SOLIDWORKS File Utilities replaces SOLIDWORKS Explorer

Article by John Lee, CSWE updated April 7, 2023


SOLIDWORKS 2020 has retained critical functionality from SOLIDWORKS Explorer, and has discontinued the SOLIDWORKS Explorer application.

SOLIDWORKS File Utilities Functions

The retained functionality is now called SOLIDWORKS File Utilities and is a must when renaming SOLIDWORKS reusable data (such as parts and assemblies) from outside SOLIDWORKS.  It works with parts, assemblies, and drawings.  It includes such functions as:

*attempts to locate any referencing files and updates their references.  That’s good practice.  Bad practice is using Windows rename for this…then the next time we open the containing drawing or assembly, SOLIDWORKS won’t know about the rename and will prompt us to hunt for the renamed referenced file, or will leave the drawing views empty, etc.  So basically we’d be creating more work for ourselves.


One thing we love about running Pack and Go this way is that if SOLIDWORKS is having issues such as crashing, we can STILL do a Pack and Go without having to launch SOLIDWORKS!  It’s a handy workaround we’ve used with customers more than a few times…

SOLIDWORKS File Utilities

SOLIDWORKS File Utilities, available from right-clicking the file (Windows 10). Works with parts, assemblies, and drawings

In Windows 11 you will need to right-click the file > Show more options to get this menu to appear.

What to do if you don’t see these menu options:

SOLIDWORKS File Utilities functionality installs by default when you install SOLIDWORKS.  The Installation Manager controls this.  If it is missing, review your installation settings (Control Panel > Programs and Features > SOLIDWORKS > Modify/Change) and add it back in.

SOLIDWORKS File Utilities installation

The Product Selection page where SOLIDWORKS File Utilities is checked by default

If you still do not see the options, especially if that checkbox was already checked, please refer to this article: Repair SOLIDWORKS File Utilities (


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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.