Configuring Autodesk Inventor

Oct 31, 2014

Issue:

Once you have installed Autodesk Inventor and have authorized it, it’s time to think about some possible configuration change before creating files. This will insure optimal performance for Inventor and make finding files and supporting folders easier. This will also make moving to the next version of Inventor easier.

Solution:

For the sake of ease there is no order in which this needs to be done. You can reconfigure only those area’s that apply to your work environment.

For Autodesk Inventor to comply with and Windows compliance some folder configuration are not optimal for day to day use. Before creating any files consider some of the options below.

We will first go through the folders and then go through where to configure the changes either in the Application Options or the project file of Inventor.

Appearance Libraries

This first appeared in Inventor in the 2013 release and later versions earlier version of Inventor would not have this option. These are the libraries that control the appearances used in Inventor. If you plan on adding materials or customizing appearances you will want to locate them on a central location for all users. This can be a centralized server on your company network. Once a location is selected you can move the supplied files. An example of an appearance would be like applying a coat of paint or finish like anodizing or chrome.

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Fig. 1


Materials Libraries

This first appeared in Inventor in the 2013 release and later versions earlier version of Inventor would not have this option. These are the libraries that control the materials used in Inventor. If you plan on adding materials or customizing appearances you will want to locate them on a central location for all users.

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Fig. 2


The Autodesk Appearance library and Autodesk Material library can be found in the default location of C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\Materials\201x. You can move the files in the 201x folder and rename that to materials in a new location. If you create a new materials library please locate it in this location also.

The Autodesk Appearance & Material library is a read only file that contains materials and appearances that are common to all Autodesk products. This allows you to open an Inventor file in another Autodesk product and it retains the material and appearances assigned in Inventor.

The Inventor Materials Library (appearances are held in this library and associated to your materials for the images to display) is located at C:\Users\Public\Documents\Autodesk\Inventor 201X\Design Data\Materials. If you are considering moving the Design Data folder you can do that all at one time when relocating the Design Data folder (see Workspace, Design Data). You can move all the files in the Materials folder to its new location. If you create a new appearances library please locate it in this location also. If you are going to create your own material you may consider creating them either in the existing Inventor Materials Library or creating your own material library. Editing the existing Inventor materials library can add to the existing materials this creates a larger library with all the files mixed in. A separate material library can be move or migrated to the next release and gives a more narrowed focus on the materials you may use day to day.

The Autodesk Material Library default located is at C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\Materials\201x. You can move the files in the 201x folder to its new location.

The Inventor Material Library default located is at C:\Users\Public\Documents\Autodesk\Inventor 201X\Design Data\Materials. If you create a new materials library please locate it in this location also.

Note: To meet Windows compliance the version name is used in a folder name. When placing in a common central location its recommend to remove that any reference to a version number. You may want to do this for backups but not for present day work.

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Fig. 3

Design Data

This folder holds all of the styles used in Inventor. Styles are used for the configuration of standards used in idw’s as well as ipt’s and iam’s. Styles in idw would be all the drawing standards notes dimension styles and formats. Styles in ipt’s and iam’s are lights. Prior to Inventor 2103 ipt’s and iam’s styles included materials and colors (now appearances which are library files). This folder also holds Excel spread sheet used in Inventor for clearance holes as well as threads and data for the Design Accelerator, Bend Tables, Cable & Harness, Tube & Pipe, Simulation and Optimization. The Design Data folder can be found at C:\Users\Public\Documents\Autodesk\Inventor 201X\Design Data. You can move the Design Data folder and its contents to its new location.

Templates

The template folder holds all the templates for idw’s, Ipt’s, iam’s, dwg’s, ipn’s and sheet metal.ipt’s and Mold Design.iam & Factory Layout.iam (if available) English and Metric. You can have multiple template folders under the main folder. These could be for a particular client or division of a company. The template folders can be also narrowed down in the Inventor project file for clients or for company divisions. See fig 4 for a configuration of multiple folder options. Since in most cases these files are modified to be configured to company standards they fall in to a must move category. The default templates are located at C:\Users\Public\Documents\Autodesk\Inventor 20xx\Templates. This folder should also be moved to a common location for all users.

