The Creo Model Tree: More Versatile Than You Ever Thought?

Written by: Dave Martin

Read Time: 3 min.

In Creo Parametric, the Model Tree is a utility that appears in a tab of the Navigator on the left side of the screen that lists the features in a part and the components in an assembly, in the order in which they are regenerated.

Since Creo is a feature-based parametric modeler, the Model Tree is a tool for understanding and manipulating the design intent of your parts and assemblies. Let’s take a look at how you can get the most out of this dynamic tool.


Model Tree Functionality

The Model Tree has many uses. These include:

  • Selection tool. It is often easier to pick features or components out of the Model Tree than the graphics area.
  • Performing actions. When you click on an object in the tree, a mini toolbar opens with commonly used commands like Hide, Suppress, Edit Definition, and Zoom To. Right clicking on an object opens even more commands like Delete, Replace, and Copy/Show Snapshot.
  • Knowledge tool. Since Creo models are history-based, the order of features in the Model Tree helps you understand design intent.
  • History tool. You can use drag and drop or Insert Mode to change the regeneration order of features in your Model Tree.

The Model Tree also contains a search bar to help you locate features and components in models with lots of objects. The search bar contains predefined searches to allow you to filter by criteria like object type, failed items, suppressed objects, and embedded components.

Secondary Model Trees

When performing various operations, you can have a secondary Model Tree . For example, you can display the Model Tree of the component being assembled below the Model Tree of the assembly itself to facilitate selecting placement references.

When merging or inheriting a part model into another part model, the source model’s tree appears below the target part’s tree.

Other modes have split supporting trees as well:

  • In Mechanism mode, you have a Mechanism Tree below the Model Tree.
  • When performing real-time simulation using Creo Simulation Live, the Simulation Tree contains entities like constraints, loads, and fluid domains.
  • Generative Topology Optimization provides a Generative Tree above the Model Tree for your design spaces (starting, preserved, and excluded geometry), structural conditions, and design criteria.

You can also create new objects from these trees.

Customizing the Model Tree


You can control what’s displayed in the Model Tree by clicking the Model Tree Settings icon and then:

  • Tree Filters. You might want to turn off the display of datums or used sketches to reduce clutter. You can also turn on the display of additional information like materials and suppressed objects.
  • Tree Columns. In an assembly, you might want to add columns for a component’s description and mass. You can edit the values of parameters directly from the Model Tree as well.

The Model Tree can also be displayed in its own window or docked to different sides of the interface. Changes to the items or columns in the Model Tree are automatically saved and remembered for the next time you launch Creo.

Creo 8 Enhancements

A new Design Items folder was added to Creo 8. It contains the bodies, quilts, materials, and annotation elements from the model. This enhancement helps you visualize and work from a tree that’s not organized by regeneration order.


In addition, you can create your own Custom Groups in the Design Items Folder. These are folders that contain the design items organized by functional area for easier understanding and control of your model’s intent. You can add and remove objects from Custom Groups by dragging and dropping.


The Design Items folder can also be displayed as a separate Design Tree next to the Model Tree for improved access.


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Tags: CAD

About the Author

Dave Martin

Dave Martin is a Creo, Windchill, and PTC Mathcad instructor and consultant. He is the author of the books “Top Down Design in Creo Parametric,” “Design Intent in Creo Parametric,” and “Configuring Creo Parametric,” all available at He can be reached at

Dave currently works as the configuration manager for Elroy Air, which develops autonomous aerial vehicles for middle-mile delivery. Previous employers include Blue Origin, Amazon Prime Air, Amazon Lab126, and PTC. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and is a former armor officer in the United States Army Reserves.