Are you experiencing DPI Scaling issues within SOLIDWORKS?

Article by John Lee, CSWE updated September 28, 2023

Article

Are you seeing double or triple within your SOLIDWORKS display?  Or, is the feature tree too magnified or shrunken?  If the images below look familiar, and you are seeing this on a regular basis with your  graphics area, then you may be a victim of SOLIDWORKS DPI scaling issues!  If Scooby-Doo and the gang suffered this, we’d probably hear, “Like, zoinks!!  (ruh-roh!)”

SOLIDWORKS DPI Scaling Issue

DPI (dots per inch) Scaling Issue

Or what about this scenario (see pic below)!  Feature tree shrunk so small…. for reference, we’ve circled the left taskpane grab handle at screen vertical center, to show how far the tree has shrunk:

Feature tree shrunk! Grab handle circled, for reference

Once we correct the problem, it looks like this:

Looks good here

The problem can be caused by having a high-pixel external monitor connected to a notebook with far fewer pixels on the notebook display.  For example, a 4K external monitor with around 4,000 pixels horizontally!  When the 4K is the main display, connected to a notebook, the trouble can manifest when SOLIDWORKS is moved over to the notebook screen.  Fortunately, there is a fix for this.  Keep reading to find out how.

Why does the scaling issue occur?

If you are using Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, along with a high-density external display; the operating system will automatically choose an appropriate scaling setting for the display being used. In many cases, users want to modify the scaling setting, as they would prefer that certain elements of the windows user interface appear smaller or larger. This is especially true for elements such as the text labels associated with Desktop Icons.

To enlarge these items, the DPI scaling is usually set globally within the operating system (Windows Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Display).

This global setting can have an undesired affect to some applications, leading to “blurry” fonts and other behaviors on applications that do not recognize the global DPI Scaling applied by the operating system. Depending on your Graphics Card & Driver combination; SOLIDWORKS can be one of the applications that experiences issues in recognizing the global DPI Scaling.

Resolving SOLIDWORKS DPI Scaling issue

To repair the graphics issues within SOLIDWORKS, please follow the five steps listed below:

STEP 1:

Navigate within windows explorer to find the SOLIDWORKS Executable file (SLDWORKS.exe).
By default this is located in C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS 20XX\SOLIDWORKS (where XX represents the year) or in C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS

STEP 2:

Right-click on SLDWORKS.exe and choose Properties from the shortcut menu:

Properties option

Properties option

STEP 3:

Once inside the Properties dialog, choose the Compatibility Tab.

Select “Change Settings for all Users” button at the bottom of the properties dialog box.

Properties dialog

Properties dialog

STEP 4:

Within the Compatibility for all users dialog, select buttons and checkboxes shown here:

 

For Windows 10

Disable display scaling on high DPI settings

For Windows 7

STEP 5:

Restart the system and see if the display issues persist.

Hopefully this has put an end to your SOLIDWORKS dpi scaling issue.

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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.