Which is Which? - Drawing Template vs Sheet Format in SOLIDWORKS

Which is Which? - Drawing Template vs Sheet Format in SOLIDWORKS
Posted in: Mechanical Design
April 27, 2015

How many of you get drawing templates and sheet formats confused? Come on, don’t be shy. My dad, a SOLIDWORKS user of 10+ years, told me that he still gets these mixed up. It’s okay, Dad: you are not alone.

Drawing Template

In short, a drawing template stores document settings that you can use again and again. This can include a sheet format. Here are some examples of these settings:

  • Drawing Document Properties: Drafting Standards, Units, Font style and sizes, etc.
  • Custom Properties
  • Tree Display
  • Predefined Views

These settings are accessed through the Standard Toolbar or Tools->Options and changed here while within a drawing:

drawing template - custom properties/document properties

drawing template - summary information on custom tab

 Custom Properties Window

drawing template - document properties

Document Properties Window

To clarify, the template is what you see when you open up a new document in SOLIDWORKS:

drawing template - new SOLIDWORKS document

Once you've modified the drawing to your liking, simply go under File and click Save As:

drawing templates - file > save as

Select Drawing Templates from the Save As type pull-down menu, give the template a name, and SOLIDWORKS will save the file as a .drwdot. The file location at the top of the window is the default location for the templates in SOLIDWORKS 2014, this is similar for 2015.

drawing template - save as

Now, when I open a file, my custom drawing template shows up:

drawing template - draw 1

Sheet Format

In contrast, a sheet format specifies the paper size and, mainly, defines the title block for the drawing. Here are things that can be saved in a sheet format:

  • Title block and the information contained in it
  • Drawing Border and Block Geometry
  • Notes
  • Images like your company logo
  • Anchor Points for Tables

By default, when you open a new or existing drawing file you are in the sheet. Right click anywhere in the graphics area within a drawing and select Edit Sheet Format to modify the sheet format:

drawing template - sheet format

Once you are in the sheet format, you can change the title block lines, insert/change any text in the background, or add in pictures like our Hawk Ridge company logo. If you look in the right hand corner of the graphics area, you will see the sheet format icon letting you know you are editing the sheet format:

drawing template v. sheet format > sheet descriptions

Now once you have made your changes, you can right click and choose Edit Sheet, or you can click that sheet format icon in the corner. Either way will take you back to the sheet. Currently, the changes made to the sheet format are contained in the current drawing ONLY. Good news though, you can save the sheet format for future drawings. Sheet formats can’t be saved by clicking Save As like drawing templates, instead you have to click on Save Sheet Format.

drawing template - save sheet format 1

drawing template - save sheet format 2

Again, please note the default location for the sheet formats. They are in the C: drive in this file path by default: C:\ProgramData\SolidWorks\SolidWorks 2014\lang\english\sheetformat. NOTE: If your ProgramData folder isn’t shown, go into the Folder Options in the Control Panel in Windows, and turn on Show hidden files, folders, and drives under the Advanced settings:

drawing template - folder options

When you open the default drawing template, you have the opportunity to choose your custom sheet format. You can also change to your saved sheet format in existing drawing by right clicking in the drawing and selecting Properties:

drawing template - sheet format/size

Choosing the sheet format in a new drawing

drawing template - sheet properties

Changing the sheet format in an existing drawing

More good news: if you saved your sheet format in your drawing template, when you pull up the drawing template the sheet format will automatically be in there! It’s a good practice to save the sheet format separately though so that you can pull it up in other drawings and sheets.

I hope this clears up that old confusion on this subject and shows that sheet formats and drawing templates aren’t enemies after all, proving that we can all just get along. Thanks for reading!

April 27, 2015
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philip jh
September 4, 2016
file name ->x(default<_display state1>) hello vince can you tell me what all of the details after file name means and how i can control/ edit it or hide / remove it it is truely driving me nuts my regards philip jh
Vince Farrell
October 27, 2016
Hi Philip, We just created a video on this, and it will be released shortly. In short, if you are in an assembly and you right click the name of the assembly, expand the Tree Display menu and those check marks will let you turn off certain things in the tree. Thanks for reading! Vince
October 21, 2016
Vince, I am attempting to set up the template and sheet formats for my company and I think I have inadvertently saved one of the formats as part of the template. What should I do in order to correct this. I want the sheet properties dialogue box to pop up so that we can select the proper sheet format. It currently just opens the B size format. Thanks, Matt
Vince Farrell
October 27, 2016
Hi Matt, If you want to preserve the drawing template you made, open it up as a new drawing, expand the folder called Sheet1 on the tree on the left so that it shows Sheet Format1. Right click on that and select Delete, then re-save the drawing as a template. The next time someone uses that template to start a new drawing, it will prompt them to choose a sheet format. Let me know if you have any other questions. Vince

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