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Pro/Engineer   May 2001   Tip-of-the-Month

Tricks to Reordering
(Even when Pro/E doesn't want to ...)

On many occasions I have tried to reorder features in a model or components / features in an assembly, which I knew really could be reordered, but Pro/E just wouldn't do it.  If you ever find yourself in that situation, here are a few tricks to try.  Not all the tricks work every time, but usually one of the tricks will get the job done.

1. First make sure there are no parent/child relationships for the features you would like to reorder.

  • A dependent feature cannot be reordered prior to its parent.  That is if Draft id 23593 references Protrusion id 21817, (see Figure 1) then the protrusion must always be before the draft.  A message like this:

    is a good indication that a parent immediately precedes the selected feature.
  • May 2001 Fig.1-1
    May 2001 Fig.1-2
    May 2001 Fig.1-3
    Figure 1

  • To check dependency, use the top menus for Info > Feature ... and select a feature -- or use the Right Mouse Button in the Model Tree as shown in Figure 1.

    The lines of interest in the information pop-up window are "Parents" and "Children".  See Figure 2 below for an example.

  • Note on Dependency:  A feature is a child (has dependence) when it references something from a previous feature - something like a surface or an edge.  You can never put a child in front of (previous to) any of its parent(s).
    -- Actually you can put parts that are dependent on each other in front of each other in an assembly, but you will get circular reference errors, and a file like - assembly.crc.

    Figure 2

  • Check the regeneration for messages for warnings like this:

    If warnings appear, you may have more luck if you correct the geometry before reordering.

  • Messages like these indicate where Pro/E thinks the selected features can be reordered.

    Check the message window by scrolling up because these messages often scroll right past without notice.

2.  If you have a set of features you are trying to reorder, try reordering one or a few at a time.  For some reason, this works pretty well.  If you get to a feature that won't reorder, examine the information in Step 1 carefully and see if there is anything that would keep it from reordering.
May 2001 Fig.3
Figure 3

3.  Try to suppress the features between the feature(s) you want to move and the place you would like to reorder them to.  For example if you would like to reorder features 30 - 36 after feature 18 (before feature 19), try to suppress features 19 - 29.  If the suppress is successful, the features can be reordered and you just need to find the right trick to do it.

  • If while trying to suppress the earlier features the Trim Child menu comes up (Figure 3), then a parent/child relationship exists.  To be sure it is not with the features you are trying to reorder, use Quit, then try suppressing again starting from the bottom up (feature 29, then 28, etc.)  If the Trim Child menu appears again, there is a parent/child relationship you need to resolve before the reorder will occur.

4.  With the features suppressed as suggested in step 3 above, enter insert mode selecting feature 18 in the example above.  Make a datum plane randomly anywhere in the model (to be deleted after the reorder is complete), then Resume > Last Set to restore the features suppressed while going into insert mode. 

Note:  from the example above, the features that used to be 19 - 29 will still be suppressed. 

Now select features that used to be 30 - 36 and try to reorder them before the new datum plane you just created.  If successful, delete the datum plane and resume the appropriate features.  The datum plane just acts as a dummy feature to allow something to reorder BEFORE.

5.  Using the example again from step 3, try reordering features 19 - 29 after feature 36 instead.  I've seen this work many times for some bazaar reason.

6.  Combine steps 4 & 5 above and try to reorder features 19 - 29 after feature 36 one at a time -- starting by moving feature 29 after feature 36.

7.  Sometimes grouping (Feature > Group > Create > Local Group) the features to reorder will allow the group to reorder when the individual features won't reorder by themselves.

8.  If Pro/E is really obstinate and you are sure the features can be reordered, try reordering in 2 steps.  Move the features half way using one of the suggestions above, then when that is successful, go the rest of the way.


Have a great month.  See you again soon.
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