Inventor Read Only Mode

Back in the day, to view Inventor files without the use of Inventor itself we had to use Inventor View. Now, this was, for the longest time perfectly acceptable. In fact, Autodesk themselves used it as part of the Vault offerings to view their ‘own’ data. Click here to view.

While Inventor View served its purpose, it did/does have some limitations.

When accessing files via Inventor view, we are actually seeing the Part / Assembly / Drawing as it was when it was last saved. Now with 3D data, this shouldn’t ever be an issue, but with 2D data there are considerations.

Do we want to view the drawing as it was last saved (3 weeks ago for example)? or should we be seeing it as it currently is. (taking into consideration the 3D data that has been updated more recently than the last 3 weeks).

With inventor view, we only see the data as it was last saved (this to be fair is probably a good thing in the case of a released drawing) we cannot view truly up-to-date data.

Read Only Mode

With the current crop of inventor, we now have access to Inventor Read Only Mode. Now, this does exactly as it says on the tin, it IS Inventor, but it IS Read Only!

Using actual Inventor, but with all the ‘creation’ tools removed, we now know that we are looking at the current data, as its stands today, not 3 weeks ago when not was last saved. This means, an Assembly for example now has up-to-date constraints, Drawings show a clean/current view taking into consideration any recent 3D changes.

With Inventor View, we can only view (including Zoom, Pan, and Orbit) and print models/drawings. When opening the same data with Inventor Read Only Mode, we have access to all the tools in full Inventor but without any editing capabilities. We can interact and query the model browser, use the inspect tools (measure, interference analysis etc), access the BOM in an Assembly and so on.

Inventor Read Only Mode is installed automatically as a ‘partner product’ to the full Inventor install, which means if you already use Inventor 2020 or newer, you already have access to the software.

Anyone can get Inventor Read Only Mode. So your colleagues, shop floor personnel, Customers etc can view your Inventor data in full fidelity as it was meant to be viewed.

To gain access to Inventor Read Only Mode, just download and install the Inventor trial (full Inventor) HERE.

An Inventor Read Only Mode shortcut  is created which remains available even after the trial expires (30 days)

Best of all, Inventor Read Only Mode is FREE!

Tools available with Inventor Read Only Mode


Parts 1

Parts 2

Parts 3


Assemblies 1

Assemblies 2

Assemblies 3

Assemblies 4


Drawings 1

Drawings 2

In the image below, the top row shows full Inventor Professional, giving us up-to-date information

On the second row, Inventor ‘Read Only’ (left) & Inventor View (Right) can be seen with the saved information displaying correctly

Inventor View

At this point, I have updated and saved the IPT, and then activated the IDW. Full Inventor has automatically updated the IDW with the latest 3D changes and a save is pending.

On the lower half, we can see the reloaded Inventor ‘Read Only’ has updated the IDW. It has been done to reflect the true current state of the IPT, BUT Inventor View is still showing us the ‘as saved’ data which is now stale.

Inventor View 2

Finally, now that I have saved the IDW (top right) within full Inventor Pro, both Inventor ‘Read Only’ AND Inventor View have access to the latest designInventor View 3

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How FeTu went from 6 hours to 6 minutes – Inventor Professional

What is Inventor Professional?

Inventor Pro is a trusted, professional-grade design and engineering software.  It is a complete design solution, from design to manufacturing and beyond. Inventor can automate complex design workflows as well as everyday repetitive tasks, and it connects your processes from concept through to make, and it promotes collaboration amongst teams and your customers.

Who are FeTu?

FeTu was established in 2016 and is based in West Yorkshire. They have created a revolutionary ‘green’ energy device, known as “Roticulate”, targeting carbon reduction across a broad range of industries and applications. This disruptive, enabling technology provides a versatile ‘continuous positive displacement’ machine that inherently lends itself to being cost-effective and highly efficient.

The FeTu ‘roticulating’ concept is perceived as the world’s first ‘quad-acting’ device (duplex double-acting). It is lightweight and scalable and uses just two moving parts to operate four anti-phased compression chambers, offering low-loss conversion from potential to kinetic energy.


The Challenge

This concept, developed entirely within Inventor Professional, requires precision engineering and repeat clash-detection analysis throughout every aspect of development. Various design changes can (and invariably do) occur through each project review and FeTu need to ensure that performance is not compromised with each and every assembly update.

The Problem

Lots of manual calculations and processes. They’ve got to perform the same tests on all four chambers, taking several hours each. Resulting in up to 2 days’ work per complete analysis. Furthermore, if subsequent changes are required, the engineers have to perform all of the analyses from scratch.

As the majority of the parameters being applied were repetitive and the data being inputted was being extracted from the model, FeTu was convinced there had to be another way and contacted Quadra to ask if there was anything that could be done to perhaps halve the time it takes to achieve these results.

…Halve? We can do much better than that….

The Solution

Matt Hutchinson, one of Quadra’s Senior Application Engineers, set to work for 7 hours (6.75 to be precise) using Inventor Pro’s built-in iLogic automation environment, to create a modular routine that can now be dropped onto any of FeTu’s Roticulate assemblies. This routine essentially rotates an angle constraint, performs an interference check to report the number of clash instances and volume of each interference, records the results, then increments the angle by 1 degree and repeats …again …and again …tabulating each result into a report and outputting in a format which can then be exported into Excel for interrogation.

The Result

“Matt was incredible (he used that word). He has reduced our work from nearly 6 hours to 6 minutes per chamber and we couldn’t be happier” [John Fenton, FeTu Managing Director]

In conclusion, Inventor’s out of the box capability is industry recognised. But what often goes UNrecognised is just how much you can do when you step ‘out of that box’ and go a few steps further, applying a bit of technical expertise to automate and program Inventor Pro to do much more with your parts and assemblies, much faster, whilst maintaining accuracy from the model data with minimal user input.

Expand into Inventor Professional

We get it…  very few people have the expertise to correctly develop routines or modules within Inventor. That’s where Matt and the team can help.

If you have a similar problem, that’s both repetitive and time-consuming and you have that nagging suspicion that there IS a better way, just do what FeTu did – get in touch and see how we can help!

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Inventor – Model States Webinar

Join Quadra’s own Matt Hutchinson (Senior Application Engineer) and Mike Hacking (MFG Projects Manager) as they discuss one of the latest enhancements to Inventor 2022 – Model States.

Model States offer capabilities similar to those found in iParts/Assemblies, however, all configurations are stored in a single file instead of multiple files. This provides a convenient way to engineer, manage, and manufacture your designs with different dimensions, components, properties or simplification levels.

Each model state supports unique iProperties, parameters and Bill of Materials.

Watch our Inventor Model States webinar below:

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