STL, 3D Manufacturing Format, and Additive Manufacturing File Export Options

You can set export options when you export SOLIDWORKS part or assembly documents as STL (.stl), 3D Manufacturing Format (.3mf), and Additive Manufacturing File (.amf) files.

To set the export options:

  1. Click File > Save As.
  2. In Save as type, select STL (*.stl), 3D Manufacturing Format (*.3mf), or Additive Manufacturing File (*.amf) and click Options.
  3. Select from the options described below, then click OK.
    Option Description
    File Format Displays the selected file format.
    Output as For Additive Manufacture File format, select Compress file to compress the file.

    For STL file format, select the output format supported by the target system:

    • Binary: smaller than ASCII files.
    • ASCII: supported on more system.

    For Unit, select the unit of measure.

    Resolution Controls the tessellation of non-planar surfaces for Stereolithography (STL) output. A lower deviation setting produces a more-finely-tessellated STL file. Files generated with higher accuracy settings (increased tessellation) are larger in size and slower to generate.

    Coarse or Fine

    Preset resolutions.


    • Move the Deviation slider to adjust the deviation Tolerance, which controls whole-part tessellation. Lower numbers generate files with greater whole-part accuracy.
    • Move the Angle slider to adjust the angle Tolerance, which controls small-detail tessellation. Lower numbers generate files with greater small-detail accuracy, but those files take longer to generate.
    As you move the two sliders, the corresponding concentric circles adjust accordingly. The circles show approximately how the tessellation will vary as a result of the settings. (See Preview below.)

    Show STL info before file saving

    Displays a dialog box (when you click Save in the Save As dialog box) that contais the following information: Triangles (number), File Size, File Format, and the directory path and file name.

    Show 3MF info before saving file

    Displays a dialog box (when you click Save in the Save As dialog box) that contains the following information: Triangles (number), File Size, File Format, and the directory path and file name.

    Preview before saving file

    Displays a faceted model preview in the graphics area and displays the Triangles (number) and File size information in the Export Options dialog box.

    STL format The following three options are supported for STL format only:
    Do not translate STL output data to positive space Makes exported parts maintain their original position in global space, relative to the origin.
    Save all components of an assembly in a single file (assemblies only) Saves the assembly and its components in a single .stl file.
    Check for interferences (assemblies only) Performs an interference check on an assembly document prior to saving. Export of an assembly with coincident or interfering bodies to a single .stl file produces a file that may be unsuitable for some rapid prototyping systems. It is recommended that you check for interference between the components prior to saving the assembly document. For more information, see Interference Detection.
    3D Manufacturing Format The following options are supported for 3D Manufacturing Format file:
    Include materials Includes base materials with the exported file.
    Include appearences Includes appearances with the exported file. Only surface mapped textural appearances are exported to .3mf.
    Additive Manufacturing File Format The following two options are supported for Additive Manufacturing File format:
    Include materials Includes the materials that have been applied to the parts or bodies.

    The hierarchy of materials is as follows:

    If the material applied to a three body part is steel and the material applied to Body A is copper, then the body materials are:

    • Body A = copper
    • Body B = steel
    • Body C = steel
    Include colors Includes the colors defined in the model's appearance settings.
    Output coordinate system Select a coordinate system to apply for export. If you select -- default --, no transformation matrix is applied.
  4. Click Save to export the document.