Hide Table of Contents

Lightweight Components

You can load an assembly with its active components fully resolved or lightweight. Both parts and sub-assemblies can be lightweight.

  • When a component is fully resolved, all its model data is loaded in memory.

  • When a component is lightweight, only a subset of its model data is loaded in memory. The remaining model data is loaded on an as-needed basis.

You can improve performance of large assemblies significantly by using lightweight components. Loading an assembly with lightweight components is faster than loading the same assembly with fully resolved components. Assemblies with lightweight components rebuild faster because less data is evaluated.

Lightweight components are efficient because the full model data for the components is loaded only as it is needed. Only components that are affected by changes that you make in the current editing session become fully resolved. You can perform the following assembly operations on lightweight components without resolving them:

  • Add/remove mates

  • Interference detection

  • Edge/face/component selection

  • Collision detection

  • Assembly features

  • Annotations

  • Measure

  • Dimensions

  • Section properties

  • Assembly reference geometry

  • Mass properties

  • Section views

  • Exploded views

  • Advanced component selection

  • Physical simulation


When a component is lightweight, a feather appears on the component icon in the FeatureManager design tree.

To enable automatic lightweight loading of components:

  1. Click Options (Standard toolbar) or Tools, Options.

  2. On the System Options tab, select Performance.

  3. Under Assemblies, select Automatically load components lightweight.

If the previous option is not selected, you can manually open an assembly with its components lightweight.

To manually open an assembly with lightweight components:

  1. Click File, Open.

    The Open dialog box appears.

  2. Select Lightweight, browse to the assembly file, and click Open.

    All components of the assembly are loaded lightweight.

To set one or more resolved components to lightweight:

  • For a single component, right-click the component and select Set to Lightweight.

  • For an entire assembly, right-click the top level assembly icon and select Set Resolved to Lightweight.

  • For a sub-assembly and its components, right-click the sub-assembly icon and select Set Resolved to Lightweight.

Related Topics

Component Suppression States

Loading Additional Model Data

Simplified Representations of Assemblies




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:   Lightweight Components
*   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.