TIP: Modifying the Toolbox via importing spreadsheet data.

Following on the heels of my complaint about not being able to use some advanced functionality in SolidWorks 2006, I have now successfully
exported, modified (wholesale) and reimported data to allow me to specify the part numbers and part descriptions of Toolbox parts.
Before getting too far into it, Scott Baugh has published something approaching this tip (but more basic) on his Web site at the following link:
http://www.scottjbaugh.com/Tips_Tricks/Data_Options.htm
The screens are captured from an earlier version of SolidWorks, perhaps 2005 (am not sure), and it does not have the mentioned options to Export data from the Toolbox Standards and re-Import them into a new Standard.
You've probably seen and wondered about this option to Edit Standards Data under Tools > Options > Data Options. Maybe you've looked at it and tried to get Help on the subject (not very helpful). Take a look at it now and you'll note that the list of Standards (like "Ansi Inch") in the left frame (Edit Data tab) all have plus signs that you can click on to expand the selection. Drill down to a kind of part that you might like to modify a bit to reflect a more useful part number or description (there are probably a lot of those). If you select the "All Configurations" tab then SolidWorks will generate and list all possible configurations (at least those that exist in the Standard database) in a matrix giving the data for those configurations (dimensions and configuration names included). If it's a large database like that for Socket Head Cap Screws it might take a while to generate the configurations so you can view it.
I'm actually not sure that these screens will allow you to alter the native Toolbox Standards databases included with SolidWorks Office (or better). I do know that you can alter COPIED Standards databases. SO FAR, I've only been able to do this modification with new (user) Standards data created FROM the Standards provided with SolidWorks Toolbox. To begin at the beginning, creating a new Standard is accomplished from the initial dialog box for Tools > Options > Data Options > Edit Standards Data. At the first screen that comes up you have to option to name a user-created Standard and to choose a normal Toolbox Standard to copy FROM. After creating this new Standard choose a Part type that you'd like to modify and drill down to it as above. Then select the "All Configurations" tab, also as above. You can modify this new data within some limits and making those changes does NOT (at least as far as I can tell) automatically CREATE configurations, which of course would increase the size of the Part files. You'll notice that there are Part Number and Part Description columns out the right side of the matrix, and you can fill those in for the configurations that you'd like to use. Again, this does not seem to automatically increase the size of the Part files associated with the Standard. You'll also note that there are Export and Import buttons at the bottom of the below the data matrix. These allow you to export to Excel format and re-import modified data. I've allusded to having had trouble in Importing that modified data, but the trick is (APPARENTLY) you cannot edit the Configuration Name. Perhaps you can add configurations (duplicate if necessary) and then delete the original configurations manually, but I'm not sure about that yet. There is an additional trick in that you must have a Part Number entry (and it must be a unique entry) for every Part Description. The part descriptions can be the same (e.g. "EXTERNAL RETAINING RING"). And you must not modify the information in the header of the spreadsheet. That modified spreadsheet must be exported FROM the exact Part data that you want to modify because the header info goes with it.
Anyone with more insight please DO post.
Mark Stapleton Watermark Design, LLC Charlotte, NC www.h2omarkdesign.com
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Interesting reading Spork
I'll have to print this one out and spend sometime on it when I have more time to spare.
There does appear to be a problem for someone like me, a contractor, and keeping having the Toolbox data in sync with my clients.
John Layne www.solidengineering.co.nz
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John Layne wrote:

Sounds like a sticky wicket, all right. Don't think my tip is of much use to you, but for those who work "direct" and end up having to edit things manually a lot it could be vastly useful.
'Sporky'
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Interesting, indeed.
From Finnish point of view the Toolbox has always been a pain in the ass, since it has been difficult to customize. We tend to use lots of custom properties, which are then shown in the BOM. For library componets we might have for example custom properties for part number, standard, english description, finnish description and dimensions. You can then easily change the bom to display whatever data you need, change order of columns etc, have different BOM's for different languages etc.
In the toolbox, however, all the useful information is stuffed into one stoopid PartNO field (which is not even a custom property). In the BOM it results as terribly long fields or word wrapping. By default the toolbox parts don't seem to have any custom properties at all. You can add your own custom properties into toolbox but you have to edit them one by one, which is definitely P.I.T.A. This excel import/export is definitely great enhancement, as you can fill in part numbers and descriptions at once. However, it would be even better if you could create and import whatever custom proeprties by using the excel spreadsheet.
-h-
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