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solidworks-tags.jpg
“Oh man, Josh is doing a tip on one of those useless features in SolidWorks 2008! I have gaskets and pinions to engineer!! Who has time for some silly ‘smags’ or ‘tags’ or whatever! I’m going to YouTube and watch squirrels race.”

Hey, hey, hey! Hold back your fury and check this out. You can find things quicker if you start adding tags. What are tags? I’ll explain and show you two ways to add them quick so you can get back to your squirrel videos.

What the heck is a tag anyway?
A tag is just a keyword. It’s been popularized by a lot of websites (Flickr, del.icio.us, Gmail, etc.) that allow users to organize items using keywords that describe their attributes. The keyword acts as a virtual folder the item is put into so it can be easily located with a simple search. A tag in SolidWorks is used in much the same way. And although it doesn’t seem your items can be organized with a few words, you can easily create an anal-retentive structure that helps with all that organization stuff.

Why Tags can be useful
Generally, it just makes it easier to find what you’re looking for. You don’t need to add extra properties. Actually, that property already exist. Just add $PRPVIEW:”SW-Keywords” anywhere you want the ‘Tags’ to show up.

Tags are gonna be the most helpful to filter the FeatureManager. When you need to find all the items tagged ‘Steel’ you can type that in the search and those items show up, even though they may not have the word ‘Steel’ in their Part or Material description.

How Tags are usually added
If you look down in the bottom right corner of the SolidWorks Screen, you’ll see a little yellow icon swx-tag-icon.jpg that when clicked pops up a text entry box. It will stay up till you click the tag button again (kinda annoying) and you can drag it to a different location but it goes back to the default location the next time (also annoying).

Select anything. I mean anything, folders, faces, features, suppressed items, buried sketches, configurations, reference geometry, etc. Everything, except edges, vertices and the file name in the top of the FeatureManager. You can add tags to the file from the TaskPane File Explorer. Now having said that here’s…

How to quickly add Tags to a lot of SolidWorks documents
There’s two ways and neither requires you to have anything open.

  1. File Explorerswx-file-explorer.jpg
    From the TaskPane, select the File Explorer Tab. Select the first file, hold down the Shift Key and select the last file. Click the Tag icon if the Entry box isn’t open and add the tags you want, separated by semi-colons.
  2. Windows Explorer
    Tags are actually stored in the Keyword properties of the file. If you go to your files in Windows Explorer (Windows Key+E) and select the group of files, you can right click, select properties, go to the Summary tab, select advanced and add the tags to the Keywords Value.

Something extra kinda cool
Sometimes it’s nice to have some price info on your parts. Try using a range of $-$$$$$ (1 dollar sign to 5 dollar signs) to categorize cost associated with components. Now you can do a quick search based on that to see the range of cost. This can then be programmed into a spreadsheet to make list that categorizes those components based on cost.

Now to put some tags on this post so search engines can find it easier. 🙂 Do you use Tags?

Author

Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.