Inventor Pack and Go, Explained

There are lots and lots of pack and go blog posts out there,
so there’s no shortage of information about the topic, however, I decided to
write my own article to explain the tool in (hopefully) the simplest and
easiest terms so you can start using it and understand what it is you are
actually doing.
Pack and Go Packages an Inventor file and all its references

What is Pack and Go?

According to the Inventor Help reference, “Pack and Go” packages an Autodesk Inventor File and all of its references under a single
location.

This means you are able to open a top level Inventor model
structure, say for example a drawing (DWG / IDW) of an assembly (IAM) which
includes Assemblies, sub-assemblies (IAM), parts (IPT), content center files
(IPT) and 3rd party items (STEP / IGES / XLS etc.) and use the Pack
and Go tool to package all those files into a location other than your current
project or filing location.

What are the uses of Pack
and Go?

Pack and Go can be used to create archives of completed
work, or to isolate a group of files for design experimentation or for quick
and easy transfer to a colleague or 3rd party.

How do you use Pack
and Go?

Pack and Go can be accessed via Inventor Application Menu
> Save As > Pack and Go
Alternatively, Right Mouse Button Click on an Inventor file
(.IAM, .IPT, .IDW, .DWG or .IPN) and select Pack and Go.

Pack and Go Dialogue
Box explained.

Pack and Go Dialogue Box explained

Source File:
This is the
file (.IAM, .IPT, .IDW, .DWG or .IPN) that you want to include as the ‘top
level’ file in the Pack and Go process.
Destination
Folder:
This is
where the files that are gathered by the Pack and Go tool will be copied to.
You are able to browse to a new location if required.
 Options explained
                              
Copy to Single Path:
All Reference
files are copied into the same folder as the packaged file. NOTE, if the file
includes instances of files with the same filename (eg. bolted connection1.iam)
a message will be displayed asking how to proceed.

Confirm File Replace

Keep Folder Hierarchy:
All Reference
files are copied into a folder structure identical to that structure that
they are in currently.
Model files Only
Only model files (.IAM,
.IPT, .IDW, .DWG or .IPN) are copied to the destination folder. Spreadsheets,
text files and other documents are ignored.
Include linked files
All files are
copied to the destination folder including Spreadsheets, text files and other
documents
Skip Libraries
If your project
includes library folders they will not be included in the copied folder
location, the original library folder locations will be referenced by the
copied files. This could prove troublesome if you intent to supply your
copied files to a third party who do not have access to your current library
folders.
Library files are resident in the
Libraries Folder.
Collect Workgroups
When selected,
collects workgroups and the workspace into a single root folder.
When not
selected, a subfolder is named for each non-nested Workspace, Local or
Workgroup Search Path, and Library of the original project file from which a
source file is copied. These are located under subfolders named Workspace,
Locals, Workgroups, or Libraries, respectively, directly under the destination
folder .
Skip Styles
Style configurations
are not included in the copied folder. This could prove troublesome if you
intent to supply your copied files to a third party who do not have access to
your current Styles Library.
Styles are resident in the Design Data
Folder.
Skip Templates
Skips inclusion
of the template files in the copied folder.
Template files are resident in the
Templates Folder.
Examples and results
The examples below I used the Blower.IAM included in the
Autodesk Inventor Samples Data.
Example 1

  1. Create a Pack and Go of the Blower.IAM
  2. Create a destination folder, this is where all
    copied files will be placed.
  3. Find referenced files, this is the project where
    the source file is located.
  4. Keep Folder Hierarchy, folders and subfolders
    are created in the copied location identical to the source file folder
    hierarchy.
  5. Include linked files, all non Autodesk files (if
    any) are included in the copied files.
  6. Leaving these items unchecked means Library
    folders, Styles Folders (Design Data) and Template Folders will be copied into
    the Pack and Go folder too.
Pack and Go Dialogue Box Example 1
A total of 285 files (~43.5MB) will be copied into the Pack and Go folder.
This folder created could be used as an archive data set, all reference files are included as well as all styles, library and template files.
Example 2

  1. Create a Pack and Go of the Blower.IAM
  2. Create a destination folder, this is where all
    copied files will be placed.
  3. Find referenced files, this is the project where
    the source file is located.
  4. Keep Folder Hierarchy, folders and subfolders
    are created in the copied location identical to the source file folder
    hierarchy.
  5. Include linked files, all non Autodesk files (if
    any) are included in the copied files.
  6. Library folders, Styles Folders (Design Data) and
    Template Folders will not be included in the final Pack and Go folder.
Pack and Go Dialogue Box Example 2
A total of 65 files (~9.8MB) will be
copied into the Pack and Go folder.
This folder created could be used as a
transfer package between work colleagues who share styles, library and template
files.
Different combinations of options settings will result in
different folder configurations, each tailored depending on the intended use of the folder
created.
  • Package files on a CD-ROM or other media for
    archiving.
  • Package a complete set of files to send to a
    vendor or contractor.
  • Isolate referenced files from other files in the
    same source folders. The log file created by the packaging operation provides a
    list of the files that are referenced by the packaged file.
  • Test alternate configurations or changes with
    the packaged files without changing the source files.
  • Copy an assembly to use as a starting point for
    a variant design or new release of a similar project.
  • Combine a project with multiple locations so
    that it can be used with the Autodesk Inventor Vault or as a library for
    another project. 

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