BOM Tips and Tricks

BOMs and Balloons Tips and Tricks

Detailing a drawing for complex can sometimes be a laborious and time-consuming task for engineers. Thankfully adding a BOM to a SOLIDWORKS drawing is a quick and simple task. The bill of materials shows all of the information it should and updates automatically when it needs to. Perfect.

SOLIDWORKS now has additional capability to further enhance usability. These tips will change the way you work.

SOLIDWORKS BOM Component Preview

Users have been able to view the assembly structure of a bill of materials for a few years but not many know it. A BOM can be expanded to view file types, illustrated by icons. If there are balloons in the drawing, an additional column shows whether each item is ballooned or not. This can be useful if you have large assemblies that need every component to be ballooned.

If the mouse is hovered over an item, a thumbnail preview is shown for each item.


In 2019 a new feature was included so that users now have the option to include those thumbnail previews when exporting to Excel. Right-clicking on a BOM will bring up the ‘Save As’ dialog box, which now includes the ‘Include Thumbnail’ option.

BOM Tips and Tricks

BOM Tips and Tricks


Split Balloons

Item balloons work hand in hand with BOMs so a user can get as much information from a drawing as possible. A Circular Split Line balloon with allow the user to insert data in the bottom half of the balloons. The component’s item number is then displayed in the top half. Data for the bottom half can include quantity values or custom properties.

BOM Tips and Tricks      BOM Tips and Tricks


Custom Information and Balloons

In some cases, a user may want to show additional information relating to a part or assembly with a balloon. A user can link a property to a note that can in turn be linked to a balloon. Grouping a note with a balloon means they would move positions together if the balloon moved around.


If you would like to find out more about any of the SOLIDWORKS products, give us a call on 01244 289350 or 01443 719191