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Here on the left, you see the browser. The browser is essentially a lens into the items that make up what you see on the screen, and one of the ways you can interact with components you're working on. The browser is very contact-sensitive, meaning it will change based on the environment you're in. Here at the top of the browser, you can see that I'm looking at engine.iam, or engine assembly. And in the browser, you see things like relationships, representations, parts, and even sub-assemblies that have been included into this assembly.
If I hover over anything in the browser, if it's visible within the graphics window, it'll highlight so that it's easily found. The same is true if I select Items. Selecting the Engine Block, for example, highlights it in the graphics window. The reverse is true as well, by selecting on something like this heat sink, you'll see that the heat sink highlights in the browser. If I click the plus symbol next to the heat sink, you'll see that, I can see the components that are important to this part within the assembly.
For example, these mate constraints and these insert constraints. These are the rules that teach this part how to be positioned within this assembly. As I mentioned before, the browser is very context sensitive. Let me show you what I mean. You've seen here in the browser for the assembly, we see parts and assemblies and things like that. If I were to right-click on this heat sink and click Open, you'll see the browser update. I'm now in the part environment. You can tell because I'm look at heatsink.ipt or par file And the browser should work in a very similar fashion.
When I select the heatsink part, the whole part highlights in the graphics window. If I hover over an extrusion, just that component highlights. Expanding those, you can see the sketches that were used to create some of these components. The last item I want to mention about the browser is this end of part icon down at the bottom. It's something I want to make sure every new user understands because it allows you to learn from other people's experiences. What I mean is, by clicking on and dragging the end of part icon to the top of the browser, just above the first extrusion.
You'll notice that everything in the graphics window has disappeared. In the browser, you can see all the features, still. And if I hover over 'em, they do highlight, even thought they're not visible. And the fact that they're grayed out means that they're suppressed, temporarily. By bringing the End of Part icon to the top of the browser tree, we've essentially gone back in time, to before this part started to be created. You can then click on the End of Part icon and drag it down the tree, step by step, to see how this model was created by someone else.
Me in this case. I use this still today to learn how other people are building their models, because you have to always remember that there's multiple ways to create a single gig of art. Even creating a rectangle or a cube like the very first one that was created in this model. Could be done by drawing a rectangle and extruding it up, or drawing a rectangle on the side and extruding it a depth. So there's several different ways to create many different components.
The End of Part icon is a great way to use the browser to learn how to use Inventor more efficiently.
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