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Fig. 4

Content Center Files

This folder is the one that can cause the most issues if not addressed before creating assembly file with Content Center files. This file location is not were the library or data files for Content Center are, but where the files that are created by the Content Center libraries are stored so that they need not be recreated. The default location of %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Autodesk\Inventor 2013\Content Center as you can see has a version number in its path location. This will work for the initial release and when you go to upgrade to a new version the project file will not see the older location and each assembly will ask that the Content Center components to have their path resolved. To avoid this and so follow on upgrades go as smooth as possible it would be recommended that this folder also be moved to a common location for all users. When creating the new folder locations leave out the version/product number so that in newer release it can point to the new location without confusion of other users or the program.

Default VBA project

If you write or have VBA programs they can be saved in Inventor documents or in external files. For 99% of the cases, saving it in an external file is best, so this is another folder you may want in a common location. There is a default VBA project that Inventor loads at startup. The default VBA project is defined in the File tab of the Inventor application options, as shown below. This is where your programs will be saved.

Catalog

The catalog folder contains Geometric Shapes, Pockets and Bosses (iFeatures) Punches and Slots. These are mostly iFeatures and you may want to create some of your own to speed up some feature creation. They also hold the punches used in the sheet metal section of Inventor. This folder should also be moved to a common location for all users.

Textures

The textures folder contains the bmp and jpeg images of custom appearances of materials. If you’re creating custom materials with custom images this is another folder to place in a common location so that appearance/styles that are created can be shared by all.

Now that the commonly used folders have been created and their contents moved there are two ways in most cases to configure their locations. One is the application options, files within Inventor or in the Inventor project files. Please note that the configuration in the project file will override the folder location in the application options. If you have multiple users sharing the same project file this would be the quickest way to configure multiple users.

Project Files

The default project file is just that default project file. This file doesn’t add anything to the performance of Inventor. Project files configuration will override the configurations in the Application Options and is good for configuring more than one user at a time. Below is a screen capture of a configured project file. Note that for file location UNC pathing was used over mapped directories.

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Fig. 5

Appearance Libraries

To edit your appearance library to its new location left click on the Appearance libraries and you will see the option to Add a library (see Fig.1). If you have an existing custom library that already exists and it is not listed in the Appearance library you use the Add Library option and browse to it common location. To do this you will need to select the open existing Library option from the icon in the lower left corner and select the Add Library option. For existing libraries you want to check were they are pointed at. They will still point to the default location unless changed. If you put your curser over the library and select it, it will show you its location. You can remove the libraries that point to the default locations (select and right click) and then use the add library function point to the common location.

Material Libraries

To edit your material library to its new location left click on the Appearance libraries and you will see the option to Add a library (see Fig.2) . If you have an existing custom library that already exists and it is not listed in the Material library you use the Add Library option and browse to it common location. To do this you will need to select the open existing Library option from the icon in the lower left corner and select the Add Library option. For existing libraries you want to check were they are pointed at. They will still point to the default location unless changed. If you put your curser over the library and select it, it will show you its location. You can remove the libraries at that point to the default locations (select and right click) and then use the add library function point to the common location.

Folder Options

The folder options contain the following options: Design Data, Templates and Content Center Files.

  • Design Data to change the location of where the files are simply right click on the existing path and select the edit option. You can use the browse button or if you’re using UNC pathing paste in the new location or type it in.
  • Templates to change the location here you edit it the same as the Design Data above.
  • Content Center Files to change the location here you edit it the same as the Design Data above.

Options

There is one option here worth looking at and that is the Old Version to Keep On Save. If you are not using a data management system like Vault which keeps older version you may want to change this setting. It is set to 1 this is the last saved version you may want to increase this to 3 or 4. The -1 setting means it will not save any old version.

Once you have made all the changes to the project file location you will need to save the project file.

Application Options

You can make the same configuration in your application as you did in the project along with a few others. There are two tabs within the application option you will want to look at one is the File tab and the other is iFeature.

File

The file tab contains the location for the templates, Design Data, Content Center files and Default VBA project. You can change any of the listed location by either using the browse button on the right of each location or highlighting the path and doing a cut and paste.

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Fig. 6

iFeature

There are four options that need to be changed if you have moved your catalog folder. Each edits the same as the paths in the files tab. You can change any of the listed location by either using the browse button on the right of each location or highlighting the path and doing a cut and paste. The iFeature viewer argument string needs to point to the Catalog folder if you have moved it along with sub directories.

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Fig. 7

Once you have made the changes in the application options you can select apply then close the dialog box. Please remember any difference between the application option and project file with go with what’s in the project file.

Products:

Inventor

Versions:

2011;2012;2013;2014;2015

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