eDrawings 2015 vs. eDrawings 2014

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE updated March 31, 2015


When I first used eDrawings for the iPad a couple years ago, I found myself in a completely different environment than I was used to seeing from eDrawings. This was largely due to the fact that a tablet and a PC have different ways of interacting with (you can’t hover or right-click on a tablet). To better make it a seamless transition, DS SOLIDWORKS have redesigned the interface for the PC version of eDrawings 2015 to be more consistent with the interface on a tablet. As a result, you will notice fewer toolbars and more fly-out menus, giving you more graphics area.

eDrawings 2015 compared to eDrawings 2014

eDrawings 2015 (Left) offers a larger graphics area versus eDrawings 2014 (Right)

As you can imagine, there has been some resistance from some members of the SOLIDWORKS community who thought that eDrawings was already an excellent product that didn’t need a “facelift” so that it feels like a tablet version. While true, this alignment paves the way for future functionality. What happens when that old workstation on the shop floor comes due for replacement? Do you replace it with another $1,000 workstation for running eDrawings, or replace it with two $500 tablets? Even ignoring all that, it makes good sense to make a consistent interface across all platforms.

eDrawings 2015 vs. 2014 Comparison Video

I’ll cut to the chase, here is a video comparison of the two versions:

In case you weren’t able to view the video, or want a more detailed rundown, here it is:

New Functionality (The Good)

Some of the new things that were added include the ability to make use of Saved (or Named) Views from SOLIDWORKS. This can be a real time saver if you find that you used to have to spend a lot of time in eDrawings creating Markup Views just to show the model from a specific angle that was already done in SolidWorks.

Another function that was added was the ability to make use of Annotation Views from SOLIDWORKS. For example, if you add a bunch of Reference Dimensions in SolidWorks, you can make use of an Annotation View to have these shown in eDrawings. People used to use Markups for this is eDrawings 2014, but as soon as you rotate the view, the dimensions disappear. This means that in eDrawings 2015, you can rotate your part and the dimensions will remain present the whole time! Really handy for showing those hard-to-describe dimensions.

Things That Aren’t Quite There Yet (The Bad)

Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and roses. The biggest complaints on the forum come from three main limitations:

  1. When an assembly is open, if you select a component of a sub-assembly, it will not highlight in the tree. This works fine for top-level components, but with sub-assemblies, the sub-assembly will not expand like it previously did. This one is also a known issue (SPR 859289). This is reported to be fixed in SP3, but I’m unable to test that as it has not been released at the time this article was published.
  2. When an assembly is open, if you hover over a component, the tooltip that used to appear telling you what the component was is no longer present. SolidWorks is also aware of this issue (SPR 847503). Obviously it isn’t going to work for the tablet versions of eDrawings. In the meantime, you can select the component to see it highlighted in the tree (see point #1)
  3. When a drawing is open, you can no longer rotate a view. This one is less well-known, but if you save a SolidWorks drawing (.slddrw) as an eDrawing Drawing (.EDRW), you can select a drawing view and choose Rotate in eDrawings 2014 and it would open up the model and allow you to rotate around the model. Unfortunately, eDrawings 2015 is missing this ability. (SPR 861905)

“But the interface is different!” (The Ugly, According to Some)

One of the other complaints on the forum is that the buttons are all in different positions to how they previously were. Indeed, many of the commands are in the opposite position to what one would expect from previous versions of eDrawings.

eDrawings 2015 (Left) commands are different than eDrawings 2014 (Right)

eDrawings 2015 (Left) commands are different than eDrawings 2014 (Right)

In what looks like a complicated football play, the commands for eDrawings are all jumbled. Commands indicated in orange and laid out left-to-right rather than right-to-left, Commands in blue are now on the left rather than the top, commands in red move from top to bottom, commands in yellow do the same, but are now in a pop-out menu, and the tree display goes from the left side to the right side, and accessing it goes from being middle left to bottom right (indicated by purple). You get the idea. However, because the toolbars could be repositioned in eDrawings 2014, a single user could modify many of these command positions (although they would always be on the top, they could be in a different order).

In Conclusion (TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read))

  1. eDrawings 2015 now supports Saved (or Named) Views
  2. eDrawings 2015 now supports Annotation Views
  3. Sub-assembly components don’t highlight in tree unless the sub assembly is expanded (reported as fixed for SP3)
  4. Tooltips for components are not currently available in eDrawings 2015
  5. Can’t rotate drawing views in eDrawings 2015
  6. New interface: Larger graphics area, commands have moved

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Jim Peltier, CSWE

Jim utilise SolidWorks depuis 2001, et a passé la plupart de son temps à travailler dans la conception d'équipements de fabrication industrielle automatisée. Depuis juillet 2012, il travaille en tant qu'expert en applications chez Javelin Technologies à Oakville (Ontario) et est un expert SolidWorks certifié (CSWE).