Managing Configurations with DriveWorks and SOLIDWORKS

Article by GoEngineer on Aug 19, 2021

Configurable products are all around us, from selecting the features for the car we want to purchase to the burrito bowl we order from Chipotle - the exact number of combinations to mix and match is a lot higher than we may think. Here’s a breakdown of how many options are technically available when customizing a Chevy Camaro:

Possible Configurations Available for a Chevy Camaro

Crazy, right? It may seem like small potatoes adding another color or another trim option, but what kind of impact does this have on CAD models?

Configurations in SOLIDWORKS

In SOLIDWORKS, configurations can be managed in three ways: manually, with SOLIDWORKS design tables, and with Excel-driven design tables. 


To manually add a configuration in SOLIDWORKS, from the ConfigurationManager tab, simply right-click any empty space and select Add Configuration...

How to Manually Add a Configuration in SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS Design Tables

Using a SOLIDWORKS Design Table is similar to adding configurations manually except you can organize your dimension, feature, and material configurations into a table that will tabulate all relevant information into an easy-to-use spreadsheet. Right-clicking on a feature in the Design Tree and choosing Configure Feature will start your SOLIDWORKS Design Table. 

How to Open a SOLIDWORKS Design Table

Excel-driven Design Tables

To use an Excel-driven design table, within a part, go to Insert > Tables > Design Table. Select Auto-Create (you can link it to an external file or create it from scratch, but the easiest way to get started is with auto-create). Using Excel-driven design tables allows you to use all of the functionality within Excel like equations, logic statements, and data validation.

How to Open an Excel-driven Design Table in SOLIDWORKS

The Impact of Configurations

When the number of configurations begins to add up, it can start to tax your SOLIDWORKS model performance. File size alone will increase tremendously with each configuration added. Plus, imagine navigating a spreadsheet with 1 million rows. So what do you do when you’re beginning to reach the ceiling for what SOLIDWORKS can handle? You turn to DriveWorks

DriveWorks is a configuration and automation software that can be used internally for design or to build Configurator tools for distribution. Built to automate "similar but different" consumer products, DriveWorks’ core focus is driving SOLIDWORKS parts, assemblies, and drawings as well as order-specific documentation like proposals, emails, quotes, and manufacturing data. 

DriveWorks Versions 

DriveWorksXpress is the entry-level version of DriveWorks available to everyone with a license of SOLIDWORKS.

DriveWorksXpress Design Automation Tool

Your DriveWorksXpress license can be obtained and activated through  

DriveWorks Solo adds additional functionality including:

  • Configuring color, material, and textures
  • Pattern instances
  • Driving advanced features like Hole Wizard, sheet metal, and weldments 
  • Automatically generating additional CAD file types (DXF, PDF, STEP, etc.)
  • Full control of File Naming and Save locations.
  • Advanced Drawing control, rule building, and form designing

DriveWorks Solo Design Automation Software

If you’re on the fence and want to test DriveWorks Solo, there is a 30 day free trial.

DriveWorks Pro is the advanced level of DriveWorks with robust functionality. Able to run as a standalone configurator or online, Pro allows engineering and internal sales teams as well as prospects to configure custom designs without the need for SOLIDWORKS licenses.

DriveWorks Pro Automation Software

Additional features include

  • The ability to connect to different business systems through database queries and Web API calls.
  • Testing modes and reporting 
  • PDM integration
  • Web deployment

If you are interested in DriveWorks or you’ve simply outgrown configuration functionality available within SOLIDWORKS, please contact us

Want to Learn More? 

MyDriveWorks: A New DriveWorks Community Platform

Do You CPQ? Configure, Price, and Quote with DriveWorks


About GoEngineer

GoEngineer delivers software, technology and expertise that enable companies to unlock design innovation and deliver better products faster. With more than 35 years' experience and tens of thousands of customers in high tech, medical, machine design, energy and other industries, GoEngineer provides best-in-class design solutions from SOLIDWORKS CAD, Stratasys 3D printing, Creaform & Artec 3D scanning, CAMWorks, PLM, and more

View all posts by GoEngineer