Jump to Creo Elements/Direct (CoCreate) Tips

AI MAXTools Tips and Tricks:


  • Video imageMany people know that AI MAX Share (part of AI DesignMAX) is the easiest way to duplicate parts in Creo Elements/Direct Modeling. However, some people don't know that it can also be used to duplicate features -- with or without duplicating a part!  
  • AI MAX Share 2 Points in DirectionUse AI MAX Share's Two Points in Direction function to easily align the destination point with another reference point, and project that point onto a given direction.  It's that easy!  See it in action!
  • Use AI Multi-Cut Faces to cut multiple faces on multiple parts in a single operation! PTC Creo Elements/Direct and CoCreate will not allow you to cut faces from multiple parts at the same time. However, AI Multi-Cut Faces removes this limitation. It's that easy!  
  • The new "2 Points in Plane" method of AI MAX Share allows you to duplicate objects and features on a selected plane using reference points -- with no need to measure or project those reference points onto a workplane!  Watch the video now!

Exporting/Data Exchange

  • See how easy it is to export data using AI MAX Export.  Export multiple objects into multiple formats in a single operation, including creating zip files for each object containing all selected formats.  Watch the video now.
  • AI MAX Export2D allows you to save multiple file types at once!! Many folks realize that AI MAX Export will allow you to save PDF, DXF, DWG, and Iges2D at the same time. However, if you're working on a drawing, AI MAX Export allows you to save into .mi/.ami, .bdl, and .pkg (if the drawing's owning object is also loaded). 

    Note that these file formats are available only when working on a current drawing -- if you do not have a current drawing loaded when starting AI MAX Export2D, the function will start in "Batch Mode" which allows you to convert multiple drawing files at the same time! 
  • Use AI MAX Export2D to convert your 2D Drawings into PDF, DXF, and IGES-2D formats -- even add watermarks!  
  • AI MAX Export2D Batch mode allows you to convert multiple files in a single operation! Learn more on the AI DataMAX product page!

Viewport/User Interface

  • Use AI MAX ViewHQ to easily isolate and work on one or more parts, and easily return to the previous drawlist -- instantly!  Plus, jump back and forth -- It's That Easy!  Watch the video
  • Use AI MAX ViewHQ for design reviews to set up lists of objects and predefined views -- then just step through them!  It's like a PowerPoint presentation using a live Modeling session!
  • Use AI MAX ViewHQ to share design visualization information between team members.  Define the drawlists and views that you would like to share, attach the drawlists to one of the objects (such as the top-level assembly), and save the package file. Then simply send your package file to your team members.  They simply load the package file, load the drawlists from the selected object, and will have the same drawlists and views that you have already defined!  It's that easy!  See it in action!


  • AI MultiRename (part of AI DesignMAX) makes it easy to clean up the object names in your structure browser -- no more . names!  See it in action!
  • This Tip and Trick comes from Greg Matelich at Zetec:  "When bringing in an assembly from another CAD system, my favorite time saving feature is AI Replace Part, which allows me to quickly replace imported  fasteners, and other existing models, with those that already exist in our database." 

Modeling Assistance/Information

  • See information about any object all in one place: When you need to see information about an object, use the AI Info function. Just select AI Info and select your desired object. The AI Info window will pop up, and will show you the selected object's structure, shared status, read-only status (including database status), whether it has been modified, its revision, density, geometric resolution, volume, mass, area, and its name and model name (various fields can be turned on or off). You can even modify the values of several of these fields, and can also easily find the object or all of its shares in the structure browser with a single click. With AI Info, it's that easy! Try it for yourself and tell us what you think!
  • Use AI Reference Table (part of AI DesignMAX) to easily look up commonly used values (tap drill and clearance sizes, etc).  Then just click on the value you want, and that value will immediately be used in your active command.  You can even divide (or multiply!) the number by 2 if you want -- ideal for inputting radius values when you're looking at the diameter value!
  • You can also uAI Reference Table populating Machining DialogUse AI Reference Table to help populate your Counterbore dialogs when using the Machining Module.  Just double-click the value for the counterbore size you want to use, and the associated fields in the Machining Counterbore dialog for that size will be populated. It's that easy!  See it in action!
  • Use AI Bisect to easily find the midpoint between any two points (works in both 3D and 2D). You can even change the ratio to negative values and values greater than 1 (default ratio is 0.5) to shift the resulting point.  Just start AI Bisect, click the first point, click the second point, and the point at the specified ratio will be passed to your current command --with no workplanes or measuring required! To change the ratio, just start AI Bisect and use as above, but enter the new ratio before clicking either the first or second point. It's that easy!
  • Use AI Intersection to easily find the projected intersection of any two straight edges or directions, or to verify if the edges are parallel or skew (do not intersect).  Just specify the two edges, and immediately see the intersection point (or be notified if the edges do not intersect). You will also know the angle of intersection, or, if the edges do not intersect, you'll know the closest distance between the projections. You can then click "OK" (or green checkmark) to use the resulting intersection point in your current command -- with no workplanes, projections, or measuring required! You can even generate a 3D Wire Part that will have a vertex at the intersection point (or with vertices at the closest points of approach if the projections do not intersect). It's that easy!
  • You can use AI Bisect Angle to find any ratio along an arc! You can choose between 3 points, 2 edges or directions, or one arc, and specify any angle or ratio, including ratios greater than one or less than zero. You can also specify the radius along the bisecting vector, and can pass the resulting point directly into your currently active command!  A related function is AI Intersection, which will compute the intersection between the projections of two edges or vectors in 3D space. If the edges do not intersect, the function will let you know, and will also tell the distance at the closest point of approach. As with AI Bisect and AI Bisect Angle, you can pass the intersection point directly to your currently active command. Very useful functions!

