What’s New in SolidWorks 2017?

SOLIDWORKS 2017 is upon us and it is a beast. I love the themes: Innovate, Design, Validate, Collaborate, and Build & Manage. These describe any product development, or at least what everyone strives to do when they are developing a new product.

“With more core power and performance, and new capabilities for emerging technologies, it’s never been easier to design and create with SOLIDWORKS®, the design and development solution chosen by more than 3.1 million users worldwide.”


The goal of any good design software is to make it that the software doesn’t get it the way of you getting something done. SOLIDWORKS 2017 includes user interface (UI) updates to make it easier to focus on the design and less on the picks-and-clicks. 

User Interface Updates

UI updates include:

  • Customizing the Configuration sort order
  • Disabling Selection Accelerator toolbars
  • FeatureManager Design Tree Comment enhancements
  • Selection Breadcrumb enhancements
  • Shortcut menu standardization
  • (my favorite) Dynamic Reference updates to make it clearer

Dynamic Reference Updates



SOLIDWORKS PCBPowered by Altium” takes all the tools and features of Altium’s PCB technology and presents it in the SOLIDWORKS environment. The goal is to combine electronic design with the mechanical design of SOLIDWORKS.



With SOLIDWORKS PCB you can:

  • Route based on design constraints with Interactive Routing, AutoRoute, Multi-Track, and Differential Pair
  • Locate and select new components with real-time supplier data, including costing and availability
  • Incorporate 3D models within the PCB Design environment and verify electro-mechanical design intent

“In an age of unparalleled innovation, collaboration and design, all three need to start somewhere, sometime, somehow. That place is here. That time is now. And the how is with the SOLIDWORKS innovation portfolio. We provide you with the flexibility, choice, and simplicity of the greatest design technologies to enable you to drive innovation.” – Gian Paolo Bassi, CEO SOLIDWORKS, Dassault Systèmes.


The key to SOLIDWORKS 2017 is MORE POWER! It is bigger, stronger, and faster.

“More core power and performance to get your job done faster”

Assembly Performance

Assembly performance is much improved with larger assemblies. One big focus was with assemblies with hundreds of mates, you can now drag components much quicker and smoother compared to 2016. Other areas of performance improvements include rebuilding assembly features and showing hidden components.

New tools, Asset Publisher, Ground Mates, and Magnetic Mates, speed equipment layouts, especially with larger assemblies. Magnetic Mates, deal with the challenges of loading and interacting with a large number of parts and how they need to stay related to each other. With Magnetic Mates you build in connection points within the component so when it is placed into an assembly it automatically snaps into position without the need to create a mate. If in the wrong location you can re-snap the component into a new location.

SOLIDWORKS Assembly Layout

To improve the placement of components being mated, SOLIDWORKS 2017 uses where you click on each component being mated. The components are now placed with the clicked locations near each other. No more having to zoom, rotate, pan to move the mated component into the correct location.

More tools are available while you wait for components to fully resolve. This includes access to the FeatureManager design tree, measuring distances, creating cross sections, and toggling the visibility of components.

New system options have been introduced to reduce the number of rebuilds and other time-consuming operations with large assemblies.

Part Modeling Updates

To quote my favorite childhood cartoon character “I have the POWER!“, Dassault focused part modeling enhancements within SOLIDWORKS 2017 to provide a better user experience along with improved and refined features.

  • The new Advanced Hole Wizard creates and reuses customized holes
  • Bidirectional Circular Patterns
  • Create multi-variable Chamfers with the same advanced options as found in the Fillet feature
  • Switch a Chamfer to a Fillet or Fillet to a Chamfer
  • Sheet Metal support for three-bend corners
  • Thread Enhancements
  • Wrap geometry on any Face
  • Offset 3D Curve on surfaces with multiple faces


“Greater design ideas that lead to breakthrough innovations”

SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION 2017speeds up the process to find creative breakthroughs for your products, giving you greater insight to your design and improving productivity.” New tools include:

  • Stress Hot Spot diagnostics tool detects regions of the model showing the highest
  • Instantly Convert Studies from Linear Static to Non-Linear or Dynamic with a single click
  • Editing Multiple Contact Sets
  • Communicate your analysis using SOLIDWORKS RealView to display Simulation results
  • Offload the simulation to another computer connected on your local network

SOLIDWORKS 2017 Simulation

SOLIDWORKS Costing provides designers gain insight into what parts cost to manufacturer and can explore different methods of manufacture. Within SOLIDWORKS 2017, Costing has been improved:

  • with enhanced features recognition to handle “special” geometry cases
  • with costing templates now including rule-based options so that they more accurately reflect your manufacturing processes
  • with new subassembly options, like using either a Flat Tree or a Nested Tree
  • with Template enhancements


col·lab·o·ra·tion | noun | the action of working with someone to produce or create something

SOLIDWORKS 2017 Technical-Communications

SOLIDWORKS 2017 includes an almost countless amount of updates in the area of collaboration. This includes many updates in the areas of faster 2D drawing creation, drawing dimensioning & detailing, DimXpert, eDrawing updates, and the new 3D Interconnect.

With SOLIDWORKS 207 3D Interconnect you attach 3rd party CAD files into your assemblies without the need to convert them into the SOLIDWORKS format. The referenced models stay associative with the original file so that changes are reflected within SOLIDWORKS. 3D Interconnect supports data from PTC Creo, Autodesk Inventor, Siemens NX, Siemens SolidEdge, and Dassault CATIA.

Mesh files can now be imported without the need for the Scan to 3D add-in. The mesh data is converted into solid and/or surface bodies.

The DimXpert module includes many enhancements:

  • Creating Basic Size Dimensions
  • General Block Tolerance
  • Multiple Edge Selection
  • Use of Reference Geometry with DimXpert Dimension
  • Using Datums in Auto Dimension Schemes
  • Using Polar Dimension Schemes for Geometrically Toleranced Parts

eDRAWINGS support more native formats, meaning you can work with CATIA and Autodesk Inventor files just like other eDrawing files. This means you can manipulate the geometry, markup, and measure these CAD formats directly.


Data integration from concept to manufacturing to drive business needs”

SOLIDWORKS 2017 MBD (Model Based Definition) includes many enhancements to more quickly (and accurately) present the information:

  • Basic dimensions for features of size and fully automated Polar Dimensioning Schemes.
  • Much more intuitive” dimensioning process by allowing direct referencing of edges
  • Accurately dimension cast or molded parts to easily create intersection geometry between drafted surfaces
  • Publish 3D PDFs at different accuracy levels, giving you control over file size and quality
  • Attach other files to the PDF, including automatic creation of STEP AP242 files
  • 3D PMI Compare to compare annotations, reference dimensions, and other annotations between two part documents.


SOLIDWORKS 2017 includes methods of evaluating a model before 3D Printing it for things like thickness and gaps with printing with Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).

SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017 provides improved workflows to keep your design data under control and ensuring everyone is always working with the right version. This includes improved MBD support with the ability to generate 3D PDFs automatically, 3D Interconnect support to track the attached 3rd party CAD data, and the ability to overwrite versions to minimize clutter.

Featured Image “Power” by Clifton.