For years now SOLIDWORKS Inspection Standalone could only import PDF, Tiff and Inspection Project files.  Well, this is no longer the case with Inspection 2018.  With 2018 we now have a new tool called the Smart Extract.

In the past, ballooning a PDF drawing within the Standalone version of Inspection was a huge timesaving’s over the manual process but still wasn’t nearly as big as that of the SOLIDWORKS Add-in.  Running Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a tedious process that takes time to accomplish but with the Smart Extract tool we can eliminate this process.  The Smart Extract tool allows you to just select on the characteristic in order to populate the balloon.  This makes ballooning a print so much easier than the OCR process we are familiar with.  In the screenshot below you can see how the smart extract tool highlights the entire characteristic.

SOLIDWORKS Smart Extract Image Example

To enable the tool, you just right click in the graphics area and select on Smart Extract.  To utilize this tool, you can either select every single characteristic or box select a group.  Either will automatically balloon the characteristic as if you were to run OCR on each.  Box selecting over a group of characteristics makes this process so easy!

SOLIDWORKS Smart Extract Example Image #2

Now you must be asking what the catch is.  Well, the Smart Extract tool only works with PDFs generated from CATIA V5 or Solid Edge, or drawings from CATIA or AutoCAD.  An AutoCAD drawing format we know is .DWG which is a very common drawing format.  A DWG file will most likely be the most common form of utilizing this new tool.  The only potential issue with this is asking your vendor/customer for a DWG instead of a PDF like in the past.  If they have CATIA or Solid Edge then you could still ask for a PDF but a DWG is going to be the most common.  In my example I am using a DWG file.

In the past we have mentioned that if you are able to get a SOLIDWORKS drawing then the time savings is huge for ballooning.  We all know that it can be hard to come by or not allowed.  Being that a DWG is more of a “common ground” or “neutral” drawing file format then it should be easier to get your hands on than a SOLIDWORKS drawing.  It could save hours on top of what the Standalone Inspection already saves.

This should be much easier of a request than a SOLIDWORKS drawing, being that every CAD package can export to DWG.  Check it out for yourself and see how amazing this new feature is.


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