Hide Table of Contents


Opens existing part, drawing, or assembly documents and imports files from other applications.

To open existing part, assembly, or drawing documents:

  1. Click Open (Standard toolbar) or File, Open, or press Ctrl+O.

You can open existing drawings from inside part and assembly documents. Right-click the top item in the FeatureManager design tree or anywhere on the model in the graphics area and select Open Drawing. SolidWorks looks for a drawing with the same name as the model, in the same folder as the model. If the drawing exists, it opens automatically. If such a drawing is not found, a browse window appears so you can locate a drawing manually.

  1. In the dialog box, select a file type in Files of type.

  2. Browse to select a document or documents.

Text appears in the Description field if a description exists in the document properties or was added when the document was saved.

  1. Select from the following options:

    • Down arrow (next to the Open button):

      • Open Read-Only. Allows another user to have write access to the document while you have the document open. You cannot save or change the part in Read-Only mode.

      • Show previous versions.

      • Add to Favorites. Creates a shortcut to the selected document in your Favorites folder.

  • Configurations. Specifies which configuration of the model to open. Select <Advanced> to open the Configure Document dialog box (assemblies only).

  • Thumbnail. Displays an image of the selected configuration. If the configuration is not previewed, open the document and save it with each configuration selected. The next time you open the document, the configurations are displayed.

  • Display States. (Parts and Assemblies). Specifies a display state in which to open the model.

    • Do not load hidden components. (Assemblies). Loads only those assembly components that are visible in the selected display state.

  • Mode

    • Resolved. (Parts, Assemblies, Drawings). Fully loads all model data into memory.

    • Quick view. (Parts). Opens the part for viewing only. You can select the configuration but not the display state. You can pan, zoom, or rotate, but you cannot edit, use measure, or save the document. In part documents, you can change to edit mode by right-clicking in the graphics area and selecting Edit.

    • Quick view. (Drawings). Opens a simplified representation of the drawing. For multi-sheet drawings, you can open one or more sheets in Quick view.

    • Lightweight. (Assemblies, Drawings). Loads only a subset of model data into memory. The remaining model data is loaded on an as-needed basis. Opening in lightweight mode improves the performance of assemblies and drawings.

    • Large Assembly Mode. (Assemblies). Sets a collection of settings that improves the performance of large assemblies.

    • Large Design Review. (Assemblies). Opens very large assemblies quickly, while still retaining capabilities that are useful when conducting design reviews of assemblies.

  • Use Speedpak. (Available in assemblies in Resolved, Lightweight, or Large Assembly Mode.) Opens an assembly using Speedpak configurations to improve performance when opening large, complex assemblies.

  • References. Displays a list of the documents referenced by the currently selected assembly or drawing. You can edit the locations of the listed files.

  • Options. Import options are available for certain types of files (IGES or STL, for example). The button appears if the selected type of file has import options.

  1. Click Open to open the document.

 When opening files from a previous release of SolidWorks, the files may open slowly. SolidWorks Task Scheduler converts files so they open more rapidly.  

When you open a drawing of a large assembly, Mode is automatically set to Lightweight, but you can select another mode from the list.

Large documents open in multi-threaded retrieval mode.

You can also open documents directly from Windows Explorer, and open recent documents from the File menu or the Recent Documents browser.

Provide feedback on this topic

SOLIDWORKS welcomes your feedback concerning the presentation, accuracy, and thoroughness of the documentation. Use the form below to send your comments and suggestions about this topic directly to our documentation team. The documentation team cannot answer technical support questions. Click here for information about technical support.

* Required

Subject:   Feedback on Help Topics
Page:   Open
*   I acknowledge I have read and I hereby accept the privacy policy under which my Personal Data will be used by Dassault Systèmes

Print Topic

Select the scope of content to print:


We have detected you are using a browser version older than Internet Explorer 7. For optimized display, we suggest upgrading your browser to Internet Explorer 7 or newer.

 Never show this message again

Web Help Content Version: SOLIDWORKS 2012 SP05

To disable Web help from within SOLIDWORKS and use local help instead, click Help > Use SOLIDWORKS Web Help.

To report problems encountered with the Web help interface and search, contact your local support representative. To provide feedback on individual help topics, use the “Feedback on this topic” link on the individual topic page.