Join John Helfen for an in-depth discussion in this video Project file introduction, part of Autodesk Inventor 2018 Essential Training.
- [Voiceover] We're now ready to look at what project files are. Project files are Inventor's way of organizing files that you're gonna create in the system. They're essentially just folders on the hard drive that help Inventor understand where files are placed. Right now on the dashboard, in the Project section, you can see the four projects we have created, and you can see that the Inventor Essentials course project file is active, indicated by this green check mark. Now, from within this dashboard, you have the ability to look at other projects by left-clicking on any of those items, which will update the right-hand side to show you information, or you can click on the right side of that, on the check box, to change the active project.
The one thing you can't do is create projects or delete projects from here. The projects represented here are just a view into the overall project system. To create a project, you need to go to the Getting Started tab under the Launch panel and select the Projects command. This is gonna bring up the Projects dialog box, which, not surprisingly, includes all the information that is surfaced through the dashboard. You see the list of the projects we have in the top, along with their locations on the hard drive, and down below, you see the details about the project, including the project type, whether or not other project files are included, or whether or not Frequently Used Subfolders have been set up.
That's all information that's shown on the dashboard as well. If we expand the plus symbol next to the Frequently Used Subfolders, you'll see a list of all the projects that make up this course or all the folders that hold the exercise files for this course. Lemme show you real quickly where these are presented in the product itself other than just the dashboard. If you close that dialog box and go to the Open button, you get the Open dialog box, and here's where you can see the project files affecting Inventor.
Down at the bottom under Project File, you can see Inventor Essentials dot I-P-J is active. Up in the left-hand corner, you can see the Frequently Used Subfolders that we were just looking at. Those come in handy when you've navigated into a nested folder. Here we're in oh-two-oh-three, and we wanna jump to, say, something in the oh-four chapter. We can simply double-click on that here in the Open dialog box and quickly navigate to that folder. If you click on the Workspace option, it returns you to the root folder of the project, in this case the Exercise Files folder.
I'm gonna go ahead and cancel this dialog box, and let's look at the folder structure on the hard drive for a moment. Now on our desktop, we have the Exercise Files folder, and you can see all of the folders that hold the exercise files for the course. Down at the bottom, you can actually see the project file dot I-P-J file that was created that includes all the information around these files. There's one other place that Inventor stores files related to the project, and that, you can see from the Application menu in Inventor, the I in the upper left-hand corner, and then click Options.
By default, you'll probably be on this General tab. Go ahead and click the File tab, and here you can find where Inventor stores all the configuration information around how files are stored in Inventor. For example, where the default templates are, where the Content Center files are, and in this case, where the Project folder is. Now you'll look, and you'll see by default, this setting is telling Inventor to go to the User Profile, to the Documents folder, to the Inventor folder, and store project files there, but we just saw that the project file was created in the same folder as the exercise file, so let's go look at this folder and see what it contains.
I'm gonna switch back over to Windows Explorer. I'm gonna go to my Documents folder and to my Inventor folder, and you can see here that we have this Content Center files along with shortcuts to the projects. So this Inventor Essentials dot I-P-J file is really just a shortcut that points over to this desktop file here in the Inventor Exercise folder. The reason for this is you may have files either on your local drive, you may have files on a network, but in order for inventor to see all those project files, it needs to place all of these shortcuts in a single, centralized location, and in this case, it's here in this Application Options, this Documents, Inventor.
I typically change this so that I can save my project files, my shortcuts, and all of my actual Inventor files in a location where I know they're gonna be backed up. I typically create a C colon backslash File Storage slash Inventor Projects, and then I store all of my files for projects all in that one location. That way they're nice and centralized, and they can easily be backed up. In the real world, that's not always how things work, so Inventor has this setting so that you can adjust where those items are.
It's important to know about those, even though you might not have to change them right out of the gate. It's highly recommended that as you begin, if you're in a business environment or a school environment, that you talk to your teacher or CADD manager or your colleagues to make sure you have a common understanding of how and where files are gonna be stored for Autodesk Inventor.
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