The SolidWorks Property Tab Builder is a stand-alone utility you use to create a customized interface for entering properties into SolidWorks files.
The tabs you create with Property Tab Builder appear in the SolidWorks interface on the Custom Properties tab in the Task Pane. You can create different tab templates for parts, assemblies, and drawings.
This is a tool to help add uniformity to your modeling, whether done with a group or as an individual. Once you understand how the Custom Property Tab builder works, significant time can be saved in your modeling process with keeping meta-data uniform through your modeling efforts.
The SolidWorks Custom Property Tab Builder can be found under the Windows ‘Start’ menu. Look under your Program Files and you will find a drill-down with your SolidWorks installation. The Property Tab Builder is found under the ‘Tools’ folder and launches a separate window from which to build your customized property tab window. Think of this tool as an easy and very intuitive way to build an API suited to your custom property needs.
The Custom Property Tab Builder starts with a “group box,” shown to the right.
Think of the group box as a place to hold your property information in a container. You can change the name of the group box and you can indicate whether the box is expanded or collapsed by default.
Adding fields to the Property Tab is as simple as dragging in different types from the left into your group box.
There are several types of fieldsthat can be added to the group box:
Text Box - Allows a user to add a string of text to a property. This could be notes for a drawing, material information, etc.
Number Box - Allows the user to indicate quantities.
List - These are pull-down menus that contain pre-populated information that can be selected and used for properties.
Checkbox - These can be used to define whether certain operations have been completed, or need to be performed, if a model or assembly is complete and ready for manufacturing.
Radio Button - These are similar to checkboxes, but allow for up to three selections to be made. This could give users the ability to select between three answers: "Yes" - "No" - "Maybe." This can also be a powerful tool when used to control more advanced features of the custom property tab.
Control Attributes on the right of the window are inputs for the item selected. this one shows the radio button.
Caption: Is the way the label above the radio button will be displayed in SolidWorks.
Custom Property Attributes:
Name: Controls the name of the custom property the user is creating in SolidWorks. You can type any name or select a standard name from the drop-down list (populated by your existing properties.txt file).
Quantity: Defines the number of radio buttons in the group. Select 2 or 3.
Label: Enter text for the label on each button.
Value: Specify the value of the property for each radio button.
Configurations: (These are not available in a drawing.)
Show on Custom Tab. Writes the property the user creates to the Custom tab of the Summary Information dialog box.
Show on Configurations Tab. Writes the property the user creates to the Configuration Specific tab of the Summary Information dialog box.
Darrel Lampley is an Applications Engineer at Fisher/Unitech, a SolidWorks Value Added Reseller with locations across the Midwestern and Northeastern United States. He is a regular contributor to the Fisher/Unitech blog.