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CATSettings administration in CATIA V5

April 5, 2006 Tips and Tricks

This Articlel has been prepared to bring awareness of CATSettings among CATIA V5 users and CATIA V5 Administrators who already have basic knowledge of CATIA V5.

Overview of CATIA V5 CATSettings

  1. CATSettings files store customized attribute values. A single CATSettings file contains multiple attribute values.
  2. To ensure that users meet key company design practices and industry standards, it is required to control and manage CATSettings.

CATIA V5 Settings in Windows and Unix

Definition: Settings (comparable to DCLS in V4)

  • Nearly all settings are set by CATIA V5 Tools/Options
  • All Settings are in Binary Format with Suffix CATSettings
  • The settings are controlled by CATIA V5
  • V5 Settings can be shared between UNIX and Windows
  • They are preserved from session to session
  • The Settings can be locked by an administrator (in this case the Setting is dimmed and hidden for the user)

Contents of Settings

  • Presentation (tree, background colors, …)

  • Properties (tolerances, units, ….)

  • Environment ( licenses, process files, …)

  • Frame information (size, location, …)

  • OS dependent (Search Path, V4 projectfile information, doc location, ..)

  • Workbench customisation

Environment file is in Start -> Programs-> CATIA Tools -> Environment Editor (contains Global and User environments)

Environment variables for CATSettings: CATReference SettingPath and CATUserSettingPath in Environment files

Hierarchical concatenation mechanism

  • How Hierarchical concatenation mechanism works:
  • Dassault Hard coded – Superseded by all customized attribute values defined at CATIA start
  • Defined by CATReferenceSettingPath variable – Store customized attribute values known as ADMIN settings
  • Defined by CATUserSettingPath variable – Store users customized attribute values which supersede all previous attribute values unless LOCKED


Customizing CATSettings

  • The flexibility in customizing the CATSettings attribute values drives the creation of many ADMIN paths for a variety of users tasks
  • CATIA V5 CATSettings are customized by Site, Program, CATIA V5 Release, License/Discipline, and 3rd Party Application choice
  • 200 customized CATSettings files
  • 200 files x avg 5 attributes per file customized = 1000 customized attributes!
  • ADMINs are solely responsible for maintaining and modifying the CATIA V5 CATSettings across the company


Process of Customizing CATSettings

Type of change requests:

  • Emergency requests: These requests are to be implemented as soon as possible in support of production users
  • CATIA V5 Domain/Discipline Subject Matter Expert (SME) requests: These requests are made for unique Domain/Disciplines (i.e. – Electrical, NC, Tubing, etc) Workbenches
  • Program approved requests: These requests are made by program users or CAD Development & Support group on behalf of the program


Groups of CATSettings attribute changes are gathered together (except for Emergency changes) and rolled when convenient

Implementing Changes:

  1. CATSettings ADMIN stages changes in TEST CATIA V5 Environment to for testing and evaluation prior to production turnover.
  • Start CATIA V5 in Admin mode

cnext –env ADMIN.env –admin

CATOptionsMgt –env ADMIN.env -admin

2.Changes made to Tools->Options panel in ADMIN mode are stored in one of the .CATSettings files

Permanent settings can be locked
– User unable to modify
– Create / enforce standards
3. And the Fun part…figuring out the .CATSettings file that contains the change you made.

4. The CATIA V5 CATSettings ADMIN documents changes made in TEST

5. CATSettings changes made in TEST Environment are reviewed and approved/disapproved by CATIA V5 SME’s and other important Points of Contact

6. A virtual review is typically held via email with a file attachment of the CATSettings change documentation

7. Prepare proposed CATSettings for Production turnover

8. Coordinate and communicate the files required to be moved to PRODUCTION Environment

9. Notify CATIA V5 production users affected by the ADMIN CATSettings modifications


Migrating CATSettings for a new release of CATIA V5:

IBM/Dassault recommended using 2 applications within basic CATIA V5 install to migrate CATSettings

  • CATBatGenXMLSet exports .CATSettings file to .XML CATSettings file format (e.g. – v5r17)
  • CATBatImpXMLSet imports .XML CATSetting file format to .CATSettings file (e.g. – v5r18)

When used tools to migrate CATSettings, some customized attributes values did not get migrated correctly.

Missing Attributes and Locks has lead to Creating CATSettings from Scratch.

For some CATSettings files with a large number of customized attribute values, we need to use the utilities.


Enhancing the CATIA V5 performance with CATSettings:

There are some CATSettings attribute values that can help or hurt CATIA V5 performance, based on how they are set.

Depending on the CATIA V5 task, performance can have different meanings

  • Performance could mean the time it takes to load a CATIA V5 document (i.e. CATProduct)
  • Performance could mean whether or not there is enough Memory available to create drawing views of Large Assembly CATProduct.
  • Performance could mean the behavior of CATIA V5 with other Microsoft applications in a user’s Windows session.


1. Decreasing CATProduct Load Time to Enhance Performance:


2. Reducing memory usage to enhance Large Assy/Drafting performance:

Reset CATIA V5 Settings


Reset CATSettings for a User

  • Delete User CATSettings
  • Use Tools/Options [RESET] button


Dump of CATSettings
Dump CATSettings

  • View Values
  • Retrieve a given setting
  • Compare settings between code levels
  • Compare different configurations by comparing the macros