Increasing SOLIDWORKS Drawing Performance

Article by Joe Medeiros, CSWE updated November 1, 2010


Here are recommended options and best practices for increasing SOLIDWORKS drawing performance and reduce processing time when making changes:

Select Sheets to Open

Let’s start with the Open dialog box. By using “Select Sheets to Open”, you select the sheet(s) you need to work on. The remaining sheets can be viewed in “Quick View”, which is a read-only mode that provides a simplified representation of the drawing.

To load a sheet, right-click on the sheet or the sheet’s tab and select “Load Sheet”.

Note:  you can also choose not to load any sheets if you only wish to view the drawing.

increasing SOLIDWORKS Drawing Performance with Select Sheets to Load

Select Sheets to Load

Large Assembly and Lightweight mode

As with assemblies “Large Assembly Mode” and “Lightweight mode” are also effective at increasing SOLIDWORKS drawing performance, by reducing the amount of information that is being loaded. Large Assembly Mode is configurable from Tools > Options > System Options > Assemblies. Lightweight mode can be triggered through Large Assembly Mode, the Open dialog box or Tools > Options > System Options > Performance.

Large Assembly Option

Large Assembly Option

Detached Drawings

Detached drawings do not load the component(s) referenced by the drawing, but still allow you to:

  • Apply dimensions
  • Create derived views such as projected, section & detail views
  • Scale the views.
  • Change the display of tangent edges.

Certain operations require loading the component(s). These operations include:

  • Insert Model Items
  • Display Style
  • Rotate” & “3D Drawing View

To load component(s) right-click on a drawing view and select “Load Model”

A detached drawing is created from the “Save As” dialog box by selecting “Detached Drawing” from the “Save as Type” pull-down.  The same method is used to convert a Detached Drawing to a regular drawing.

Detached Drawing file type

Detached Drawing file type

If there have been model changes since the component(s) were last loaded in the drawing, a warning will appear to inform you that some views are out of date.

Setting drawing views that are not being worked on to shaded, can also release system resources for the views that are being worked on.

Separate Drawings

While it can be handy to have all the components of an assembly referenced in a single multi-sheet drawing, this approach can lead to resource intensive drawings that offer poor performance and are prone to crashing. A good practice is to have a separate drawing for each component.  This approach will also facilitate data management.

Increasing SOLIDWORKS drawing performance training

To learn more best practices for increasing SOLIDWORKS drawing performance you should attend our SOLIDWORKS Drawings training course either online or in a classroom near you.

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Joe Medeiros, CSWE

Joe Medeiros is a SOLIDWORKS and PDM Certified Expert. He has been helping SOLIDWORKS users with training, mentoring and implementations since 1998. He combines industry experience with a thorough understanding of SOLIDWORKS products to assist customers in being successful. He shares his experience and expertise through blogs; one of which has been incorporated into the SOLIDWORKS Essentials training manual.