Key Terms for the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform


The Compass is the gateway to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. It lets you access roles and apps in the platform.


A role lets you use a selected group of apps and services useful for a specific job. You can have multiple roles and your administrator can create a custom role for you.

As a user of the Design with SOLIDWORKS app, you are assigned to the Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS role. This role lets you:
  • Search for, store, and manage files in collaborative spaces on the platform
  • Share files with team members and collaborate using product lifecycle management features
  • Access additional apps and services such as the 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace

All SOLIDWORKS users working with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform are also assigned to the 3DSwymer and Collaborative Industry Innovator roles. These roles include access to 3DSpace, 3DSearch, 3DDrive, and 3DPlay apps and other apps that help you manage your workflow. 3DPlay is an enhanced widget to substitute for eDrawings.

Collaborative Spaces

A collaborative space is a secure area on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform where you can store and manage files and use version control features to collaborate with team members. Collaborative spaces can manage files for projects and content libraries. You can have access to multiple collaborative spaces.

Collaborative space owners and administrators can add members to spaces and assign access roles that include permissions to perform actions such as reading, evaluating, creating, and editing files.

Users with certain permissions can also create new collaborative spaces, lock files so other team members cannot modify them, and move files through maturity states such as In Work, Frozen, or Released.

Physical Product

A physical product is a configuration of a part or assembly that can be manufactured. When you save a .sldprt or .sldasm file to a collaborative space, each configuration becomes a physical product with a unique part number that you can find in searches.


A representation is configuration that cannot be manufactured, such as an exploded, flattened, or defeatured view of a part or assembly. Representations have the same part number on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform as the physical product with which they are associated.

CAD Family and CAD Family Objects

A CAD family is one or more configurations of a part or an assembly. It can include multiple physical products (manufacturable configurations). A CAD family object is the root or top-level configuration. You must save all the physical products in a CAD family in the same collaborative space.

For details, see About the Compass, Roles, and Apps in Dassault Systèmes User Assistance. Access to Dassault Systèmes User Assistance requires 3DEXPERIENCE credentials.