5 Reasons for Upgrading SOLIDWORKS from the Last 5 Years

Article by Alaa Hosn updated December 28, 2023


There are many benefits to upgrading SOLIDWORKS to the latest version. Some of these benefits include innovative features and functionality, enhanced performance, as well as compatibility and collaboration.

While the performance enhancements alone are a good enough reason to make the jump to the latest version of SOLIDWORKS, this article will also explore some of the cutting-edge tools worth upgrading for. SOLIDWORKS releases hundreds of enhancements every year but these are just a few of the reasons to upgrade to the latest version.



Backward Compatibility – Introduced in 2024

Starting in 2024, users can save SOLIDWORKS files back to the previous two years. That means SOLIDWORKS 2024 files are backward compatible all the way to SOLIDWORKS 2022. This can be done for all parts, assemblies, and drawings. When saving a drawing to a previous version, this will include all the required references.

To save a document as a previous version file, simply go to File and select Save As. Set the Save as type to the desired version. If a user tries saving a document with new 2024 features into an older version, SOLIDWORKS will give a warning that the feature did not exist prior to 2024 and to fix this before saving the model.

Save As options in SOLIDWORKS 2024

“S” Key Shortcut – Introduced in 2022

Before 2022, users needed to add features to the shortcut toolbar to select from after pushing the “s” key to activate the shortcut toolbar. In 2022 and later versions of SOLIDWORKS, one of the fastest ways to find a command and activate it is to search for a command directly from the “s” key shortcut toolbar. This makes it convenient to jump into a command quicker if users are not familiar with where to find it.

Users can even select the eye next to a searched command to let SOLIDWORKS point out where to find the command, just make sure not to move the mouse after clicking on the eye until the command is exposed. Push “s” and start typing immediately to get started.

"s" key shortcut

“s” key shortcut

Importing STEP Assemblies as Multibody Parts – Introduced in 2024

STEP files are the most common neutral file format that users import into SOLIDWORKS. Sometimes these STEP files can be massive and the only thing needed may be one or two components from within the document. Starting in 2024, users can preview a STEP file to select only the necessary components to import into SOLIDWORKS. This saves valuable time by preventing the need to fully open a large STEP file.

STEP file component selection preview

STEP file component selection preview

Detailing Mode – Introduced 2020

Detailing mode was introduced to improve the performance of drawings with resource-intensive parts or assemblies. Detailing mode was originally available for drawings saved in SOLIDWORKS 2020 or later, but enhancements to Detailing mode through 2022 allow for any SOLIDWORKS drawing version to make use of this tool. Detailing mode allows users to add and edit dimensions and annotations within the drawing, but the model data is not loaded.

Detailing mode selections in 2021

Bill of Materials Enhancements – Introduced in 2022

SOLIDWORKS added new enhancements to BOMs starting in 2022 and continued to make improvements through 2023. These include updates for ease of use when expanding or collapsing a BOM, support for cut list items in a BOM table, sorting columns, and overrides for BOMs. Overrides for BOMs show when a field in the table has been manually changed.

The modified text turns blue but the color can be changed in the System Options. Users can lock a field, row, column, or table to make sure no changes are allowed. If a user would like to revert to the original values in the table, this can be done by right-clicking on the field, row, column, or table and selecting “Restore Original Value”.

solidworks upgrade

Overrides and locking table preview


Everybody will have their reasons for upgrading SOLIDWORKS, along with their own personal favorite enhancements. With the hundreds of updates SOLIDWORKS releases yearly, users are sure to find an enhancement that they value most. Users can submit an enhancement request to have ideas implemented into a future version of SOLIDWORKS. A full list of enhancements for the version of SOLIDWORKS in use can be found by going to the question mark in the top right corner of the SOLIDWORKS window and selecting from the What’s New dropdown.

Solidworks 2024

What’s New access options in the Help menu

To learn more about SOLIDWORKS, check out our training opportunities here. 

Related Links

Certified SOLIDWORKS Services available from Javelin

Javelin can help you to:

Find Related Content by TAG:

Alaa Hosn

Alaa is a Solutions Consultant who has been part of the TriMech team since 2018. He started in support and built a solid foundation on how to diagnose and troubleshoot SOLIDWORKS and Electrical issues covering all ranges of topics from installations to performance issues. Alaa is based in Richmond, VA and has a mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech. He has earned his CSWE among other SOLIDWORKS certifications and continues to achieve more!