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SOLIDWORKS API Tips and Tricks: How to Use the SOLIDWORKS Document Manager, PDM Professional and Excel APIs to Enhance Your Macros



Introduction




SolidWorks is a powerful CAD software that allows you to design complex 3D models for various applications. However, sometimes you may want to automate or customize some aspects of your design process, such as creating standard parts or features, applying specific settings or configurations, generating reports or drawings, etc. This is where SolidWorks API comes in handy.




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SolidWorks API stands for Application Programming Interface, which is a set of tools and functions that allow you to interact with SolidWorks programmatically. You can use SolidWorks API to write code that can perform almost any series of actions that you can do manually in SolidWorks. By using SolidWorks API, you can save time, reduce errors, increase productivity and enhance your creativity.


In this article, you will learn how to use SolidWorks API to automate and customize SolidWorks. You will learn the basics of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), which is the programming language used for SolidWorks macros. You will also learn how to use the macro recorder, the macro editor and the object browser to create and modify macros. You will then learn how to access and manipulate different objects in SolidWorks, such as documents, features, sketches, etc. using their properties and methods. You will also learn how to use the document manager API and the PDM Professional API to work with files without opening them in SolidWorks or in a PDM vault. Finally, you will learn how to create advanced macros that can create parts, features, assemblies, mates, drawings and annotations programmatically. You will also learn how to batch process files, create user forms and create add-ins using SolidWorks API.


To follow this article, you will need SolidWorks 2021 or later, Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA) 2017 or later, and some basic knowledge of SolidWorks and Visual Basic programming. If you are new to SolidWorks or Visual Basic, you may want to check out some of the resources listed at the end of this article.


Are you ready to unleash the power of SolidWorks API? Let's get started!


Getting started with SolidWorks API




Recording macros




One of the easiest ways to get started with SolidWorks API is to use the macro recorder. The macro recorder is a tool that allows you to capture your actions in SolidWorks and generate VBA code that can reproduce them. The macro recorder is useful for learning the syntax and structure of SolidWorks API code, as well as for creating simple macros that can automate repetitive tasks.


To use the macro recorder, follow these steps:


  • Open SolidWorks and create a new part document.



  • Go to Tools > Macro > Record or click the Record Macro button on the Macro toolbar.



  • A dialog box will appear asking you to specify a name and a location for your macro file. You can accept the default values or change them as you wish.



  • Click Save to start recording your actions.



  • Perform some actions in SolidWorks that you want to record, such as creating a sketch, adding dimensions, creating a feature, etc.



  • When you are done, go to Tools > Macro > Stop or click the Stop Macro button on the Macro toolbar.



  • Your macro file will be saved in the specified location with a .swp extension.



For example, let's record a simple macro that creates a rectangular sketch on the front plane and extrudes it by 10 mm. Here are the steps:


  • Open SolidWorks and create a new part document.



  • Go to Tools > Macro > Record or click the Record Macro button on the Macro toolbar.



  • A dialog box will appear asking you to specify a name and a location for your macro file. Enter "RectangleExtrude" as the name and choose a folder where you want to save your macro file.



  • Click Save to start recording your actions.



  • Select the front plane in the feature manager tree and click Sketch on the Sketch toolbar.



  • Select Rectangle on the Sketch toolbar and draw a rectangle on the sketch plane.



  • Select Smart Dimension on the Sketch toolbar and add dimensions of 100 mm for both sides of the rectangle.



  • Click Exit Sketch on the Sketch toolbar or press Ctrl + Q to exit the sketch mode.



  • Select Extruded Boss/Base on the Features toolbar and enter 10 mm for the depth in the PropertyManager.



  • Click OK to create the extruded feature.



  • Go to Tools > Macro > Stop or click the Stop Macro button on the Macro toolbar.



  • Your macro file will be saved in the specified location with a .swp extension.



Editing macros




Now that you have recorded your first macro, you may want to edit it to make some changes or improvements. For example, you may want to add some comments, variables or error handling to your code. To edit your macro, you need to use the macro editor. The macro editor is a tool that allows you to view and modify the VBA code of your macro. The macro editor also provides some useful features to help you write and debug your code, such as the object browser, the help file and the IntelliSense feature.


