How to Customize 3D PDF Templates Using SOLIDWORKS MBD

I remember years ago, when I started 2D detailing using CAD software, the first thing was to customize 2D drawing templates, such as sheet sizes, company logos, linked properties, title blocks and so on. Now with the model-based definition (MBD) approach, you can communicate with 3D PDFs rather than 2D drawings. However, in order to make the 3D PDF consumable, presentable and compliant with company practices, template customizations are still a recommended step.

Parts 1 and 2 of this How-To video series illustrated several techniques to define and organize 3D annotations using SOLIDWORKS MBD. Building upon the solid foundation, let’s move on to the next phase: customize 3D PDF templates using the built-in template editor.

In this video, Chris Pagliarini showed several handy tips and tricks:

  • Locate a folder of templates
  • Set up rectangles for the background and other elements
  • Add a company logo
  • Insert four types of text fields with rich styles
  • Add independent viewports
  • Load a bill of materials (BOM) table
  • Order the elements by layers

It’s worth noting that SOLIDWORKS MBD 2017 added significant 3D PDF Template Editor enhancements. Here are my two favorites, which may seem trivial, but greatly improved the user experience.

      1.     Add corner radius to rectangles. Take a quick look at the image below. The one on the right looks much more polished and professional because of the round corners.



  1.     Reuse template elements across sheets. Let’s say you are happy with the careful layout design on one page. There is no point to repeat the same work on a different sheet. You can now copy and paste selected elements or even everything to another page. Even better, the Windows standard shortcut keys are supported: Hold the Control key for multiple selections, Control+a for Select All, Control+c for Copy and Control+a for Paste.

I hope you can now build some cool 3D PDF templates easily as well. Please share your feedback in the comment area below. To learn more about SOLIDWORKS MBD, please watch the 22-minute webcast below and visit its product page.

Oboe Wu

Product portfolio manager of SOLIDWORKS MBD, passionate about smart manufacturing opportunities, Keen listener to customer challenges, Sharp problem solver with 20 years of experiences in engineering, Sleepless father trying best to take care of a baby daughter.