The Creative Inventor: Simplifying Content Center


Many users of Autodesk Inventor have used the Content Center feature with varying degrees of success. Some users complain of slow access times, others complain that certain categories contain way too many choices, making it difficult to find and select the correct component, while others need to add new custom content.

Assuming that your computer meets Autodesk standards for memory, video, and performance, these concerns can be addressed with success.

Improving access times

Understanding how Content Center works will help you to find ways to improve the access times. Content center consists of numerous databases, driven by Microsoft SQL. Content center is divided up into a number of standard databases. Typical databases include:

Inventor ANSI - Standard content conforming to ANSI standards
Inventor DIN - Metric standard content
Inventor Feature - Primitives and features similar to iFeatures
Inventor Other - Miscellaneous content
Inventor Parker - Parker Hannifin content libraries
Inventor Routed Systems - Content specific to Professional Routed Systems
Inventor Sheet Metal - Features specific to sheet-metal components

All Content Center libraries are configured and maintained in two areas, the ADMS Console and individual project files. ADMS Console determines which databases will be made available for configuration within the individual project file. The project file, in turn, determines which databases will be available within the current project.

ADMS console

ADMS console will list all installed Content Center databases. Quite often during installation, all databases will be installed. This may be done because various users require different standards and options. Detach all unused databases.

In ADMS Console, selecting an individual library using the right mouse button provides the following options:

Detach... - allows detaching of an individual database from ADMS. This action does not delete the database from the system.
Delete... - this action will delete the selected database from the system. The only way to restore a deleted database will be to reinstall the database from the DVD.
Export... - this option allows the exporting of an entire database for the purposes of transmitting the selected database to others.
Read Only - a check mark here indicates that the selected databases are read-only database and may not be modified. In order to add content or to the edit existing content, a Custom Content Center database must be created.
Edit Display Name - this option allows the editing of the display name shown in ADMS. This action does not rename the database; rather, it alters only the display name that is shown in the Configure Content Center dialog within Inventor Projects and Content Center editor.
Defragment Library - this function will defragment the selected database. This option should only be used when defragmentation is recommended in the ADMS right-hand panel. Defragmentation will often improve access times on a heavily used database.

Project file configuration

Performance can be improved by creating separate project files for different design workflows. The project file may be identical to other project files (in fact, it is recommended to use the single project file approach), except in the area of configured Content Center libraries. Reducing the number of configured libraries will improve the load times when Content Center is used.

To configure the Project for Content Center, select the icon in the lower right corner of the Projects dialog box. You will then need to add desired databases into the project.

Custom Content Center databases

If you have certain components that are used often, you may want to consider creating a custom Content Center database and copy standard content from the other supply databases into your custom database. In fact, you may even choose to detach the original standard database once you have created your own customized content center.

A custom Content Center database will also be the repository for any custom content that you may create from scratch. You may create multiple custom databases for use in various situations. More information on creating your own custom content is available here.

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