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Take Advantage of the Design Library in SolidWorks by Jeff Brausen

I have been finding myself repeatedly offering the same advice to SolidWorks customers that I visit or who call in to our help line. When discussing everything from how to create a sketch to how to create "smart models" my mantra has been "If you do something once you should never have to do it again within SolidWorks". There is no reason to with the great data management tools available. Even for an individual SolidWorks user, the CAD tool allows you to reuse data quickly and easily. It blows my mind when I find users, experienced users, who do not know about the "Design Library" and how to use it.

What is the design library?
The design library is storage location for your common notes, sketches and even features! It is located in the task pane (right side of the screen) that looks like a stack of books.

Design Library

The location to your design library is controlled by you. In SolidWorks go to Tools-> Options->File Locations->Design Library this will identify the path to your design library and allow you to change it. I suggest the location be on your network, so you can share all your great tools with your whole team and they can do the same for you!

SolidWorks has great examples to reference. One that we use in our training classes is a fluid power port that is located in the default design library under features. This allows you to drag and drop any feature into any part. Specifically, the options that interest me are the ability to link to the original part (external reference!) and the ability to change these dimensions on the fly. Play the video below and you can follow along as I run through my example. View the embedded video below and follow along with the written instruction under that. 


  1. Create a feature that you use over and over again (better yet, do a PDM search and find a part that already has the feature, do it once and never again, remember!)
  2. Pin open your design library
  3. Control select your features for you library feature
  4. Drag into your design library (you will see a + symbol next to your mouse
  5. Fill out the file name and verify the file location
  6. Test your library part. Never assume your first pass is perfect. Create a test part and try dragging and dropping the feature into your test part.

I hope you have enjoyed this article please come back for future topics of discussion. Feel free to contact me with questions and blog suggestions at


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