Solidworks Description has Super Powers

If you are still managing your CAD data without PDM, you can use it's super powers to your advantage. We often did, but how exactly I will tell you a bit later.

Let's see what is so super powerful about this custom property first.

Unlike all the other custom properties, this particular property can be displayed as a separate column in Windows Explorer. This gives you the option to search and sort (filter) by this variable.

To enable this, go to a CAD folder and right-click onto the free space beside the column titles. Then select "More". You should get a list of all the available variables you can choose from. If you scroll down you will find two variables named "Description". Select both (afterwards you can hide the one that remains empty).


If you already use this property, you should see the values in the Description column. Many companies already use Description property as a variable to store the title of the model (Sprocket, Holder, Beam, etc.). In this case you can use this new column to reorder your files alphabetically based on the Description value which means you can find your files more easily. Plus, you have one more reason to keep the title of the model out of the filename (you don't want the title in the filename when implementing PDM!).

If you are not yet using Description custom property, you can use it as a help for sorting and selecting your files, as we did.


Before we switched to PDM we used this property to store "Where Used" information. For example, if you are working on a large project and you are using a non-significant numbering scheme, this is a way how you can easily filter by this info. This means you can easily preselect the files you want to process with a bulk processing tool.


Actually, you can use this custom property to store any kind of info (material, supplier, etc) that you would like to sort by in your Windows Explorer.

If you choose to switch to PDM some day, you will actually get the ability to sort by all your custom properties and also other meta data. With PDM all your custom properties become "super powerful" :).

p.s. If you add the Description column view to a CAD folder that has a large quantity of CAD files in it, you might experience Windows Explorer crashing from time to time. We had this issue on Windows 7.

About the Author

Barbara Jerin

Is the creator of this blog and author of the majority of blog posts.

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