How to make the SOLIDWORKS 2016 Interface “look” like prior versions

Article by Chris Briand, CSWE updated April 18, 2016


No one said that change was easy…sometimes change is hard…and sometimes change is simply unexpected. It is in listening to customer feedback that SOLIDWORKS has implemented some additional changes to the User Interface in SOLIDWORKS 2016. Making your need to change that little bit easier. If you are one of those folks who long for the return of the coloured icons and interface of the previous SOLIDWORKS version, you’re in luck with the release of SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP3!

SOLIDWORKS has been hard at work “re-tuning” some of the UI (User Interface) adjustments that were made to the 2016 release in the earlier service packs.

In order to set the user interface colours so that they appear as prior releases you will need to jump into the options dialog and adjust a few settings.  Tools > Options > System Options > Colors

  • Set the “Icon Color” option to “Classic”
  • Set the “Background” (Formerly Interface Brightness) to the “Medium Light” setting.
System Options

System Options

With those few options set, things should return to the SOLIDWORKS interface that you have grown to love since the “New” interface was introduced in 2008…(there are still fistfights going on about that interface change).

SOLIDWORKS 2016 Interface


Let us know which UI you prefer in the comments area below.

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Chris Briand, CSWE

Chris has been educating and supporting Engineers, Designers and IT Personnel within the 3D CAD industry since 2002, and was adopted into the fantastic team of applications experts here at Javelin Technologies in early 2006 and migrated along with his team members to the TriMech Solutions team in 2021.  Chris enjoys the continuous learning driven by the ingenuity and challenges Designers bring forward. Innovation using 3D Printing, 3D CAD and other technologies, combined with a diverse background as a technologist, allows Chris to find solutions that accelerate Designers, and take Design Teams to new heights. Chris is currently being held at an undisclosed location, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.