Back to Top of Page (AI MAXTools Tips)

Creo Elements/Direct (CoCreate) Tips and Tricks:


  • Change the selection method when preselecting faces/bosses/pockets/etc!  Just hover over a face and hit the TAB key to cycle through the various selection methods!  Works great!  (v17+ Only)  
  • When drag-selecting elements (2D or 3D) in your Modeling viewport, you can change the selection method (completely included vs partially included) by hitting the TAB key when dragging -- try it for yourself! (v18.1+ Only)  

Viewport/User Interface:

  • Smooth Zooming using Control-Drag: Under versions prior to v18, the user could zoom the viewport by holding the Control key, pressing the right mouse button (RMB) and dragging the mouse.  Under Version 18 and later, this behavior was changed so that the mouse actions were consistent across all Creo apps.  To re-enable the old behavior, select "File->Settings->Viewport..."  and then select the "CoCreate mouse interaction mode" option.  Zooming using Ctrl-RMB will now work as it did before!

  • Clipping planeWhen using viewport clipping planes, hold Ctrl and Shift, hold down the right mouse button, and drag your mouse in the viewport.  You can easily drag the clipping plane forward and backward! 
  • In addition to the many customization options available in Modeling (some listed below), there are also quite a few default keys that many users don't know about, including the function keys: F2: Select Menu, F3: Global Axes On/Off, F4: 3D Hidden Lines On/Off, F6: Shaded/Wire toggle, F11: Full Screen, F12: Browser Bar toggle On/Off.


  • MoveFace-LineBetween2pts-vid.pngUse the "Line Between Two Points" function introduced in Modeling version 19 (and available in all later versions) to draw helper lines in a reference plane when using the 3D copilot. This tip also briefly shows how you can use AI Bisect to accomplish the task even quicker!

  • To easily put a workplane on a face, hover the mouse pointer over the face on which you would like the workplane, and then hold down the Alt key and click the middle mouse button.  It's fast and easy (though not as powerful as AI MAX Workplane! :)  )
  • You can save STP files that maintain object color! Open the "Save" dialog, select "STEP" file format, and click the "Options" button in the lower right of the "Save" window.  Make sure the "AP214" option is selected under "Application Protocol" and your resulting STEP files will be saved with the parts in their original color! Once this option is set, it will remain persistent, so next time you save (including using AI MAX Export), it will use this same setting!


  • calc-right-click03.pngUse the Calculator to measure almost anything!  The Calculator in Modeling is a tool that most users don't utilize as effectively as they can. Right-click on almost any of the lower fields (such as "Dist...") to see options for that field (including 3D Vector measurements between points using "3D..."->Vector!)  
    NOTE: To see the results of a 3D measurement, either use the pull-down next to the result, or (even better!) just enable RPN mode on the calculator (as in the above image).  Also note that you can use the scrollbar at the bottom right of the calculator to see more available functions!


  • Use Displaying toolbars with the ribbon UItoolbars with the ribbon UI!  Many Modeling users do not realize that they can still use toolbars, even with the Ribbon UI.  It's very easy to do -- go to the "View" tab, select "Toolbars" from the "Window" group, and select the "Modeling" option.  Then just select whatever toolbar(s) you'd like to use.  As with previous versions, you can also create your own toolbars and menu customizations by simply right-clicking any existing toolbar and selecting "Customize."

  • Put your most frequently used commands on your right-click menu or your command mini toolbar (v18+). Then they're just a click away! This works for any Modeling command, including the AI MAXTools functions.
  • You can assign keystrokes to your most commonly-used commands. From the Customize dialog (File->Customize or Tools->Customize), select the "Keyboard" tab. Then find the desired command and assign the keystroke.  This works for any Modeling command, including the AI MAXTools functions (such as AI Bisect -- see above).
  • You can modify existing toolbars (and create your own) to give you quick access to frequently-used commands. Either right-click on an existing toolbar and click "Customize" or select File->Customize or Tools->Customize to open the Customize dialog. Then select the desired group from the left-hand column. Find the function you want to use in the right-hand column, and drag it to the desired toolbar. To turn on your desired toolbar, or to create a new one, select the "Toolbars" tab in the Customize dialog. To remove a button from a toolbar, simply drag it off the toolbar and release it. You can add/remove buttons for any Modeling command, including the AI MAXTools functions (such as AI Intersection -- see above).
  • If you've ever had Creo Elements/Direct Modeling hang while you're working, and wondered how to recover, here's something that may help. Greg Matelich from Valve Software has created a very useful post on the cocreateusers.org website that provides some guidance about options available to you (including the "sdkill" program that is part of the Modeling installation. Check it out here.
  • ai-customizationIn our recent discussions, we've found that there are many users who don't know about all of the customization options available for Modeling, or aren't sure how to use them. We put together a 3-minute video showing a quick demonstration of how to customize your toolbars, right-click menus, and keyboard shortcuts. Check it out -- maybe you'll learn something!

As always, if you've got some tips or tricks you'd like to share with others, please let us know!