By Silvio Perez
I am sure we have all accidentally done this where we have tried sending or tried to open up just an assembly or drawing file without having any of the reference files associated to them. We then get presented with a message asking is we want to continue with suppressing the missing files or browsing to them. Although those options are helpful, they are only useful if the missing file is not of interest or if you actually have the files to browse to.
One of the most useful tools embedded inside SOLIDWORKS is the Pack and Go. It works great for file management and making sure your assemblies and drawings keep their references if you need to make a copy and send them out to another user for review.
This tool is located in File > Pack and Go, and is really easy to use.
Figure 1: Pack and Go window
In order to collect all the reference files that are included in your assembly is to open the top level files and navigate to the tool. If you are in an assembly, you will see that we have the option to include the drawings that include those parts and assemblies. If your assembly includes toolbox components, enabling the option will allow any user to open the assembly without issues regardless if their license type has toolbox or not.
Pack and Go even works great if you have completed Simulation result files. We see that in the dialog box, we have the option to include those and starting in 2015, this will also include Flow Simulation results. With this option, when the file is open, the studies will not have to be re-run to view the completed results. One thing to note however is that if you include the simulation results, this will drastically increase the folder size depending on how complex the study is and how many plots are being outputted.
One of the major benefits about using Pack and Go is that you can use this to create copies of your entire assembly or drawings without it having it be linked to the original file set where the Pack and Go was created. This means you can change anything about the file without breaking any references or changing anything about the original file set. You can even double click in the “Save to Name” and “Save to Folder” sections to change the file name and the location where it will be saved to. If you are adding revision numbers to your files, you can easily add a prefix or suffix to all files in the package. You can then save to a brand new folder or save as a zip file to be able to send the entire file.
Lastly, for the assemblies or drawings that reference a large number of parts, it may not be the best use of your time to open the entire file and wait for it to load just to create the Pack and Go. That is why we can create the Pack and Go through our Windows Explorer. Just navigate to the file you want to package up and right-click to find the SOLIDWORKS section and expand to Pack and Go. This will present you with the same Pack and Go dialog box to choose any options that you need to package the file.
Figure 2: Accessing Pack and Go through Windows Explorer
To see this tool in action, please refer to our YouTube channel and see the video here.