When visiting our clients, we have noticed a trend. Some teams decide not to upgrade their SOLIDWORKS with yearly updates or service packs. Many of our clients have chosen to stay around SOLIDWORKS 2016 for many reasons, but mainly due to the comfort zone formed after prolonged use. But as we move into SOLIDWORKS 2019, there are simply too many optimizations and improvements to ignore! This new edition of SOLIDWORKS focuses on the entire ecosystem of taking a design from a preliminary idea to a final product by putting a spotlight on quality and assembly performance, along with a ton of other tool developments we would love to see you take advantage of. This post will briefly discuss some of our favorite improvements.
Open Dialog Box
With any software, the Open Dialog Box tends to be a rather simple menu of searching and opening the item you wish to work on. The SOLIDWORKS 2016 Open Dialog Box is just that, a rather plain tool. But SOLIDWORKS has an improved Open Dialog Box that many of us will immediately take advantage of. This is how the old 2016 and current 2019 dialog boxes appear:
With the new SOLIDWORKS Open Dialog Box, we have a true welcome page that lets the user find and open parts in the most convenient way. There are tabs located near the top of the window with the following functions:
- Home Tab- Allows you to create a new part, assembly and drawing file. The “Advanced…” button will take you to a new window which will prompt you to select a template that your team has created.
- Recent Tab- Now this option has up to 100 recently used documents as well as a “Quick filter” and a search bar to make finding frequently used files much faster (great for multitaskers!).
- Resolved, Lightweight, Large Assembly Mode, Large Design Review- All of these options will allow you to open parts, as seen below. Configurations and Display States can also be chosen before the file is even opened. Click the double arrows that appear when the mouse is over the recent document to open this menu.
- Learn and Alert Tabs- These display tutorials, training files, a certification portal and alerts on when new SOLIDWORKS editions or service packs are available.
When dealing with a large assembly, it helps to identify components that can be simplified to enhance the performance of your file. There are two ways of doing this, both of which have been added in SOLIDWORKS 2018 and greatly improved on in 2019, extending the capabilities to drawings as well. First, when opening any file in SOLIDWORKS, a box showing the loading progress will appear right on top of the software. For an assembly, the loading involves opening all components, updating the assembly and updating graphics. You can watch the loading to see which parts have taken the longest to open and choose to alter and simplify the file if necessary.
You can also take advantage of the SOLIDWORKS Performance Evaluation tool which goes even more in-depth into your CAD files. This tool breaks down each component of an assembly into opening time, graphics triangles, rebuild performance and setting performance. This is a great way to make performance adjustments per part, per mate or per setting.
As you can see, there are a few things I need to adjust so my model can perform better. However, now I know exactly where my issue is, and I don’t need to waste my time adjusting my model in ways that will not ultimately help.
Admittedly, this one is a bit personal, but I’m willing to bet every single SOLIDWORKS user has experienced it. Needing to close out of a command to take a measurement, especially one that determines the input for the command tool, becomes frustrating. Now, this is no longer the case; while a command is open and waiting for inputs, you may open your measurement tool and extract data without closing out of the command. While there are very involved improvements as mentioned previously, there are also more subtle improvements such as this one that really makes a difference in our behavior within SOLIDWORKS.
BreadCrumbs was first introduced with SOLIDWORKS 2016 as a way to quickly access information without looking in the Feature Manager. There was also a keyboard shortcut (D) which brought the BreadCrumbs to the cursor. Now, this is done automatically, which is great if we want to quickly alter a feature. Upon selection of a feature, the BreadCrumbs will automatically appear near your cursor, eliminating the squinty-eyed search for a feature. This fantastic tool for saving time can now be automated to streamline your design flow even further.
These new updates don’t even scratch the surface of what’s coming out in SOLIDWORKS 2019. If your team has a subscription with us, you are eligible to upgrade your SOLIDWORKS to edition 2019, and we encourage you to! We understand that updates take time, so we suggest you update your SOLIDWORKS software at least twice a year with Service Packs (out of the five that occur) to keep your tools and workspace up-to-date. If you have questions or issues upgrading to the latest version of SOLIDWORKS, contact our tech support at 888.874.6324 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparing to upgrade? Check out our blog, SOLIDWORKS 2019: Tips for a Successful Upgrade to ensure the the transition goes smoothly.