ZW3D Search Paths list

Having trouble with history rebuilds on some of my models has made me search for answers/solutions to issues I’m having.
I have found this Forum( Specifically Cowboy ) to be VERY helpful. Thanks.
While trying to implement the suggested changes, I have seen that my ZW3D Search Paths list may have something to do with it.

If I clear this list, will an assembly still open properly with all components once this LIST is cleared?

Then a good question to ask would be — What is the best setting for this ( which box should be ticked)?


Hi Alan,
fantastic question and one for which I do not have all the answers!!! I am still experimenting with this as I also have some things happening I do not understand.
Before we start the journey here is something to think about.
The issue of components missing in assemblies is always to do with the location of the component outside the open file/s.
We typically have folders with files which contain multiple components.
PLM and PDM require that components, drawings etc are all discrete and standalone.
This leads to the ‘folder’ vs ‘big pool’ idea for storing files.
Folders are easy for human comprehension, big pools are great for robust computer linkage.
So that’s what I am interested to learn from others. What are you doing?

(As an aside ZW3D is headed towards a PDM/PLM environment to join the big guys and the single file per object option exists now as does the tool for separating files from existing multi-object files)

Back to settings.
The first thing I would do is in Search Paths, select all the exisitng paths then click the search sub folders option. This shows as 3 dots …, after the path. And see what happens.

Report back please.

Cheers - Paul

ZW3D Search Paths list

Hi Paul, I tried the Subfolder option, but there was no reaction from ZW3D to find Subfolders.

I run my PC with a Solid State Hard drive and I cannot keep all my files I work on saved on the SSD, so I move it to a Backup drive for safe keeping, and do other projects using the SSD as it is much quicker.
Moving the file from Drive–C to Drive - D will instantly cause issues with the Search path.

Attached is a picture of a project I did about 3 months ago. It shows the one imbedded file to be Unavailable, although I can find it within the Project file it came from which is now stored on D drive.

To eliminate the AUTO search path ZW is looking for, should I rather have all the BOX options for Search Path List unticked so as to not have a linked path?


Hi Alan,
more info is more useful.
Moving files is problematic for any CAD system. Actually for any system that maintains links.
First up SSD drives are ridiculously cheaper now and a new 500Gb might be 2 or 3x faster than you existing small drive! And you can ghost the existing drive to the bigger one, keeping the older ‘riskier’ drive for storage if needed.
The all files in one pool solves the problem if you are moving them in and out. Then you can use Libraries to mange your access, eg. reconstruct your data structure within a library from pooled files - a bit of work initially, but might be a worthwhile solution.

So from ZW - you can RMB in history and Look for Lost files.
You can also use Unsuppress and chose No and point to the file containing the missing parts.

Re what is on or off in the search path options.
If you activate Auto Search, yo might find ZW runs at a crawl searching for missing files all the time.
Saving search paths within the file may be a use or not? I am not sure of the implications.
I suggest try turning one on at a time and seeing it is makes a difference.
If not, turn off and try another.

Cheers - Paul

Hi All,
I have mis understood the capability of Window Libraries - can you add files to libraries?

No, you can only add folders/directories to libraries.

Death to an otherwise good idea.
Cheers - Paul

As we have been discussing this topic, while reading the ZW3D Quarterly Technical Report-2020 Q3 I found this------

Question 6:

Today I opened my assembly file, and I found that some of my components are not displayed. In the assembly tree, there are cross icons on some components as the below figure shows. Why and how can I solve this issue?



The cross icon means that the component is missing and cannot be found by ZW3D. The most possible reason is that the saving path of the component or the file/ object name has been changed.

Once you encounter such a situation, take it easy. First, you need to check where you have put the missing components, and whether you have changed their names in Windows Explorer. If you figure out the new saving paths of those components, then make sure that they are included in the search paths, and the option “Auto Search” is turned on. Then you can follow the below steps:

(1) Use “Change Component” to update the missing component.

(2) If you want to update all the part files that using this component, you can batch update by Utilities->Find/Replace Name:

Step 1: Select “Selected files” for Scope

Step 2: Add the search path

Step 3: Set “File and object name” as Type in case that the file extension of your missing component is Z3PRT.

Then you can start replacing. After that, re-open the assembly file, and click “Unsuppress” to let the missing components show correctly.

By the way, it is strongly suggested to rename the part files in the assembly manager as shown below.


There are a few more questions answered there, so when you have time, definitely, you will find VALUE.