Pack and Go: Tips and Tricks

This article will discuss the basics, and some tips and tricks you can use for Pack and Go.

The Basics - How to use Pack and Go

There are two methods of starting up Pack and Go (which I will refer to as "PnG"). You can go into SOLIDWORKS, and open up your file that you want to send to someone. Under File, there is Pack and Go.

The other method is from Windows File Explorer. Right click on any SOLIDWORKS 3D File Type (.sldasm/prt/drw). Hover over SOLIDWORKS, and select "Pack and Go...". On Windows 11 PCs, you may need to select "Show more options" to see this option.

There are some details here on the differences of these two methods. For now I'm going to continue discussing how to start Pack and Go, and then I'll get into some common differences and potential issues that may occur later on in this guide.

Now that you have Pack and Go started up, you should be seeing all the files that comprise that file (whether an assembly, or drawing), and you have some options you can perform here. Your screen should look like this.

The first thing you want to choose is how you want to save the file.

  1. Save to Folder
  2. Save to Zip file

We recommend always saving to a Zip. You can save to a folder, but it's common that the references to do not update properly, and you might wind up with duplicate files all over the place. A nice feature of utilizing the Zip, is that you freeze the assembly and it's components in time. This is a great method to back up any files, or create checkpoints in your design. If you need to go back after messing something up with the design, you can re-extract the Zip to get back to the last saved configuration when you zipped the file in the first place.

There are other settings here, some of which are fairly straightforward. The ones that are pretty self explanatory are:

  1. Include Drawings - Includes any drawings that the parts may have.
  2. Include Simulation results - Will include any completed Simulation results
  3. Include Toolbox components - This setting will save all screws/hardware that you may have utilized from your own Toolbox. You can then send the full package with the hardware included. By default, Toolbox hardware is not included in a PnG.

New in 2024, is the possibility to Save to a previous version of SOLIDWORKS. At the current moment, it's only possible to save to a maximum of two previous versions (i.e., 2024 files can be saved as 2022). It is not planned to be able to "Daisy-Chain" files back to even further versions. i.e. 2026 > 2024 > 2022., the file will get to 2024 and will not be able to go back any further. This may be something changed in the future though.

Moving on from the options at the top, the bottom has some options as well.

You can add a Prefix or Suffix to all files. This can be used, and is commonly used to create a revision scheme.

If you choose a Zip, the option for Email after packaging can be enabled. This just automatically boots up your default email software, and attaches the zip automatically.

Then are the folder structure options:

Most commonly users leave this at "Flatten to single folder".  To explain the other options, you need to have a specific folder layout. If you have the assembly in a different folder than the parts, utilizing "Keep full folder structure" will maintain exactly how the folders lay out inside of file explorer. Flattening to minimal folders, will keep files you have isolated in other folders (i.e., a folder for a subassembly would stay separated, and not merged with all the parts). Unfortunately, the concept of these options are a bit difficult to explain via text and screenshots. If you want to try the other options, set up an assembly and save some files in different folders, and try it out!

Advanced Techniques, Tips and Tricks

Now we are going to get into some more technical usages; things you might not know besides the basics of Pack and Go.

Not including specific files

Proprietary info? You can uncheck any files you don't want included!

Renaming individual files

Did you know you could do this? You can double click in the "New Filename" box to rename the files once they save. If you have one or two files that need to be changed; this can be an incredibly useful tool to mass-rename files at once without breaking references! There are other methods to do this, but this is just highlighting the PnG method of doing it.

Renaming several files at once

This was a trick we recommended to a customer that wanted to change the entire project's name. In the project I've been using for this whole guide, has been PROJ-D2016. However, I want to scale all the numbers up to PROJ-F-202X. I've reset all the names from the above images to their defaults for clarity.

Press the Select/Replace button.

There are several options here which we will not be going into today: you can search for multiple criteria. Useful to confirm if a specific file is located in this PnG. However, you can utilize this functionality to replace items, or even uncheck items you do not want included. Be careful, this can break references in the file.

Press Replace All. This will rename all instances of this string of characters in the search box to what you put in the Replace box. It will not affect any other text in the New Filename.

Stay tuned for another guide that will be published soon on common issues with Pack and Go! If you are currently having an issue with PnG and are unable to resolve it with this guide, please place a case on our website.