ePDM Tips and Tricks: Copy Tree
Why start from scratch when you can easily and quickly create products that are the same but different using an enterprise PDM tool called Copy Tree.
Copy Tree allows users to duplicate a group of files that are identical to the parent project. That is the "same as" part, but what about the "different"?Within the tool, users can select what files to copy versus reference, rename files, relocate files, and even compress the project to a zip file.
On the surface, duplicating a project sounds easy. Just copy paste, right? Those of you who have tried know what a mess it can create. Copy tree handles all the incoming and outgoing file references to make sure your projects copy clean. This can save hours of tedious work involving renaming parts, resolving solidworks references, and making sure the project's files are all looking to the right location. So, lets take a quick tour of the copy tree tool and see what it can do for us.
- Simple Copy or Zip – Do you need a simple copy of the tree or a packaged version? Normally we use copy tree to copy a drawing or assembly. You can also use copy tree to make a compressed version of the selected file structure for easy sending or as an archive
- Destination Folder – Where the new files, or zip, will go (also seen in the target path).
Copy Tree Options – These allow you to tweak the metadata of the files as they are copied.
- Preserve relative paths – maintain folder hierarchy or make flat
- Regenerate serial numbers – if serial numbers are used, issue new ones
- Use latest\attached version – latest uses latest version of all files, attached uses version from referenced tree (shown in version column – bold if different)
- Check in with comment – like it says, handy to establish original copy without modification
- Include drawings – will include all drawings associated
- Name drawings after parts – will rename drawings to match new part names given during copy tree operation (if used, warnings may show in result column – these are OK)
- Transform – This tool allows you to easily change the name of the selected files
- Referenced File Tree – Information for each file in the reference tree
Transform allows you to add on or change the names of the files used during the copy tree operation. You can add a prefix or suffix to the file name, replace certain characters (such as a part number), or Rename with an auto generated number (serial). This is useful when most or all of the files need to be renamed in the same way. Otherwise, a simple rename might be preferable.
If all you need to do is rename a single file during your copy tree, a simple rename will work the best. For each file you want to rename, select and click in the target path colmn. This will allow youto manually rename the file however you like. You can even manually add or remove folders
Copy or Link files?
Next to each file in the reference tree is a "Copy" check box. When selected it indicates that those files will be copied to the new location – re-associating the references. If this box is unchecked, the original file will be referenced, or linked, and not copied.
What about all those options?
Using these varies greatly from one scenario to the next. You can see the effects for each of the options before initiating the copy tree. Toggle the settings and see how they affect the results in the reference file tree. If a copy tree operation doesn't quite as planned, they can generally be tweaked after the fact – or simply deleted and re-run. Once you establish the criteria used to successfully generate new parts and references, they can be used over and over again on future projects. Copy tree is a very useful tool when needing a similar file set within the vault. It handles the necessary reference relationships and gives you a good level of control within the results. The benefits are greater when used to generate new part numbers, using transform, or regenerating entire assemblies using shared components.
Try copy tree the next time you have the need of a design that is the same… but different.