CUSTOMTOOLS for everyone

In this and upcoming articles, I will write about CUSTOMTOOLS and show you some of my favorite features of this SOLIDWORKS add-in.

The main thrust of this article is, of course, what you can do with CUSTOMTOOLS, as well as how to install it. Subsequent articles will go deeper into how you set up some of the features.

If you wish to obtain a license for the program, you can either talk to your VAR, or try a free demo. I will explain how you get the free demo later.


CUSTOMTOOLS is a range of time saving tools that will help you automate some of the tasks you do daily. They might be trivial tasks, but they are still necessary.

CUSTOMTOOLS comes in two different versions, Basic and Professional. As I have access to the Professional version of SOLIDWORKS, I will let you know if the feature I am describing is a Basic or a Professional feature.

If you are using SOLIDWORKS Connected, you might be wondering whether you can use CUSTOMTOOLS. Good news: you can. This article is written with the latest CUSTOMTOOLS installed and used with SOLIDWORKS Connected.

Before we get started, make sure your CUSTOMTOOLS version is the same or greater than your SOLIDWORKS version.

For instance, if you have SOLIDWORKS 2023 installed you need CUSTOMTOOLS 2023 or 2024, as 2022 will not work. But you don’t want it to be too new, as CUSTOMTOOLS is only available for the last three years. This means that CUSTOMTOOLS 2024 supports SOLIDWORKS 2024, 2023, 2022 and 2021.

When using CUSTOMTOOLS, you need SQL Express to be installed either on your own computer (if you are the only one using it) or on a server if you have multiple users.


If you have already installed CUSTOMTOOLS, you will want to skip down to the next section, Using CUSTOMTOOLS.

This installation is done with CUSTOMTOOLS 2024 SPO and may differ from previous versions.

The installation process is quite simple. For this article I will go through the process of creating an installation that can be used for demo purposes.

First you need to get the demo license from ATR Soft Customer Portal – Demo version of CUSTOMTOOLS. Then, download the software and you are ready to begin the installation.

Run the installation as administrator.

Select the installation language.

Press the Next button.

Accept the license agreement.

Type in your name, company and serial number. You can get a demo serial number as indicated below.

Next you should select the type of installation. If you are only testing the application, I recommend the standalone setup.

However, if you want to have bit more control, you should select the “Network environment/Custom Install” option.

In order to show you the different options, I have selected the networks installation and marked the selections in blue below.

As you can see, the installation package is divided into different categories: Client, Tools, Server Tools, Server and Languages. We start with the Client category, which is what most users will use.

You would use the SOLIDWORKS task add-in. If you want, you can install the CUSTOMTOOLS templates, which can help you get started.

If you only use the CUSTOMTOOLS Viewer (a separate license) you should select this. eDrawings is installed with the viewer.

“Client components for CT Task Add-In” allows you to execute CUSTOMTOOLS tasks from your PDM Professional vault, giving you the option to automate many of the tasks.

Under “Tools” we have the Profile converter, which is only useable if you have used a program with similar functionality, in which case you might be able to import your settings.

The Import Standalone allows you to import your current files into CUSTOMTOOLS, enabling you to use the search engine.

The Server Tools allow you to install the CUSTOMTOOLS Administration tool, which you only need to install if you are the administrator.

If you want to query the SQL database, you can also install the SQL Server Management Studio.

Next you have the server installation.

If you do not have a SQL server installed on your system, you will get the option to install a SQL Express on your machine, but you can also use an existing network’s SQL server instead.

For example, if you are working with linked data, or you get data from an ERP system, CUSTOMTOOLS Service will be very useful in clearing up synchronization errors.

You can also use CUSTOMTOOLS with a network license (depending on your license type), in which case you need to install the license manager, which is used to distribute the licenses.

You can also install different languages if you want to.

Pressing next can give you two different windows:

If you want to install SQL Express, you need to give it a System Administrator password.

Pro Tip: Remember to write the password down as it is nearly impossible to reset without admin rights.

If you already have SQL and want to use that, you will be asked to navigate to the database.

You have to decide if you want to connect to the server using Windows authentication or a server authentication password.

In both cases, press Next and then the installation should start.

The installation is finished!


Let’s have a brief overview of the main options in CUSTOMTOOLS.


CUSTOMTOOLS gives you the option to create projects. These projects can have individual Save locations as well as predefined custom properties.

If you set it up properly, these projects will be available to everyone in your company who uses CUSTOMTOOLS.


Sequences in CUSTOMTOOLS can be used to set up serial numbers, among other things. You can set up as many sequences as you want and either use this just for numbers, but you can also use them to name your files automatically.


When I was introduced to CUSTOMTOOLS, this was the primary reason: to handle custom properties.

Previously I had used the Property tab builder to handle properties. While that was a great tool, I have to say that CUSTOMTOOLS was really a welcome surprise.

When you set up your custom properties in SOLIDWORKS’ Property Tab Builder, you have many different options. CUSTOMTOOLS expands on these options and gives you many more including combining values, use segments on already existing values, new options for lists and expanding on the concept of predefined values.

But you can also control Cutlist properties and Revision properties, when using CUSTOMTOOLS.


In CUSTOMTOOLS the options for Lists are quite extensive and range from simplified lists to SQL queries.

Combination Properties

This section allows you to combine whole or parts of different properties and generate unique values. These values can be used like other properties are used.

RAL color

This selection gives you the option to apply color to your model. You can create your own color selection, or you can use a standard selection. These color codes can appear on your drawing also.

Drawing creation

The option to automatically create drawings appeared in CUSTOMTOOLS 2024. If for some reason you do not have a drawing create option, then this tool will create them for you with the proper setup.

Batch Job, File Conversion & Export Profiles

This is one of the biggest time saving features of CUSTOMTOOLS. Set it up properly and you can automate some of the most tedious tasks such as Save As PDF, Create DXF from Part, Create STEP File, Print, Change Sheet Format and more.

It is very easy to set up and you can even make sure it is done every time you save a file.
This can be used with a part, but more importantly, it can be used on assemblies.

Cutting profile options

CUSTOMTOOLS can automatically create profiles for your laser cutter using DXF sheets with the click of a button. This will save much time.


If you have PDM Professional, you can use many of the features within the PDM system as part of your automation process.

And One More Thing

If you use a SQL database, it is much easier to search for files based on properties, creation date and what CUSTOMTOOLS user it is created by.

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