GrabCAD, Make This Happen.xls

You may have read my post titled “What I would change about GrabCAD Partner Spaces“. Since then, I’ve been fiddling around with Workbench some and created a folder to store documentation. After clicking on an Excel document that I uploaded I see this message, and oh how disappointing. 🙁     …yes the emoticon was necessary.

preview not supported

So what should happen when you click on a Office document? (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Etc) A live editable view where changes can be made without leaving GrabCAD Workbench is the ideal scenario.

Maybe something similar to an embedded SkyDrive document…

A Google Docs version is a little clunky with what I can do on this blog but you get the idea…

[gview file=”” save=”0″]


There’s also plenty of other 3rd party tools for being able to embed and edit Office documents in a web page. A plethora of options for GrabCAD to be able to provide real-time editing of Office documents from directly within Workbench and it’s a shame that we can’t even preview the file types yet. I’m sure this is only a matter of time before features like this are added.

Additionally, the mobile Workbench app should first of all allow you to view not just renderings and 3D models as it does now but any file type. This would also let you open these files in other mobile apps such as Documents To Go or Office 365 Mobile.



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CAD Forums?

Just a quick poll of my readers. How many of you still use CAD forums? Which ones do you still visit often? Please respond to the poll below and add a comment or find me on Twitter or Facebook if you have any additional comments. Thanks all.

(you can vote for up to two of your favorites)

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What I would change about GrabCAD Partner Spaces

I’ve been playing around with GrabCAD Workbench Partner Spaces. If you’re not familiar with how they work you can read up on them here.

A Partner Space is a folder in your Workbench project that is used to show a selection of files to a Partner. Partners can view files in the Partner Space, but cannot see any of the other files in the project. This allows you and your collaborators to work privately on a project and deliver files when they are ready.

So basically, you can copy a file from your project folder into a partner folder (and think of partners as a supplier, machine shop, customer, etc). The copy isn’t really a copy, it maintains the link back to the original so changes stay in sync. Partner Spaces allow you to add comments to the file for your partner to see. This allows for some level of collaboration between you and your partner.

After using Partner Spaces for awhile, I came up with a list of things that I would change if I could wave my magic user interface wand. In reality, I know GrabCAD is very good at reading blogs like mine and taking suggestions to heart… so I’m waving away.

Here’s my list in no particular order:

    • Folder structure: A minor annoyance, but I would indent the sub-folder partner spaces below the parent Partner Space folder.
    • FolderStructure
    • Partner Space folder intelligence: When you create a Partner Space, it’s just a folder name. It would be nice to be able to assign contact information or any other pertinent information to keep track of the partner. A project with a lot of partners can get unwieldy.
    • File attachments: Yes you can add parts and drawings, but what about material specifications, or other required documents needed to properly fabricate or document the design? It would be nice to be able to attach these type documents in a nice, clean way where they don’t clutter up your partner space folder.
    • Quantity: Adding a model is great, but how many are you ordering? 1 or 1,000? Why not tell them right in the interface. Yes you can do with with a comment, but how awkward. This might not work for every space… see next item below.
    • Type of Partner: Is the space for a supplier or a customer? The requirements for both may be totally different.
    • Disable download: This should be an option.

If things change or I think of more, I’ll add some comments to this post.

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“Swift Prints” update coming soon

I’ve been working feverishly at getting the latest update to “Swift Prints” ready. If you aren’t familiar with Swift Prints, it allows you to create templates for common printer configurations that you can quickly access later for one click printing of Inventor drawings.

Here’s a few features new in the latest update:

  • A few bugs squashed and code optimized.
  • Ability to print full size (1:1).
  • New watermark capability beyond adding the date printed. This works by adding text to a custom iProperty field called “watermark”. You can customize the location and appearance as you wish in your drawing, Swift Prints will enter the text on your print.
  • Added Swift Prints to the drawing quick access toolbar by default… and it stays there unless you remove it.
  • Added Swift Prints to the drawing ribbon. All other add-ins will be utilizing this ribbon tab.


  • Lastly, a demo version will be available for free to everyone to try out Swift Prints before you purchase.


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