Assembly Visualization and Image Quality – Why Are SOLIDWORKS Assemblies Slow

Article by Adam Ferrer updated May 23, 2023


Large assembly performance can suffer from a multitude of reasons. Why are SOLIDWORKS Assemblies slow? There are many factors that play a role in the behavior of assemblies. Graphics triangles, part versions, circular mate references, configurations, specific feature choice, imported models, appearances, etc. SOLIDWORKS assemblies are slow and could be a scenario of a death by a thousand cuts.

This tech tip will focus on only one of those cuts – Graphics triangles

When parts are brought into assemblies, they come with a specific image quality set out by the designer. The higher the image quality, the harder your computer must work to tesselate the model. Even if it is a small part, high image quality it isn’t demanding to generate – but if there are hundreds of iterations of that component (such as a bolt or nut with threads), then your seemingly small part now plays a large role in your graphics workload.

It’s a best practice to optimize all your components before inserting into a large assembly. If you didn’t have the luxury of developing those components or that ideal situation doesn’t exist for you, the next thing to do is analyze the assembly as it is now and make changes to the ones you find.


This is a side-by-side example of a component with low image quality compared to higher. You can see the circular edges are smoother when the image quality is higher. In a scenario while editing a large assembly, the performance should take priority over the image quality. It’s best practice to lower the image quality of your parts when inserting them into a large assembly.

An easy way to see which parts of the assembly contribute the most graphic triangles is using Performance Evaluation.

performance evaluation on engine

For this engine, the performance evaluation outlines Open Times, rebuild times, Settings Performance and Display Performance. For graphics, expand the Display Performance menu and here.

display performance to improve why solidworks assemblies are slow

This report shares important information related to the image quality of parts in your assembly. As seen in the screen capture above, parts with the most graphics triangles are organized from greatest to least.

The performance evaluation is also showing parts with high image quality and many different appearances – all factors to diagnose assembly performance.

Assembly Visualization and SolidWorks will automatically show you

If you would like to visualize these parts, click Assembly Visualization and SOLIDWORKS will automatically show you. 

If you are using an older version of SOLIDWORKS, you can create this visual by adding a column into Assembly Visualization manually.

Step 1. Find Assembly Visualization tool (Evaluate tab or S-key search bar).

assembly visualization link

 Step 2. Click the arrow on the right side of the column list, then click “More…”

view more in column


Step 3. Check “Use Formula” box and name the Column header “Graphics Triangles”. Create the same formula as seen below (Tip: use the properties drop down menu to select the properties for the formula) then click OK.

custom column in formula to improve why solidworks assemblies are slow

From here the biggest problems can be seen, selected, and modified to improve the performance of the assembly.

modified to improve the performance of why solidworks assemblies are slow

modified to improve the performance of the assembly

If you’ve ever wondered why SOLIDWORKS assemblies are slow, Assembly performance has many other factors that play a part. This is just one example of the many factors – to learn about the other factors, techniques, and best practices in optimizing your own assemblies, we can help with that. More information can be found here: SOLIDWORKS Large Assembly Service from Javelin Certified Experts.

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Adam Ferrer

Adam Ferrer is a graduate from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Technology in Automotive and Vehicle Engineering Technology degree. He is a Technical Marketing Specialist at Javelin.