SolidWorks Tips & Tricks - General
My own versions of tips and tricks that I use when working with SolidWorks. These tips are not intended to be a repeat of tips you can find elsewhere on the internet.


Your local computer.

    • Where possible, load SolidWorks documents from your local computer. Accessing files from your local computer is faster than loading the files from the network. NOTE: Generally, files on the local computer may not get backed up by networked based backup software.
    • Review my Windows Tips and Tricks.
    • For more information, review this article in the SolidWorks Express newsletter.

    SolidWorks in general.

    • Turn off the gradient background and shadows.
    • If you are using a graphics card that supports OpenGL, make sure the "Use Software OpenGL" is turned OFF.
    • Turn off any add-ins you are not going to be using.
    • Stay up to date with the latest service packs.
    • Set your "TempSWBackupDirectory" backup directory to a "local" directory (not on the network). Clean out this directory and the Windows\Temp directory periodically.
    • Set the "SolidWorks Journal File" to save on a "local" directory (not on the network).
    • Don't start a SolidWorks session by double-clicking on a file on a network drive. This may place the SolidWorks journal file in the current directory which will slow SolidWorks' performance.

    SolidWorks file sizes.

    • Beyond the content of the SolidWorks document, there are other factors that affect file size.
      • The data that is being displayed at the time the file is saved. This is because SolidWorks adds a preview bitmap to the document when the file is saved. If you have a model with multiple configurations, SolidWorks will create a preview bitmap of each configuration accessed during the session and saves those images to the files as well.
      • Backup data or 'OLE memory leak?'. This will typically double the size of a SolidWorks document. This information may be useful to SolidWorks when attempting to recover a corrupt document.

    • Here a few steps that can be taken to reduce the size of SolidWorks documents.
      • Unfragment your files on a regular periodically to reduce file size and fragmentation and remove unnecessary information. CAUTION: this will reduce the backup data and can render a corrupt file useless.
      • Using " File | Save As " to the same will also reduce the file size, but....
      • Using " File | Save As " to a different filename may reduce the size even further. NOTE: "Save As" to a different file name does not create a backup of the current file.

    Working with SolidWorks documents.

    • Turn ON shaded display. Generally, graphics will run faster in shaded mode.
    • Turn OFF HLR (Hidden Lines Removed) in shaded mode. Using HLR will slow down graphics performance.
    • If you have to use wireframe, then turn ON 'Fast HLR' to improve graphics performance while rotating the model.
    • Use 'Fast' instead of 'High Quality' for shaded models when working with large assemblies.
    • Avoid using transparent models. If necessary, turn OFF the 'High Quality' settings.
    • Load models lightweight. Only resolve models you are currently working with or need to reference.
    • Enable large assembly mode in SolidWorks.
    • Turn off the gradient background and shadows.
    • Simplify your models. Models and drawings take a long time to generate complex geometry. The less detail that exists your models and drawings, means there will be less detail that needs to be generated by SolidWorks in the graphics view.
    • Hide components that do not need to be shown. This reduces the amount of geometry that needs to be generated by SolidWorks in the graphics view.
    • Check out my Tips & Tricks for parts, assemblies, drawings and Windows for more information. All of these are accessible thru the menu at the left.

    Speed up accessing SolidWorks documents.

    • Turn OFF the "Update mass properties while saving document" option.
    • Turn OFF the "Save eDrawings data in SolidWorks document" option, unless you need it. This feature is no longer needed in SolidWorks 2004.