Why is the file preview missing in my SOLIDWORKS Open dialog?

Article by Rob Greer, CSWP updated November 28, 2011


Recently I experienced a problem with SOLIDWORKS where there was no preview of my model displayed in the File > Open dialog. As you can see in the figure below the preview icon was displayed instead of the actual model?

No preview shown

No preview shown

At some point I must have enabled an option that caused this behavior (I can’t tell you why or when though).  Even though the issue was seen in SOLIDWORKS, the setting is actually a Windows File Explorer option. So let’s have a look at the option and one other in the same area.

Reactivating the file preview

Here’s how to get to the option. In File Explorer, click on the Tools menu.  If the menu is not showing in File Explorer press the “Alt” key. There’s actually an option for showing the menu in the same area that we’re heading to.  In the Tools menu, click Folder Options.

Get to File options

Access File Options

To show previews in the dialog make sure that the option titled, “Always show icons, never thumbnails” is disabled.

Options dialog

Options dialog

Now the SOLIDWORKS model preview is displayed in the open dialog as shown below:

Preview showing

Preview showing

When previews are showing, you can also show a small icon superimposed on the image that shows you what type of file it is.  That option is in the same location and is titled “Display File Icon on Thumbnails”.  Enable it to see the icon.

Preview showing with Icon

Preview showing with Icon

By the way, the menu option I mentioned earlier is in the same location and it’s titled “Always Show Menus”.  Enable it to see the menus.

That’s it!

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Rob Greer, CSWP