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    by David Gate

    When working with 3rd parties, especially in the construction and infrastructure industries passing over an Inventor model is not particularly useful.

    You may well get requests for BIM information, or BIM compliant models.

    If you have determined that Navisworks is the file format, maybe it’s the tool that is being used at the receiving end or a high BIM level of detail is being requested.

    The below steps should help you create and send the Navisworks file format.

    First Open up Navisworks, depending on your suite you may have Navisworks Simulate or Navisworks Manage, for these purposes the difference between the products doesn’t matter.

    The differences can be seen here.


    Once you have Navisworks open you need to place in your Inventor model. To do this Append in your Inventor assembly.

    I would recommend maybe doing some simplification of your assembly first to help remove IP (such as internal components)

    Once the file has been appended you may notice that the assembly is in the wrong orientation or position. Navisworks will match your Inventor’s origins to its own origins so if you assembled upside down or with the origin plane not on the bottom of the model you will need to tweak it. You could either do that in your Inventor assembly or do it in Navisworks.

    To do it in Navisworks first select your whole model. Then on the “Item Tools” ribbon you can transform it. You can do it by eye or even better expand the Transform panel to reveal explicit transformations.

    This would also be were you could move your model so that it was position in relation to the main Navisworks project. Eg a specific location on building site. You may have already come across the fact that Inventor only works with a local coordinate system and you cannot put in any OS or global coordinates, Navisworks will allow you to accommodate that so when the receiver adds this to their Navisworks project your parts drop into the correct location and they do not have to manually move them.

    Once you have the model in the correct position then all we need to do is save this as a native Navisworks file to then send off.

    When doing the save make sure you save as a NWD file format and pick the correct release, in case your receiver is using an older version of Navisworks.

    If you need to push back on the file type choice then the following will help explain.



    The NWD format is the only all-encompassing single file format. If they ask for an NWF then that would also require you to send all your Inventor IAM and IPT files, not useful.