Autodesk Inventor – Creating a Custom Library for the Content Center and Adding a Part


Autodesk Inventor Content Center is where you obtain all your design content, such as Structural Sections, Fasteners, Tube and Pipe Parts, Cable and Harness Parts, along with many others. All of these parts are stored in what is known as “Libraries”. These libraries contain all the information about the parts within the content center, including Material, Filename and Part Number.

When creating a library it is vitally important to ensure the Filename and Part Numbers are unique to prevent any clashes down the line.

I will now guide you through the process of creating a new library and adding a part to it.

Firstly: Ensure your Autodesk Inventor has no files open. Click on the Projects icon at the top left (shown below in red). Make sure you are in the correct project and click the libraries icon at bottom right (shown in green).

The Configure Default Libraries dialog box will open. Make sure the library you’re wanting to get the fastener from is active. Select the icon indicated in red below to add a new library and fill in the necessary details. I am calling mine “Fasteners”.

Configure Default Libraries in Inventor

You will notice how the library is added to the existing list and that its “Access” is Read/Write. This means the “Fasteners” library is now customisable. Click ok, save the project and close the project window.

Customisable Inventor Library

Once you have created the library, the next step is to go to the Autodesk Inventor Content Center Editor (Tools –> Editor). You will notice the Library view is on “Merged View”, which refers to all the libraries that are available.

The Content Center Editor looks similar to the normal content center, apart from the icons being dimmed. This is because the libraries are “read only”, so do not worry about it.

Navigate to the fastener you want to add (I’m going to add ISO 4017). Right click the part and select “save copy as”.

Please note that using the “copy to” option will copy the part to your library, but the part will still be linked to the original part, which is not recommended. Using the “save copy as” option prevents future errors arising pertaining to the part.

Duplicating Inventor Library Parts

From the drop down, select the library (fasteners) you created. Select “independent family” to make sure the part is not continually linked to the original, fill in the family data and click ok. The part is now added to your library.

Independent Family Inventor Library

To customise the library further, select your library from the “Library View” drop down. You will notice the only part available within that library is the one you just added (unless you already added other parts to it).

Customising Inventor Libraries

Right click on the part you added and click “Family Table” to enable further editing. The Family Table includes all the technical data about the part so be careful as to what you change.

Inventor Family Table

In this window, right click the filename and part number columns and select “Column Properties” to change the filename to one you require. Please note that changing other columns may affect your part and how it works in your designs, so be careful to not change any technical data about the part itself.

Family Table Column Properties

Once you’re in the column properties, change the text indicated in yellow to add a custom filename to the part. Observe how the expressions box works by trial and error to get an understanding of how it will react to certain inputs. Also note the drop down menu (green block) enables you to link other properties of the family table into the expression for even more customisation.

The characters between { } refer to other columns’ properties, such as diameter and size. Click ok and notice how the entire column will change. Do the same for the part number.

Linking Properties in Family Tables

I have changed only my Filename and my Part Number to read as bellow, please note that changing other columns’ properties may cause errors in the future with this part, depending on what has been changed.

Inventor Column Properties Filename
Inventor Column Properties Part Number

The columns are now yellow and there is a lightning bolt on the left of each row. This indicates a change has been made. You can make additional changes if needed.

Inventor Family Table Lightning Bolt

Once you are completely happy with your changes select apply and click ok when the box below pops up.

Publish to Selected Library

Click ok again to close the Family Table.

Your custom library should now contain your customised part which will be usable in your designs with the data you changed. You can repeat the process until you have all the parts you require.

Kind regards,