Difference Between Drawing Templates and Sheet Formats
What exactly is the difference between SOLIDWORKS Drawing Templates and Sheet Formats?
Since SOLIDWORKS drawing files can potentially have different sheet sizes and title blocks within the same drawing file, the information is separated into two files: Drawing Template and Sheet Format. Understanding what information is contained in each file and how they interact with each other is important to create a well-organized and functional drawing template that can be easily updated and shared with other users at your organization.
What’s Contained in Each Drawing File?
Drawing Template File (.drwdot)
- All settings under the Tools > Options > Document Properties tab.
- All existing sheets (Sheet1, Sheet2, Sheet3…).
- All sheet formats on the existing sheets (each sheet may have a different sheet format).
- All existing predefined blank drawing views.
- Link to Sheet Format file specified in the sheet’s Properties (right-click on the sheet’s tab and then select Properties).
Sheet Format File (.slddrt)
- All information stored in Sheet Format (right-click on the sheet’s tab and then select Edit Sheet Format). This includes borders, title blocks, logo images, annotations, mapped Custom properties, etc.
- All table anchors (BOM, Revision, Weldment Cut List, etc.)
- The Sheet Format is essentially a “layer” of information over the drawing sheet.
Note: Any existing sheet in the drawing template already contains a Sheet Format embedded in the template. Whenever a new sheet is added, however, it references the Sheet Format link that is specified in the active sheet being copied. For this reason, it is critical that the referenced Sheet Format link in the drawing template is set to an accessible file location and a valid Sheet Format (.slddrt) file, otherwise the system will display be an error that the Sheet Format cannot be located. Follow this guide The Sheet Format could not be located – SOLVED <LINK COMING> to locate the Sheet Format and correct the behavior from occuring again.
How to Create a Drawing Template Linked to a Sheet Format File
- Start a new, blank drawing (File > New) or open an existing drawing to modify.
- Edit the sheet’s Properties (right-click the sheet’s tab and then select Properties) and choose the sheet size (A, B, C…), set the Sheet Scale, etc. Click Apply Changes to return to the drawing sheet.
- Edit the sheet format (right-click the sheet’s tab and then select Edit Sheet Format) and customize the title block, border, and anchors.
- Accept the changes and return to the drawing sheet by clicking the sheet icon in the top right corner of the graphics area.
- Save the sheet format file by selecting File > Save Sheet Format. This will save as an .slddrt filetype. We recommend saving these customized sheet formats in a custom location outside the default SOLIDWORKS installation files. The path to the sheet formats is specified in Tools > Options > System Options > File Locations > Sheet Formats (from the dropdown list).
- Return to the sheet and edit the sheet’s Properties (right-click the sheet’s tab and then select Properties). Choose to Browse for the Sheet Format. Select the .slddrt Sheet Format file that you just saved.
- Edit any other sheet properties (Type of Projection, Sheet Scale, View Labels, Custom Property value options, et.) and click Apply Changes to return to the drawing’s sheet.
- Add any predefined views as needed. Note, these will be blank views which will populate when the template is used and a part or assembly is added to the drawing.
- Save the configured drawing template by selecting File > Save As and then choose to save as Drawing Template (.drwdot) filetype. We recommend saving these customized Drawing Templates in a custom location outside the default SOLIDWORKS installation files. The path to the drawing templates is specified in Tools > Options > System Options > File Locations > Document Templates (from the dropdown list).
Now you can create customized sheet formats and drawing templates containing the sheet formats and options for various drawing sizes and option configurations based on your needs. You can also set the drawing template to use a different sheet format for new sheets using this guide.
If you have any questions or experience unexpected behavior, feel free to reach out to MLC CAD Systems technical support
About the author
Rick is a Customer Service Expert based in the Phoenix, Arizona. He has been using SOLIDWORKS to solve complex design challenges since 2007. Rick’s experience includes sheet metal design and fabrication, CNC laser operation, developing components and engineered systems for the transportation industry, as well as CAD administration for SOLIDWORKS and PDM. He enjoys providing solutions to satisfy customers and assist their users in becoming proficient SOLIDWORKS users.