Hidden Tricks When Opening SOLIDWORKS Files

By Michelle Elam on April 7, 2017

Do you have large models that are time-consuming to open, drawings that refer to the wrong model, too many sheets slowing down performance or assembly files that won't open at all? We have the hidden tricks you are looking for when opening SOLIDWORKS files.

SOLIDWORKS Open Dialog Box

The SOLIDWORKS Open Dialog Box has many tools that you may not have noticed, and they vary depending on the file type you are opening. The following hidden tricks are not available when opening files from Windows Explorer, so either use the SOLIDWORKS Open Dialog, or the Recent File list.

Opening Parts

When opening a part in SOLIDWORKS, the options should look like this:

how to open solidworks file

  • Mode: The default is Resolved, but if you select this drop down the file can be opened in Quick View, which is a view only mode.
  • Configurations: This will give a list of all configurations in the part. Here, you can choose which configuration you want to open the part to directly without waiting on the file to load before changing it. 
  • Display States: Like the configurations, you can also choose a Display State you want to open before loading the file.
  • References: If the part was created using a master model/derived part, you can change which file it is referencing, if any.  This option is used more frequently in drawings and some assemblies. 

Opening Assemblies

Similar to when opening parts, the Mode, Configurations, Display States and Reference options all work relatively the same when opening SOLIDWORKS Assemblies. The only differences are:

solidworks the file for this component cannot be located

  • Mode: For assemblies, the mode option includes Resolved, Lightweight, Large Assembly Mode and Large Design review. There are system options that control when those kick in automatically, but those can be overridden for any specific file. So next time your boss or client pops in wanting to look at that assembly that takes forever to open, try setting the mode to Large Design Review to get it up quickly.
  • Configurations and Display States: These both give a choice of which one to load when the file opens, but the Configuration list has one extra selection in assemblies that has a lot of power.

Still having trouble getting the assembly to open? Try using the <Advanced> option in the Configurations list.

 Hidden Tricks When Opening SOLIDWORKS Files

Choose the New configuration showing assembly structure only option, and give the new configuration a name.

Hidden Tricks When Opening SOLIDWORKS Files

This option will create a new configuration with all components suppressed. If the assembly opens this way, then the problem is usually in opening one of the part files. Start unsuppressing a few at a time to find the problem component.

Hidden Tricks When Opening SOLIDWORKS Files

Opening Drawings

Drawings can use Mode to open in Resolved, Lightweight or Quick View. But my favorites are:

Hidden Tricks When Opening SOLIDWORKS Files

  • References: If you have drawings that need to use a different part or assembly, click the References button and change what files are referenced by double clicking the name or folder.

 Hidden Tricks When Opening SOLIDWORKS Files

  • Select Sheets: If the file has more than one sheet, this is another good way to open drawings. If there are many sheets, you can choose which ones have models loaded into RAM in addition to which sheet is active once opened.
    Hidden Tricks When Opening SOLIDWORKS FilesOr you can also use the None option at the top to load all sheets in View Only mode. This is a good troubleshooting technique for drawings that have trouble opening, similar to the <Advanced> option for assemblies. You then have the option to load each sheet one at a time.  

Opening Via The Recent History List

The last hidden trick when opening files is to use the SOLIDWORKS hotkey R to bring up the graphical Recent History dialog. When you hover over a picture, double arrows will appear in the lower right corner. Click on the double arrows (where the red arrow is pointing below):

Hidden Tricks When Opening SOLIDWORKS Files

After clicking the double arrows, a preview box will expand to show the extra options:

Hidden Tricks When Opening SOLIDWORKS Files


Want to learn more tips and tricks Read more of our top blogs on SOLIDWORKS files.