As a Pro|e-to-SOLIDWORKS convert, one of the first things I noticed that was vastly different between the platforms was the community. SOLIDWORKS users are simply more numerous, passionate and vocal. This is part of what makes SOLIDWORKS such a great platform! This passion for, not only the products we develop, but for the software itself - drives the direction of the development team which in turn brings hundreds of enhancements to an already feature-rich platform every year.
Something that I always find interesting when speaking with fellow users, whether at a SOLIDWORKS User Group Network (SWUGN) or at their workplace, is their policy on upgrading to the latest release. Many clients I interact with tell me that they only upgrade when Service Pack 1 (SP1) has been released, or SP3, or even as late as SP5! Let’s look at six reasons why you shouldn’t wait to upgrade to the latest version of SOLIDWORKS.
1. Major Software Enhancements
Each year SOLIDWORKS releases hundreds of user-driven enhancements, bug fixes, new features and products. Each of these enhancements is dedicated to improving the users’ experience and increasing productivity. Since SOLIDWORKS 1.0 was released there have been roughly 7,000 enhancements.
Not only does SOLIDWORKS introduce new functionality to the software each year, but they also improve access to previous functionality through a process called “Waterfall.” This simply means that SOLIDWORDS improves the value of SOLIDWORKS Standard and Professional by enabling high-level features in these non-premium packages.
3. Improved Performance and Reduced File Size
Every year SOLIDWORKS developers work tirelessly to bring performance improvements to the software based on feedback from the user base. These typically revolve around large parts, assemblies and patterns but the team also focuses on improving open/save operations as well as seemingly small UI improvements that dramatically boost day-to-day productivity.
For example, in the upcoming 2019 SOLIDWORKS update, you are able to zoom, pan and rotate much smoother than you were in 2018 as you can see in the animation below.
4. Backward Compatibility
Very few teams work in a vacuum which means that we need to be able to communicate effectively with other design teams in our company, as well as vendors, suppliers and others. Sharing SOLIDWORKS files with these teams is critical to the success of a project. However, upgrading to the latest release doesn’t mean leaving those teams and others behind, even if they use the previous release for a while longer. This is because backward compatibility is maintained through the SP5 release.
5. The Mythical "Bug-Free" Service Pack
Is your company’s policy to wait until SP2 before upgrading so that you can avoid the “early release” bugs in SP0 and SP1? You may want to re-think that strategy. The risk of experiencing a bug in any service pack is the same, but if you elect to upgrade early – or better yet, participate in the Beta – not only do you get the benefit of having that bug potentially fixed in a few months, but you also benefit from the productivity gained by using the latest software.
6. Upgrading is Easy
The best part about upgrading is how easy it is. You don’t have to wait for a DVD to come in the mail. You don’t even have to go to the SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal to download it. Simply click on the Start button on your Windows machine and go to the “SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager” folder and click on “Check for Updates."
Download our guide to get the complete details about these 6 reasons to update SOLIDWORKS at initial release.