To use the macro editor, follow these steps:


  • Open SolidWorks and go to Tools > Macro > Edit or click the Edit Macro button on the Macro toolbar.



  • A dialog box will appear asking you to select a macro file to edit. Browse to the folder where you saved your macro file and select it.



  • The macro editor window will open, showing the VBA code of your macro. You can edit the code as you wish using the features of the macro editor.



  • When you are done editing your code, you can save your changes by clicking File > Save or pressing Ctrl + S.



  • You can close the macro editor window by clicking File > Close or pressing Alt + F4.



For example, let's edit the macro that we recorded earlier to create a rectangular sketch and extrude it by 10 mm. Here are some of the changes that we can make:


  • Add some comments to explain what each line of code does. Comments are lines that start with an apostrophe (') and are ignored by the compiler. They are useful for documenting your code and making it easier to understand.



  • Add some variables to store the values of the dimensions and the depth of the extrude. Variables are names that represent data that can change during the execution of your code. They are useful for making your code more flexible and reusable.



  • Add some error handling to check if any errors occur during the execution of your code. Error handling is a technique that allows you to handle unexpected situations that may cause your code to fail, such as invalid inputs, missing references, etc. It is useful for making your code more robust and user-friendly.



Here is how our edited macro looks like:


```vba ' This macro creates a rectangular sketch on the front plane and extrudes it by 10 mm ' Declare variables Dim swApp As SldWorks.SldWorks ' Variable for SolidWorks application object Dim swModel As SldWorks.ModelDoc2 ' Variable for SolidWorks document object Dim swSketchMgr As SldWorks.SketchManager ' Variable for SolidWorks sketch manager object Dim swFeatMgr As SldWorks.FeatureManager ' Variable for SolidWorks feature manager object Dim swSketchSeg As SldWorks.SketchSegment ' Variable for SolidWorks sketch segment object Dim swFeat As SldWorks.Feature ' Variable for SolidWorks feature object Dim boolstatus As Boolean ' Variable for boolean status Dim longstatus As Long ' Variable for long status Dim longwarnings As Long ' Variable for long warnings Dim width As Double ' Variable for width dimension Dim height As Double ' Variable for height dimension Dim depth As Double ' Variable for depth dimension ' Assign values to variables width = 0.1 ' Width in meters height = 0.1 ' Height in meters depth = 0.01 ' Depth in meters ' Get SolidWorks application object Set swApp = Application.SldWorks ' Create a new part document Set swModel = swApp.NewDocument("C:\ProgramData\SolidWorks\SOLIDWORKS 2021\templates\Part.prtdot", 0, 0, 0) ' Get sketch manager object Set swSketchMgr = swModel.SketchManager ' Select front plane boolstatus = swModel.Extension.SelectByID2("Front Plane", "PLANE", 0, 0, 0, False, 0, Nothing, 0) ' Create a new sketch swSketchMgr.InsertSketch True ' Create a rectangle on the sketch plane Set swSketchSeg = swSketchMgr.CreateCenterRectangle(0#, 0#, 0#, width / 2, height / 2, 0#) ' Add dimensions to the rectangle boolstatus = swModel.AddDimension2(0#, -height / 2 - 0.01, 0#) boolstatus = swModel.AddDimension2(width / 2 + 0.01, 0#, 0#) ' Exit sketch mode swSketchMgr.InsertSketch True ' Get feature manager object Set swFeatMgr = swModel.FeatureManager ' Create an extruded feature Set swFeat = swFeatMgr.FeatureExtrusion2(True, False, False, 0, 0, depth, 0, False, False, False, False, 0, 0, False, False, False, False, True, True, True, 0, 0, False) ' Check for errors If swFeat Is Nothing Then ' If the feature is not created MsgBox "Error: Failed to create extruded feature." ' Display an error message Exit Sub ' Exit the macro End If ' Display a success message MsgBox "Macro completed successfully." ``` 71b2f0854b


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