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Detached Drawings

Detached drawings are designed so you can open and work in drawing files without the model files being loaded into memory or even being present.

To create a detached drawing:

  1. Click Save on the Standard toolbar (for a new drawing) or File, Save As (for drawing that has been saved previously).

  2. In the Save As dialog box, select Detached Drawing (*.slddrw) for Save as type.

  3. Specify the file name, then click Save.

You can save regular drawings as Detached drawings, and vice versa.

To create a detached drawing template:

  1. Click New (Standard toolbar), or File, New.

  2. In the dialog box, click Drawing, then click OK.

  3. Click File, Save As.

  4. In the dialog box, select Detached Drawing (*.slddrw) in Save as type, then click Save.

  5. Click Save As again.

  6. In the dialog box, select Drawing Templates (*.drwdot) in Save as type, then click Save.


In the FeatureManager design tree, the icons for Detached drawings display a broken link:

Drawing icon for Detached drawing

Drawing view icon (model view) for Detached drawing with model not loaded

When a Detached drawing is out of sync with its model, it prints with a watermark that states:

SolidWorks Detached drawing – Out-of-Sync Print

Guidelines for Using Detached Drawings

You can send Detached drawings to other SolidWorks users without sending the model files. However, you can use the same workflow with eDrawings. A benefit of eDrawings is that the recipient does not need a full seat of SolidWorks.


The time required to open a drawing in Detached format may be reduced because the model files are not loaded. You have control over when to load the model, which takes time to load and update the drawing.

Resolving Models

If the referenced model is needed for you to complete an operation in a Detached drawing, you are prompted to load the model file. You can load the model by right-clicking a view and selecting Load Model. If the model is unavailable or fails to load, you cannot perform the selected operation. Model files are necessary when you want to:

  • Crop drawing views

  • Break drawing views

  • Create section views

  • Flip or change section lines

  • Insert alternate position and relative views

  • Insert model items

Lightweight Drawings

Detached drawings cannot be lightweight drawings.

Updating Views

Some changes, such as changes to a section line or projection angle, require a view update. When a drawing view requires an update, the view is displayed with a crosshatch pattern.

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