionally easy to use, is extremely useful for gathering part references, and is a good way to ensure you never leave an item off your “SOLIDWORKS packing list” again.
About the Author
Heather Dawe is a Senior PDM Support Engineer at Fisher Unitech based out of office in Ambler, Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Nuclear Engineering. Heather has been using SOLIDWORKS for 8 years and has 17 SOLIDWORKS Certifications including her CSWE, CSWP-D, and CSWP-S.