How to Fix a Corrupt SOLIDWORKS Drawing

Article by John Lee, CSWE updated April 8, 2020

Oh no, your SOLIDWORKS drawing appears to be corrupt!  It either won’t open properly, won’t save, throws a corruption message, suggests a repair or contacting technical support, etc.  What steps can you try to fix it before calling in the cavalry?

This article serves as a toolkit for recovering that work.

Note that crashing may not necessarily be solved by this article, in which case we recommend running a geometry check on the model referenced by the drawing, or else going here for crash-related issues.

Open in Quick View mode

Click File > Open… > Mode > Quick view.  this should load sheet views instantly.  This might not fully load the actual sheets, but does attempt to display them.  It may also trigger a prompt to attempt automatic repair.  Once repair is complete, sheets might be loaded.  If they’re not, then you can then try to selectively load each sheet from its tab at the bottom of the SOLIDWORKS session window with Right-click > Load sheet.  For multi-sheet drawings, this method can also be used to pinpoint which sheet(s) have the problem because if that particular sheet doesn’t load, then it likely contains the problem.  If none of the sheets load, then at least you can still print or do a screen capture for purposes of manual re-creation of the drawing.

Copy any loaded sheet into a new drawing

A convenient way to do this is to close all other documents except the bad drawing and the new one, and then Window > Tile Vertically, and then drag each sheet tab from the bad drawing to the good one.  Alternately, you can Right-click > Copy sheet on the tab in the bad drawing, and Right-click > Paste sheet on the tab in the new drawing.  Sometimes the problem or corruption lies not in the model, nor the sheet, but rather in the file framework.  By copying sheets over to the new file, we can move away from the problem and into a working file.

The easy way to copy sheets between drawings

Load Previous SOLIDWORKS PDM Revision

If using SOLIDWORKS PDM, is there a problem-free previous version or revision to which to roll back?  As a preventive measure, the more often the work is checked in, the less work can be lost.

Restore a backup

Have backups been set?  If so then you can try opening one of them to see if it does not exhibit the problem.

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John Lee, CSWE

John Lee is inherently lazy in that he prefers to work smarter - not harder. A CSWE with fifteen years of experience using SOLIDWORKS and a background in mechanical design, John has used SOLIDWORKS in various industries requiring design for injection molding, sheet metal, weldments and structural steel.