A Closer Look at Autodesk Inventor Instance Properties

March 27, 2022 Jennifer MacMillan

As I prepare for the upcoming release of Autodesk Inventor, I went back to my Top 5 Inventor 2022 Enhancements blog post from last year to see how they stacked up after using Inventor 2022 for the last year.

  • Number 1 – Expanded Properties panel use in more features. Yes! Still happy with this.
  • Number 2 – Drawing Template Sheet Formats. I didn’t actually use this as much as I thought I might. I am guessing that the main reason was simply habit of never having it before and just jumping past the selection when I created a drawing.
  • Number 3 – I still agree Frame Generator tools are now easier to use.
  • Number 4 – Similar to drawing template sheet formats, I didn’t use the measure tool in the drawing environment, likely because I just kept forgetting it was there and didn’t see a need to use it.
  • Number 5 – I added “Dark Theme” to my list last year so that you would know it is now there. I personally use the Presentation Environment for ease of taking screen captures, but I hope for those that like the dark theme that they made the switch.

What I realized when I reviewed this list was that I missed two bigger enhancements, these being model states and instance properties. If you have been following my webcasts and AU classes, I have certainly covered model states. Definitely check them out! But I never did cover instance properties. So... here you go! This was a very nice and useful enhancement last year that I hope you had the chance to check out.

What are instance properties?

In cases where the same component is used multiple times in an assembly or where instance-specific assembly properties are needed, you can incorporate the use of instance properties. This enables you to assign unique property data to each component for display in the BOM or for use in a parts list, balloons, leadered text, or sketched symbols. Instance properties are assigned and are subsequently stored in the assembly file.

How do I create instance properties?

  1. With the assembly active, right-click on a component name in the Model browser and click Instance Properties. The Instance Properties dialog box opens.
  2. Enter a name for the new instance property.
  3. Select a type from the Type drop-down list. The options include Text, Date, Number, and Yes or No.
  4. Enter a value for the new instance property.
  • For text properties, you can enter a text string (alphanumeric).
  • For date properties, you can enable the current date or select from a calendar.
  • For number properties, you can only enter numbers.
  • For yes or no properties, you can select an option from the drop-down list to assign the yes or no value.
  1. Click Add. You can hover over the component icon and display the value, as shown below.
  • Models with instance properties are identified with a dot at the end of their name in the Model browser and with blue highlight in the Bill of Materials dialog box, as shown below.
  • You can use the Model browser search to locate components with specific instance property values.

How do I display instance properties in the BOM?

  1. In the Bill of Materials dialog box, click   (Add custom iProperty columns).
  2. Select the <click to add iProperty column> row and enter the instance property name.
  3. In the Data Type drop-down list, select the type of instance property (e.g., Text, Date, Number, and Yes or No).
  4. Click OK.

Once the column is added, each instance property is listed in the Model Data tab, as shown below.

By default, the Structured and Parts Only views of the BOM merge rows of the same component. If unique instance properties are assigned to the merged components, the cell will read as *Varies*, as shown below.

To display all the values for each component, you must disable the merging of rows in each view. Click Part Number Row Merge Settings, clear the Merge Instance Rows option, and click OK to individually list each component and their instance property value.

How do I modify instance property values?

  • In the Model browser, right-click on the component name and select Instance Properties. In the Instance Properties dialog box, select the property, then at the top of the dialog box, enter a new value and click Modify.
  • In the Bill of Materials dialog box, double-click on the instance property cell and enter a new value.

I hope that this helps explain it. ASCENT covers this in our Introduction to Solid Modeling guide in the Assembly Bill of Materials chapter.

About the Author

Jennifer MacMillan

Manager – Learning Content Development<br><br>Trained in Instructional Design, Jennifer uses her skills to develop instructor-led and web-based training products as well as knowledge profiling tools. Jennifer has achieved the Autodesk Certified Professional certification for Inventor and is also recognized as an Autodesk Certified Instructor (ACI). She enjoys teaching the training courses that she authors and is also very skilled in providing technical support to end-users. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree as well as a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Dalhousie University.

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