Why Can't I Just Rename the File?

In a SOLIDWORKS PDM Environment, you can't just rename files. This is the specific process you must follow to make sure things stay in order.

Renaming Files in the Feature Manager in a PDM Environment.

It happens all the time, during the development process we name files based upon their function like bracket, plate or handle. Then as the design progresses closer to manufacturing release, you often want to rename the files to a corporate part number. That process is cumbersome without PDM.

We will start by talking about what options must be set in both SOLIDWORKS and PDM to allow this to work.

In SOLIDWORKS, navigate to Tools> Options> System Options> Feature Manager and turn on “Allow component files to be renamed from FeatureManager tree.”

In the PDM Administration tool, you will need to have permissions to “Add or rename file” for the workflow state and the folder the file resides in.

PDM Administration tool

Once complete, you will have all the permissions necessary to make a name change in the FeatureManager, but we will still have to follow the rules of using PDM. With those rules in place, you must check out the component that requires a name change and the assembly that is referencing it.


To change the name, use a windows slow click on the file name in the FeatureManager. What is a slow click you ask? The double-click time is set in the mouse control panel with a slider for slow or fast. If your two clicks are within a slider setting of each other, they will be treated as a double click. If they occur outside that range, then they are treated as two clicks. And clicking twice on a file name in the FeatureManager triggers a rename. I usually say click and wait two seconds, then click again. Does F2 work here? Might be an alternative to mention. RMB on part in FMt and select “Rename Part” as an option also.

rename part

Checking the assembly in will show a new version of the part and assembly will be created.


The name change is captured and reflected in the history of the file in PDM. Renaming files has never been easier using the new tools in 2016.

name change