Setting up CUSTOMTOOLS – Getting Started

In my previous article, I gave a brief overview of what you can do with CUSTOMTOOLS and how to install it.

In this article I will show how to create a profile and quickly get started using the custom properties features.

Setting Up a Profile

Before you begin, you need to have a profile set up. This is done within the administration tool. Type “admin” in your windows search bar, and you should be able to select it.

In the previous article, we connected to the SQL database so we can skip that step here.

Next, create or select the database.

To create the database press Create Database and the Database Wizard will appear.

Press Next and name your database, then set it as the active database (step 1 in figure below) and for now, do not create a profile (step 2). We will do that in the next section.

Set the database language (step 3, this one is done in English) and press Next.

Review the information and press Finish.

The database is created.

Press Close and select the database (1) and press Login (2).

The default admin user is Admin and password is blank but as an admin you can (and should) change it.

You will get this message:

This is because we did not create a profile so let us do that now.

Select Profile Section in the tree and either click the Create Profile button (1) or right click on the profile in the tree and select create profile.

The profile wizard starts. Give the profile a name, and determine if the profile should be empty, a predefined profile or if you want to import an existing profile. Furthermore, you need to select the language and set it as active.

For now, create an empty profile. Press Next and Finish.

The profile is created. You can start to work on it by either double clicking on it, or selecting it or by selecting Profile Options.

Either way, this window will appear as below, and you are ready to explore the contents of CUSTOMTOOLS.

Custom Properties

Let’s start with Custom Properties and some of its options.

If you select Model Properties and you don’t have any yet, you get the option to create them manually or use the Custom Properties wizard.

The wizard is a fairly new addition to CUSTOMTOOLS. It allows you to analyze different files and use them as a starting point for your properties.

For instance, you can load 20 parts and assemblies and use them as references for your model properties.

The software will analyze how many times a specific property appears and give you that information, after which you can decide if you want to use that property. This is very useful if you have never used any software to control your properties.

You can also use specific custom property files (for more information, see this article), which will translate the property files to the CUSTOMTOOLS software. This is a quick way to get started if you are moving from Property Tab Builder.

The last option in the wizard is to use your PDM data cards. This is very similar to the previous option but requires PDM Professional. This allows you to copy the properties to CUSTOMTOOLS, ensuring that the data is consistent.

For this example, I have used a part and assembly custom property file.

After reviewing it, your first decision is file naming.

This will ensure that we do not get multiple parts with the same name.

You can use an existing property or create a new property.

If you change the value of this property, you will get the option to give the file a new name.

Within the same window, you get the option to set up a sequence number which will name your files automatically with a number, preventing multiple files with the same name.

The sequence does not distinguish between parts or assemblies, it simply uses the next number — so there is no risk having a part and an assembly with the same name and, therefore, two drawings with the same name.

You can skip this section, but I do not recommend it.

Once your automatic naming is set up, press Next and your properties will appear.

By selecting the first one, you can see the available options. Attribute Name is the custom property name.

The label is what you see in your CUSTOMTOOLS menu renaming. This will not affect the property. It is purely cosmetic.

Type is the type of selection box you want. The most common type is the Editbox, which is used for writing your custom properties.

The combo box is the possibility to create a list which you can get information from. As this is a quick set up, add the information manually. We will explore some of the list options in the next article.

As a rule, the combo box cannot be edited, but you can select the editable Combo box which allows you to add values if needed.

The next input type is a check box which allows you to have two different values depending on whether it is checked or not.

The Date type ensures that you always have a date in the input field and does not allow the mistake of using a date as text.

The mass and material automatically fill in with information from the model.

Sequence is for your sequence or serial numbers.

The dimension type gives you the option to select dimensions from the model and inserting them in properties for use in drawings, for example.

After the type has been set, you can decide if the property is to be used on the Custom Property tab, the Configuration tab, or both.

CUSTOMTOOLS has a powerful search option which allows you to search in properties. You can decide if you want to use this property as a filter in search as well when you use the Print/Convert options.

Finally, decide if the property is available for parts, assemblies or models.

Once this is done, you can edit it within your administration module, but as this is a quick set up guide, we’ll stop here.

In the next article, we go deeper into how you can use the wizard to set up conversion rules that allow you to convert your drawings to PDF, your sheet metal files to DXF or DWG and even how to export your SOLIDWORKS assembly as a bill of material.

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