Best Practices in Alibre products

Following these Best Practices should help you avoid the most common problems encountered in Alibre Design and Atom3D.


  • Do not copy/paste then rename model files in Windows File Explorer prior to making modifications. If you are making moderate changes to an existing file to create a new one, make your edits first, then complete a Save As action to assign a new name to the modified file. This will prevent downstream issues with your assemblies and drawings later on.
  • Be sure to Save often, and save backups of your files to a separate drive to avoid having to re-do a lot of work in the event of a system crash or power loss.
  • Save your project(s) to a new file name for each major revision, in case you need to go back a step.


  • Keep 2D sketches simple - they'll be easier to understand, and easier to edit (when necessary).
  • Sketch constraints are typically more efficient than adding dimensions - less clicks, less clutter.
  • Your sketches should always be actual size, i.e. 1:1   (scaling for 2D drawings is handled elsewhere).
  • Though you can mirror and pattern in a 2D sketch - that adds complexity (see item 1).  Fillets and chamfers are also available within sketches.  However, it is recommended to carry out these operations as 3D features rather than in sketches.
  • Parts are modeled in Alibre Design by building a series of 3D features, in sequence.  Each feature is dependent upon those in place before it.  It is best to avoid re-ordering 3D features in the Design Explorer (by dragging features forward/back in the design history) - such changes are likely to cause errors.
  • Don't put too many parts in a single assembly file.  Instead create sub-assemblies each with a modest number of parts.  Combine sub-assemblies into higher level assemblies.  This approach reduces the number of assembly constraint in the Design Explorer at one level, reducing the likelihood of failed constraints.  The explorer will also be less cluttered
  • It can be very helpful when constraining a part (or sub-assembly) to right click on it and select 'show reference geometry'.  This reveals the reference geometry used when creating that item - this geometry can be used in addition to 3D solid features to constrain the item within the assembly.
  • If the 2D drawing of a design is open and the 3D file (part or assembly) is opened separately, saved changes in 3D will not be reflected in the 2D drawing until the drawing is closed and re-opened.  Instead you can choose 'Edit 3D model' from within the 2D drawing.
  • Many attributes of the 2D drawing are inherited from the Template used - these include 1st angle or 3rd angle projection, dimension styles (and hence units), and layer properties.  As well as allowing inclusion of a logo or image, creating your own drawing template(s) allows you to pre-set these attributes, saving a lot of time when subsequently detailing your drawings.  The help file includes information on different options for creating your own custom drawing templates, there is also a video covering custom templates.
  • If you choose to create a custom template by modifying one of the default templates, make sure to start from a template that uses your desired sheet size and orientation.  Scaling or Rotating a drawing frame to fit an alternate sheet size or orientation will lead to problems.  If there is not a default template available in the sheet size/orientation required, you should create a template from a blank sheet of the desired size.

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