Inventor Best Practice – iProperties

This weeks Inventor Best Practice is about iProperties. Inventor iProperties are the little bits of information that make life easy, and quick when you are documenting your design. According to Autodesk’s help pages you can:

Use iProperties to track and manage files, create reports, and automatically update assembly bills of materials, drawing parts lists, title blocks, and other information.

I’m going to highlight a few ways that you can use iProperties to improve the quality and consistency of your drawings while reducing the time required.

This post was originally started in nearly a year ago, but I decided to put the post on hold to re-examine the work flow I was proposing. After much trial and error, I decided to go back to basics to explore more of how Inventor uses iProperties by default.

To find the iProperties for a file in Inventor you can use the Home Menu (the Big I) then select iProperties, or you right click on any part name in the browser bar, the select iProperties from menu. The right click method will work with an Assembly, Part, or Drawing open, so long as you click on the file name in the browser. I prefer to right click, it’s faster and lets me immediately jump to any part in the assembly. This opens the iProperties window, to the General tab.

iProperties General Tab

This tab shows all the info you would normally see in Windows Explorer for most any file – filename, location, size, etc. All interesting to note, but not all that useful. The practical stuff is on the other tabs.

The Summary tab contains some useful data for reducing your design documentation time. As you can see in the image below, I have already completed the properties values following the Tab:iProperty schema. This will let us examine more closely exactly which iProperty is used where in the default template files.

iProperties Summary Tab

Taking a few minutes to complete each of these iProperties will save you time later. The list below tells you a bit about each iProperty and how it affects the default ANSI title block. This list is compiled from my own findings and Inventor’s own Help Information..

  • Title – The drawing title – TITLE box – single line with no work wrap.
  • Subject – Defines a Subject for the file – Not used
  • Author – File creator – DRAWN box – overridden by Application Options/General/User name.
  • Manager – Defines a Manager for the project – Not Used
  • Company – Company – Unlabeled company field – centered single line no word wrap
  • Category – Specifies a catagory for the file – Not Used
  • Keywords – Defines Keywords for a file – Not Used
  • Comments – Defines Comments for a file – Not Used

Overall not very useful – here is how I use these values. First and foremost please understand that I do not use the default ANSI title block. I have created a custom title block for each client. However, the iProperty usage is common to all.

  • Title – The end user or ultimate customer of the design if know – otherwise blank
  • Subject – The project’s common name
  • Author – that’s me of course
  • Manager – Name of the project contact
  • Company – My client’s company name
  • Category – Job Number/Project Number – the number associated with the project
  • Keywords – Classification of equipment designed – fixture, end effector, bench, etc
  • Comments – Unused

I complete all of this information in my template file before I start a single part. It takes about a minute or perhaps two to gather and enter this information, but it is then carried forward into every part created with that file. I complete the same information in an assembly file for use as a template as well. Since most clients are repeat customers, the savings is even greater since it takes less time to change these values before starting the next project.

In the next part of this series I’ll cover the Project tab, and how I make it work!