SOLIDWORKS® 2021 improves the performance of specific tools and workflows.


Some of the highlights for performance and workflow improvements are:

SOLIDWORKS 2021 Installation Manager downloads and extracts installation media faster. Internal testing shows that the download time is improved by 25% or more compared to the methods used before SOLIDWORKS 2021.

Model Display

SOLIDWORKS 2021 improves performance for occlusion culling, silhouette edges, and drawings.

Feature Areas of Improvement
GPU-based Occlusion Culling
  • Large Assemblies
  • Parts opened in Resolved, Large Assembly Settings, and Large Design Review modes
  • Legacy or nonrender pipelines

Hidden geometry based on view direction and view frustum is not rendered. This boosts the performance and also allows the performance to scale from low-end to high-end GPUs.

GPU-based Silhouette Edges
  • Large assemblies and parts while in HLR (Hidden Lines Removed), HLG (Hidden Lines Grayed), and Wireframe modes
  • Shaded with edges and edge modes
Drawing The performance is improved for drawings when panning and zooming.
Switching Configuration of Large Assemblies
  • Large assemblies
  • Multilevel assemblies with components that have overridden properties (appearance, display mode, visibility, and referred display state)

Sheet Metal

Flat patterns use efficient algorithms to identify bend connections. This reduces the time to flatten complex sheet metal bodies with many flanges by about 20-25 times.


Assembly performance is improved when:

  • Opening resolved and lightweight assemblies
  • Opening assemblies with parts that have many configurations
  • Updating assemblies that have many mates
  • Closing assemblies without saving

Detailing Mode and Drawings

In Detailing Mode:

  • Robust referencing saves you a dramatic amount of time by eliminating the need to resolve and save to maintain final annotation and dimension associativity
  • Several new operations help to improve your overall performance while you detail your drawings. See Detailing Mode Enhancements.

For massive drawings, display performance is improved in many areas:

  • While sketches are shown:
    • Zoom and pan performance is improved substantially
    • For Zoom to Area, the shaded box keeps up with the pointer movement
  • Zoom and pan performance is more consistent regardless of zoom scale, for example, when zooming tight versus zooming to fit
  • The latency issue that occurred for the first pan is eliminated
  • Selecting and moving annotations is improved
  • Dynamic highlighting is improved

Performance is also improved when:

  • Creating and updating large section views
  • Using Auto Insert to add center marks when creating section views
  • Canceling Edit Sketch in broken-out section views
  • Creating a detail view in a section view
  • Importing a model’s cosmetic threads into a view
  • HLR background processing for high-quality display of cosmetic threads, by taking advantage of available CPU cores
  • Sorting a BOM
  • Opening drawing files
  • Selecting items in drawings
  • Saving a drawing as a .dwg file


SOLIDWORKS PDM 2021 has improved performance of file-based operations and related workflows.

  • Add Files, Check-in, and Change State

    Improvements in system performance help you to quickly open, add, check in, and change the state of files with large reference structures. The Add Files operation is between 1.5 and 3 times faster. The Check-in and Change State operations are approximately 25% faster.

    The level of improvement can vary depending on the number of files, network bandwidth, and CPU cores.

    The Check-in dialog box itself displays much more quickly (in seconds rather than minutes) for very large assemblies or parts with a high number of configurations.

  • Destroy

    You can more quickly destroy files or folders. The operation is many times faster when you are destroying a large number of files.

  • Other Operations and Workflows
    Performance is significantly improved for the following operations:
    • For folders containing a very large number of files:
      • Check-in and Check-out of a file
      • Adding a new file by dragging or by copying and pasting
      • Creating a new file from a template
    • For assemblies with a large number of components at a single level, when working in SOLIDWORKS:
      • Opening files
      • Saving files
      • Switching windows
    • Editing a target file name in the Copy Tree dialog box in a high-latency environment
    • Using Copy Tree when a user setting is added to clear variable values


The performance of simulation solvers is improved for linear static and nonlinear studies.

  • FFEPlus Iterative and Large Problem Direct Sparse solvers:

    The solution time is improved by using parallel multicore processing to calculate the stiffness for surface-to-surface elements that are in contact.

    The transfer of stiffness data between the preconditioning and equation solving steps is optimized because file-based processing is replaced with function-based processing.

    These performance gains are more apparent for large models that have at least 10% of the total elements in contact.

  • Intel Direct Sparse solver:

    The solver can handle significantly larger linear and nonlinear simulation studies by taking full advantage of available memory. When the solver exceeds the available memory, it uses available disk space to run the simulation.

    The solver can run simulations for linear static and nonlinear studies with more than 4 million equations.

  • Automatic Solver Selection:

    The default option for linear static studies considers the number of equations, load cases, and available system memory to optimize the selection of the best equation solver (Intel Direct Sparse or FFEPlus).

  • Shell Manager: Performance is improved when editing a large number of shells.
  • Load Case Manager: Performance is improved when defining sensors to track simulation results.