Opening Large Assemblies in SOLIDWORKS Composer

Article by Ben Crisostomo, CSWE updated December 31, 2018


SOLIDWORKS Composer works hand in hand with SOLIDWORKS CAD by converting part and assembly files to workable models for documentation. The process is relatively straight forward, but when working with SOLIDWORKS large assemblies, there are a few things to keep in mind when converting them to Composer (.SMG) files.

Sometimes, large assemblies do not get converted as planned. Take for example the picture below, where an attempt was made to convert the assembly into a Composer file. As you can see, there is no model visible in the SOLIDWORKS Composer Viewer:

No Model seen in Solidworks Composer

An Example of the Error

Although the information is there, there is no model in the display. But in some cases the model may be partially generated, and the assembly tree items are set to unseen and cannot be toggled at all. This may be an indicator your assembly is opening in large assembly mode.

So what is to be done to remedy the situation?

To fix this a bit of background on how a part/assembly is converted to a composer file is in order. When converting to a  .SMG file, Composer leverages SOLIDWORKS before converting the files. In other words, SOLIDWORKS is opened in the background during this conversion process and the user settings are considered when working with the model.

Here is what to do

When converting large assemblies, the following settings in SOLIDWORKS must be unchecked prior to making the .SWG file.

Tools > Options > System Options tab > Assemblies > Opening Large Assemblies

Assembly Settings to Toggle in SOLIDWORKS

Once the “Use Large Assembly Mode” & “Use Large Design Review” boxes are unchecked, you are good to go.

Large Assembly in Solidworks Composer

Large Assembly Model Successfully Converted

Items to consider after completing the conversion:

  • Keep in mind that you can toggle the settings back on once you are done converting the part/assembly to a Composer file.
  • You will need to turn the Large Assembly settings back off if you want to update a model in Composer.

Final thoughts on troubleshooting:

When this problem occurs, it can be frustrating because it is not entirely intuitive what to do next. The best thing to do see if the following check boxes are ticked off:

  1. Are there many parts in the assembly?
  2. Are some/all of the parts in the assembly tree unable to be toggled to visible?
  3. Are some/all of the parts not visible in the viewing area?

With this in mind, I hope that you will be able to streamline your SOLIDWORKS Composer workflow and save some grief when running into this seemingly unsolvable issue.

For more troubleshooting tips & tricks for SOLIDWORKS Composer, please check out the following Links:

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Ben Crisostomo

Ben is a SOLIDWORKS Technical Support Application Expert based in the Javelin Oakville head office