Optimize SOLIDWORKS Performance by disabling unused tools

Article by Rod Mackay updated June 19, 2018


SOLIDWORKS has a wealth of functionality meant to improve the user experience. Since every user uses SOLIDWORKS differently however, there are often many tools that are rarely, if ever, used or needed. It is often advantageous to disable these tools to reduce the load that SOLIDWORKS places on your computer, thereby increasing performance. This article provides examples of tools and utilities that you should consider disabling to optimize SOLIDWORKS performance.


SOLIDWORKS Indexing is used in conjunction with the SOLIDWORKS Search functionality (located in the top right-hand corner of the SOLIDWORKS window). There is an option to control how SOLIDWORKS indexes files found under Tools > Options > System Options > Search category. In the indexing performance section ensure that the index only when computer is idle option is selected.

Additional options you could disable are Search while typing and Include 3D ContentCentral results, these two options will make your search results appear faster and not search an external website on the internet.

SOLIDWORKS Search Options

SOLIDWORKS Search Options


The Instant3D capability within SOLIDWORKS is a tool that allows features to be dynamically resized by simply clicking on appropriate faces and dragging the specified arrow as shown in the figure below.  This tool can allow quick and easy model edits, but it does require a larger workload on your processor and video card.



If you wish to disable Instant3D, you can toggle it on or off via the Features toolbar or the Features tab of the CommandManager.

Instant3D CommandManager

Instant3D (far right) in Features CommandManager

Display Settings

Applying SOLIDWORKS display settings such as Realview Graphics, Shadows, and Ambient Occlusion will make your models look more realistic, but does require additional graphical resources from your machine.  It is recommended to work within SOLIDWORKS with these toggled off, and only toggle them back on when more realistic visual features are required.  These can be toggled on or off via View Settings on the Heads-up View Toolbar as shown below:

SOLIDWORKS Graphics disabled can Optimize SOLIDWORKS Performance



Many SOLIDWORKS applications and areas of functionality are designed as modules that can be enabled or disabled whenever required.  These are called Add-ins and can be accessed via Tools, Add-ins. 

You may have different add-ins available depending on your type of SOLIDWORKS installation.  Some of these add-ins are commonly used (such as SOLIDWORKS Toolbox) while many others are only used very rarely.  As each add-in requires additional memory and places a further load on your computer, it is strongly advised to keep most add-ins disabled during general SOLIDWORKS usage, only enabling when required.

SOLIDWORKS Add-ins Dialog

SOLIDWORKS Add-ins Dialog

When looking to disable/enable an add-in, you will notice in the Add-ins dialog, as shown, that there is both a left-hand and right-hand column that can be checked (checked is enabled, unchecked is disabled).  The left-hand checkbox determines if the add-in is currently enabled for this session of SOLIDWORKS, while the right-hand checkbox determines if the add-in will be automatically enabled the next time you launch SOLIDWORKS.

Note: the Last Load Time column allows you to determine if an add-in is the cause of a slow SOLIDWORKS startup. SOLIDWORKS Expert Chris Briand has created an article about this topic.

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Rod Mackay

Rod has been using 3D CAD software for over 25 years and has trained thousands of designers to use their CAD systems more effectively. Rod is the Javelin Webmaster and is based in Ottawa, ON., Canada.