Paste Special

This task explains you how to use the Paste Special... command. This implies the understanding of the type of features you can paste using this command as well as the various formats available for pasting these features.

This document is divided into 2 parts:


Paste As Specified in Product Structure

Paste As Specified in Product Structure is the format by default (traditional Paste).

If you copy / paste an object in an assembly, only the selected Source Instance is copied.

A new Instance of the Source object is created and it has the same Reference as the Source. Therefore, modifying the Source implies modifying the Copy and vice versa. And the Copy (new instance) have the same Reference. This schema illustrates this behavior:

  1. Select CRIC_TOP for instance and copy it.

  2. Select Product1, right-click the Paste Special... command and paste CRIC_TOP.

Selecting Paste Special... contextual command, you can see the Paste Special window appear.

  1. Select the As specified in Product Structure line and click OK. And you obtain this result:

  1. Edit the Reference of CRIC_TOP (open CRIC_TOP.CATPart). Note that if you modify this Reference, both Instances are also modified: Source and Copy.

The behavior of Paste Special As specified in Product Structure is exactly the same as a simple Paste.

Paste Break Link

Contrary to the previous format, the Source Instance and its Reference are duplicated, because a new Instance and a new Reference are created. The Reference of the new Instance is the Copy of the Reference, which makes it independent from the Source. The Source and the Copy are separated, that is to say if you modify the Source, there will be no impacts on the new Instance (Copy). This schema illustrates this behavior:
  1. Select CRIC_TOP for instance and right-click the Paste Special... contextual command.

  2. Select Product1 and paste CRIC_TOP. The Paste Special window appears.

  3. Select the Break Link option. And CRIC_TOP appears in Product1. Note that the Instance name of the copy is not the same as the one in our first example (As specified in Product Structure).

  4. Edit the Reference CRIC_TOP.CATPart. Note that if you modify this Reference, the new Instance of CRIC_TOP (the Copy) is not modified:

In an assembly, you cannot have two References with the same Part Number within a CATIA Session. If you copy / paste Beak Link a CATPart, CATProduct or a Component, the Copy is automatically renamed like this: Copy (n) of Source (Copy (n) of Source.1).

But If you copy / paste Beak Link an object in another CATProduct that does not contain the same Reference, the Copy is not renamed.

Duplicating References:

Paste Break Link duplicates the Reference of the selected object and all references of aggregated children, if they are internal reference in the document as the selected object. Here is an example:

In blue are the Source References in the Source Assembly, in pink the Reference in the Target document.
P3 is a child of copied component P2 but its Reference is in another document so it won't be duplicated.
You copy P2.1 under Target (Copy / Paste Break Link).

=> Instance / Reference Link:

This symbol means that this is a Product (not associated to any document). This is an Instance or Reference that follows the same behavior as its root (first "father" having an Associated Document).
This symbol means that this is a Product (Instance or Reference), the Reference of which is associated to a Document. The Product has its own Copy / Cut / Paste behavior.
When you use the Paste with Break Link functionality, only the Instance chain within the document is duplicated. For instance:
  • if you copy / paste P1.1:
  • if you copy / paste Root1:
When you copy / paste Break Link an Instance that has an External Reference, its Reference and its Document are duplicated (only when the original Document has an External Reference).


Duplicating Documents:

If copying / pasting Break Link an object in a CATProduct, its Reference is also duplicated (its document is duplicated). The action is somewhat like Inserting a New Product.

If you duplicate in CATIA V5 an ENOVIA document via the Paste Break Link, you only obtain a document File.


  • Cut: Break Link is the unique format when applied on Components, because Components have internal References (only Break Link is available in the Paste Special window). However, if you want to cut a CATProduct, you have the choice between both formats.
    V4 models are often inserted in the product structure using Components, therefore cutting the V4 models is like cutting a Component, using break link format, i.e. the reference is deleted as the instance. Reference and instances have to be re-created at the Paste (break link) operation.
  • Drag and Drop: only the As specified in Product Structure is available.
  • Paste Special:
    • You cannot paste on two Targets at the same time
    • You cannot make a multi-format Paste, but it is possible to select several Sources at the same time and paste it at the same format.
If you copy / paste a .model As Spec (Paste Special -> As Spec) into a CATProduct in CATIA V5, the behavior is the same ilke doing a Add New Representation that is to say adding this model as a New Representation in the CATProduct. Copying As Spec consists in transferring the solid with the Geometry and History tree.

For more information about the Copy / Paste Special -> As Spec, please refer to Copying 3D from CATIA Version 4 to CATIA Version 5 in the CATIA - V4 Integration User's Guide.

Copy Semantic:

Here we review how a pair (instance, reference) is copied from the origin document to the target document via the clipboard.

In these scenario types, we are copying the instance (I) that is attached either to a local reference (LR) or to an external reference (ER).