SOLIDWORKS Settings with Multiple Versions

Article by TriMech Solutions, LLC updated March 31, 2023


With each major release of SOLIDWORKS comes the option to upgrade an existing installation or perform a new/separate installation of the next release (if applicable).

  • The most common choice is to upgrade a previous major release which will keep a single version installed on the computer. Upgrading SOLIDWORKS 2022 to SOLIDWORKS 2023 will only leave 2023 installed on the system.
  • new installation will keep 2022 installed, and then install SOLIDWORKS 2023 separately.  Both versions of SOLIDWORKS can be used on the same machine.

The overall settings from your previous installation will be carried over to the newer version. This saves time as all customizations are maintained. This applies on first opening the latest version of SOLIDWORKS as it copies the Windows registry keys with all your settings.

It’s recommended to back up any settings using the SOLIDWORKS Settings Wizard for safekeeping.

SOLIDWORKS settings wizard

Working with multiple versions can introduce difficulties with File Location paths within the SOLIDWORKS options.  The default options have templates and libraries in version-specific folders. As the previous settings are picked up, the File Locations may still point to the older location.  This ensures you still have access to templates you may have saved in the default location in a past version.

default location in a past version

Any customized templates should be saved outside of the default installation folder.  If saved to a server or in PDM, the templates can be available to your entire team.  It is also safer as uninstalling SOLIDWORKS may remove default folders. The custom folder paths can be referenced in Tools > Options > System Options > File Locations.

A situation may arise if you uninstall a past version of SOLIDWORKS. Some of the libraries being referenced from the previous version may get removed. This introduces warnings or missing functions as it is unable to locate the required resource. One symptom is a diameter symbol missing in a hole callout.

diameter symbol missing in a hole callout

In this case, the path for Symbol Library File will need to be updated to the newer folder.

system library file update

A quick way to update all paths is using ‘Edit All’, the ‘Find and Replace’.  All references to an older version can be updated.

IMPORTANT: Confirm that no customized templates or libraries are in the previous version folder before making the changes.

system options file location

There may be other File Locations referencing a previous folder in Program Files. By default, the initial installation will install to C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS.  A new separate installation by default will create C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS (2).

If you will be installing multiple versions, it is recommended to use unique installation folder paths such as C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp 2023.  This makes it easier to differentiate and quickly update the File Locations if required.

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TriMech Solutions, LLC

TriMech provides thousands of engineering teams with 3D design and rapid prototyping solutions that work hand-in-hand, from sketch to manufacturing. Javelin became a subsidiary of TriMech Solutions LLC in 2021.