Importing Hidden and Suppressed Components into SOLIDWORKS Composer

Article by Sarah Taylor updated May 16, 2023


When working in SOLIDWORKS, components can be “removed” from an assembly by either Suppressing or Hiding them. In SOLIDWORKS, Suppressing a component takes it out of the assembly, including the calculation of mass properties and mate positions, and the component name in the FeatureManager Design Tree becomes greyed out. When a SOLIDWORKS component is Hidden, it is simply made invisible. Mates of Hidden components are still active, and the body is still included in the total mass calculations even though it isn’t visible in the graphics area.

These two component statuses – Suppressed or Hidden – have different options when transferring a file from SOLIDWORKS CAD to SOLIDWORKS Composer. Keep reading to learn more.

Hidden Components

import hidden components

In Composer, when a SOLIDWORKS Assembly is selected in the File > Open window, there are Import options which can be customized. The option “Import hidden components (no show)” means that hidden components will be loaded into the Composer project, but will remain Hidden as they were in SOLIDWORKS. Importantly, the SOLIDWORKS Composer Help page which describes this setting contains the warning, “Note: Suppressed components are never imported.” This is true, but a potential workaround is to utilize multiple configurations to manage suppressed/unsuppressed components, which we will investigate in the next section.

Importing Configurations

Importing Configurations

In 2021, Composer added the ability to import multiple configurations. In the File > Open window, the SOLIDWORKS tab on the left includes options for importing Configurations and other SOLIDWORKS-specific items. In this example, our “Default” configuration is the full assembly where no components are suppressed, and the “Guard Assembly Removed” configuration has the Guard subassembly and Cover suppressed. This gives SOLIDWORKS users the flexibility to suppress/unsuppress components within SOLIDWORKS Configurations, and import as much or as little data as is needed into Composer.

In our example, we imported both configurations, and the results of the import are shown below. The Assembly tab on the left now has two full assembly trees, one for each configuration. Components can now be selectively hidden/shown as you normally would in Composer.

Note: If the boxes next to BOTH configurations in the Assembly tab are checked, both will be shown in the graphics area and many components will likely be duplicated.

default assembly

The “Default” tree contains all of the subassemblies and components from the full SOLIDWORKS assembly.

guard assembly removed

The “Guard Assembly Removed” tree has less components, as it excluded any that were suppressed in SOLIDWORKS. However, if I now wanted to add in one or two of the components from the full assembly, I could find them in the “Default” tree and set them to shown.

Be sure to take advantage of the Composer Import settings outlined in this article the next time you are handling Hidden or Suppressed components within your SOLIDWORKS designs!

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Sarah Taylor

Sarah is an Solutions Consultant at TriMech with 6+ years of experience using various CAD software including SOLIDWORKS, Creo and AutoCAD. She has previous experience in the biopharmaceutical industry as well as HVAC project management. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland where she received her B.S. in Bioengineering.