Note-Building Machine: SolidWorks vs Infinite Monkeys

If you’re like most mechanical engineers, you’re probably not very good at typing. And even if you are, you probably don’t enjoy every minute of it. There’s a theory that an infinite number of monkeys typing for an infinite amount of time will eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare, or maybe the Notes block for your Drawing! Or, using your SolidWorks Design Library, you can save and reuse frequently-used notes (and other annotations). Then you can just drag-and-drop your way to creating that “NOTES:” block of manufacturing instructions that lives on just about every drawing. Leave the typing to the monkeys!


Here’s how: First, you’ll need to verify a setting in SolidWorks. Go to Tools > Options > System > Drawings, and make sure you uncheck “Disable note merging when dragging”.

Note Merging

Now, you can practice this with any two note annotations on a SolidWorks Drawing. Just drag and drop one Note onto another and you’ll see it appends the dropped note to the end of the Note you dropped it on!

It’s more fun when you make use of the Design Library. Right-click on your favorite note and choose Add to Library. You’ll be automatically pointed to the default file location for your Design Library notes folder, and you can choose a file name to save as.

Note Merging

Now, open up your Design Library from the Task Pane (on the right), and start drag-dropping onto your Drawing. You might want to get a note started manually by typing “NOTES:” and a line break, and clicking the numbered list icon on the formatting bar. Then drag a note favorite out of your Task Pane and onto the existing note. Take that, monkeys!

Note Merging

It also works nicely with a multi-line note. For example, if there are four things you need to tell people when they nickel plate a part, you can save them all into one library item and drag-drop it in together. Like this:

Note Merging

Not only is that much faster than an infinite number of monkeys typing for an infinite amount of time, it’s much more reliable. And less messy. CAPINC’s two day Advanced Drawings course includes many great time-saving Drawings and Detailing methods like this one!


Jason Pancoast is Engineering Manager at CAPINC, a SolidWorks Value Added Reseller with locations across New England. He is a regular contributor to their CAPINC University blog.

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Categories: SOLIDWORKS
Tags: annotations, complete works of shakespeare, design library, drawings, infinite number of monkeys, line break, SOLIDWORKS
CAPINC was founded on one core principle: Provide the best solutions and services to assist our customers in designing and developing better products. CAPINC provides premier solutions and services in New England to assist our customers in accelerating their design and development process for better mechanical products. Our award winning technical support team is comprised of industry experts with hundreds of years of combined practical experience in mechanical design, design validation and analysis, product data management, and technical communication. We are the award winning 3D solutions partner offering SolidWorks software and training, and the entire Stratasys line of 3D printers and production systems. For more tech tips and blog tutorials check out CAPINC's blog and videos.