If you’ve ever needed to share or backup an assembly using SOLIDWORKS, there is a good chance you’ve used Pack and Go. To help people better understand the options that are available, we’ll be looking at an assembly with all the mentioned components in the different ‘Include’ check boxes shown in the Pack and Go window, see figure 2.
The additional features, like those that modify names, will be included in other sections as we go.
The first thing you may consider is where are you sending your files and how can you best get them there. Pack and Go has two options that are relatively straight forward, either saving to a new folder or compressing your files into a zip file. In both cases, how you decide to maintain or dissolve your folder structure will be carried over.
Deselect All/Keep Full Folder Structure (KFFS)
Disabling all inclusion options, see figure 3, may be an uncommon choice, but it has some benefits. One benefit would be securing intellectual property. A simplified variant of a part could put into an assembly for exporting. The part with the accurate geometry can be suppressed and left in the assembly without concern of passing on sensitive information. Looking at the original folder and the destination folder we can see the general difference in what was copied. Also, the folder structure should be noted because Pack and Go will only duplicate folder structures that are accessed by SOLIDWORKS, see figure 4. In this case, there are several suppressed components to show the impact in Pack and Go, see figure 5.
Include Suppressed Components/KFFS
Including suppressed components is typically selected by default when creating a Pack and Go folder or zip file. This can be useful for assemblies with configurations where different components may be suppressed or unsuppressed depending on the configuration. Using the same file set from the previous section we can see the difference in the folders that are created, see figure 6.
Include Decals, Appearances and Scenes/ Flatten to Single Folder (FSF)
When it comes to including custom and default decals, Pack and Go forces the user to flatten their file structure to a single folder. This feature can be useful when sending files to other users that may not have the decal library you have, or if they will be viewing your files with something like eDrawings where there may not be any decal library. With this Pack and Go, the file set was returned to its original state for suppressed files, see figure 1. Additionally, flattening the folder structure to a single folder does what you would expect it to.
Include Toolbox Components/ Flatten to Minimal Folders (FMS)
Normally, the parts used from your Toolbox will be transferred in Pack and Go. The benefit of this option is that the receiver of your assembly will have access to the ‘Edit Toolbox components’ menu when right clicking on the part, see figure 7. The ‘Flatten to minimal folders’ option will eliminate most top-level folders. The new top-level will be at the first place that contains files that Pack and Go will be copying.
Include Simulation Results/FMS
Simulation data is straight forward. As you’d expect, any files with simulation data in your assembly will have that data passed along when the Pack and Go is created.
Drawing data is also straight forward. Any of the part or assembly drawings you might have will be included in your Pack and Go.
Add Prefix & Suffix/Select/Replace…
The name modification tools in Pack and Go have some strengths and weaknesses. The ‘Add prefix/suffix’ boxes do exactly what you’d expect with the caveat that they apply the prefix/suffix to all files being packed. The ‘Select / Replace…’ button gives the option to convert file name automatically and in bulk. This can be useful for iterating an assembly to a different design that may require a different part number. Additionally, this could be used to update file names from a numeric nomenclature to a more colloquial nomenclature. An example being, a client may not need to know that a left handed widget is called 170-012-011, see figure 8.
Finally, to tie a bow off on Pack and Go there are a few options that we haven’t discussed yet. One being that Pack and Gos can be created from file explorer without ever needing to open SOLIDWORKS, see figure 9. As a side note, there are other useful functions in the right click menu in file explorer. Where applicable, those options will update/maintain references protecting your file integrity. A deficit to this Pack and Go is a reduction in the number of inclusion options, see figure 10. Another useful feature, particularly if you are concerned with file duplication or Pack and Go size, is the ability to deselect certain components using the check boxes to the left of each component.
Hopefully this deep dive into SOLIDWORKS Pack and Go has given you a better understanding of the tools you’ve had access to but may not have realized are available to you.