How to Use Future Version Components in SOLIDWORKS

By Stephen Petrock on September 3, 2020

Every year SOLIDWORKS releases a new version of its software with amazing enhancements. This is great until we encounter a file compatibility issue between yearly versions. In this week's Video Tech Tip, we show you how to open a file that is from the latest version with Version Interoperability in SOLIDWORKS.

If you’ve been using SOLIDWORKS, you probably know what I’m talking about. That’s right. This is the error I’m talking about.

File open error in SOLIDWORKS

This is because your version of SOLIDWORKS is trying to open a file that was saved in a newer version of SOLIDWORKS. Now although disheartening, this is common. Older things can’t work with newer things. You can’t use your VHS player to watch Blu-ray movies (that’s ok, I have a closet full of VHS movies). All that said, there is a workaround!


The last service pack of an earlier release can open files from the next year’s SOLIDWORKS. For example, you could use SOLIDWORKS 2019 SP5 to open and work with SOLIDWORKS 2020 files. We call this Future Version Files. You can still create parts, assemblies and drawings with a future version but in a limited function. You can measure, take mass properties and look at your future version part file, but you can’t add new features. Bummer. However, you can take those future version part files and add them to your assembly. You can create mates and suppress/unsuppress them. You can also create drawings and create BOMs.

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