Inventor BOM structure


Managing data in Inventor

If you’ve designed a complex product using Autodesk Inventor, chances are you will need to have the data of all the parts, assemblies and purchased components managed and sent to the next department who will need this detailed information to produce the design.

This is generally called a BOM (Bill of materials) in most manufacturing organisations. Inventor has some tools designed specifically for this purpose. Here we will take a look at how you can use these tools to better manage your production process.


How does Inventor BOM work?

Inventor parts can be classified into 5 structure types:

Normal Purchased Referenced Phantom Inseparable
Most components in a design Cylinders, pistons, Hinges, Screws, Nuts, Rivets Construction elements such as skeleton parts or assemblies in the model, Customer Data Not physical parts of the manufactured product in the design Weldments, Riveted, glued joined together
•Their placement/participation in the BOM is determined by their parent assembly

•They are numbered and included in quantity calculations

•They have no direct influence on their child components participation in the BOM

•The component is considered a single BOM line item, regardless if it is a part or an assembly.

•Normal child components of a purchased assembly are included in structured parts list, and numbered, but are hidden in parts-only arts lists

•The component is treated as if it does not exist.

•The component’s children are treated as if they do not exist regardless of their own structure value.

•Are excluded from quantity, mass, or volume calculations

•They are ignored by the BOM.

•They influence their children’s participation in the BOM by promoting them in Structured BOM views.


In parts-only BOM, child components with a BOM structure of:

normal or inseparable are hidden

purchased are visible


This is so that you can separate each part by type and send it to the relevant parties.


iProperties are data associated with every part or assembly. These are basically an array of data field that help differentiate and identify all your components uniquely. They include things like:

  • Part Number
  • Description
  • Material
  • Designer/Manufacturer

These fields are managed by Inventor and can be pulled into your BOM, ready for export to Excel.

How to use BOM in Inventor

In your manage tab on the ribbon, you will find the Bill of Materials tool. Clicking this will launch the BOM exporting tool.

You will then see a table listing the parts and assemblies in the currently opened file.

In this table there are three tabs, Model Data, Structured, and Parts Only. The Bill of Materials table can be customized, and you can add and remove columns to suit your company requirements.

  • Model Data shows all the components that are contained in the model and allows you to manipulate certain properties of the components from the top level assembly
  • Structured, provides a structured view of the components in the assembly and displays it as it would be displayed in a drawing when placing a Parts List.
  • Parts Only provides you a complete list of parts contained in the assembly.

You may also manually modify and add in further details to any of the columns, create custom columns or adjust the order in which they appear. Once you are satisfied with the results, simply click export button and this will generate a list in Excel format, with an option of either structured or parts only.

And that’s all there is to it. You have now successfully generated a Bill of Materials that is ready to be sent to manufacturing, clients, purchasing departments, or simply use it for documentation and fault-finding purposes.