De-mystifying Drawing Templates and Sheet Formats

Most Solidworks users work from existing drawing templates and never have to think about where they are located and how they've been set up… until that fateful day comes when you need to make a change and the systems admin or Solidworks power user isn't around.   Drawing Templates?  Sheet Formats?  Where are they?  What do they do?  Don't worry, there's just a few things you really need to know:


Your "Drawing Templates" look something like this:

Drawing Templates

To find out where they are located, go to Tools- Options- File Locations:

File Locations

The file extension for these Drawing Templates is .drwdot

File Extension

The Drawing Templates house all the information that determines the default Document Properties of a given drawing.  That includes things like the unit system, font style, dimension and leader appearance, etc.  Therefore, if every time you use a certain Drawing Template you find yourself changing the Dimension size (for example), then you just want to make that change and save over the existing Drawing Template.  Here's how:

  1. Open a new drawing using that Drawing Template
  2. Go to "Save As", change the "Save as type" to "Drawing Templates"
  3. Save it over the existing one



The "Sheet Format" is a separate file that sits inside the Drawing Template.  Sheet Formats house all the information about the paper size, scale, projection type, etc.  The paper's border and Title Block are housed in the Sheet Format as well.  Therefore, if you want to edit the Title Block you can right click on the paper and click "Edit Sheet Format".  Then do it again and "Edit Sheet" to get back:

Edit Sheet Format:                                                           Edit Sheet:

Edit Sheet Format   Edit Sheet

 To find out where the Sheet Formats are located, go to Tools- Options- File Locations:

File Locations2

 The file extension for these Sheet Formats is .slddrt

File Extension2

There are some more details in the world of Drawing Templates and Sheet Formats, but that should help you figure out how get started.  One common thing people struggle with is changing the title block and making the change stick.  So to wrap up, here are some instructions on how to do that.  The big idea is that you have to change the Sheet Format (where the Title Block lives) and then in most cases you also have to save the Drawing Template (where the Sheet Format lives). 

MAKING CHANGES TO THE SHEET FORMAT (ie. Changing the Title Block)

  1. Open a new drawing using the Sheet Format you want to change
  2. NOTE: The Sheet Format may be associated with the Drawing Template, in which case you will only open the Drawing Template and the Sheet Format will automatically be used.  Or, you may be prompted to select the Sheet Format after selecting the Drawing Template.  

  3. Right click and "Edit Sheet Format" to make your changes
  4. Right click and "Edit Sheet"
  5. File- Save Sheet Format
  6. If the Sheet Format is NOT automatically associated with the Drawing Template, this is all that needs to be done.  Otherwise continue.
  7. Close the drawing, no need to save (you already saved the Sheet Format)
  8. Open a new drawing using the same Drawing Template
  9. Right click in the blank area on the paper and choose "properties"
  10. Click "Reload" and OK
  11. File- Save as and change the "Save as type" to "Drawing Templates"
  12. Save this Drawing Template over the old one


Don't forget, if you're on subscription service you can always call your VAR for more help!


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Alek said...
Does exist something like that in DraftSight? I can't set a different paper size, please advise.
March 11, 2013 12:03

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