Made in Boston

Capture Some Enhancements! What’s Coming in SolidWorks 2016


On the final day of each SolidWorks World, the Portfolio Marketing team unveils a sneak peek of several new features which will (hopefully) be included in the next major release of SolidWorks. However, instead of a dry technical presentation, the team never fails to put on a show that’s funny, engaging, and only mildly humiliating. This year, David Pattern Borer presents… Designers in our Midst.

The infamous nature broadcaster goes in search of the most elusive creature of all: the design nerd. He finally finds and captures one (using an unorthodox method of sedation), re-educates him, and releases the more capable designer back into the wild.

See below for the enhancements presented at SolidWorks World 2015.


Part Modeling Enhancements

Hide/Shows Main Planes

SolidWorks users can now toggle the visibility of the three default reference planes with a single button.

Select Sketch Midpoints Without Right-Clicking

Midpoints of lines and arcs now highlight as you hover over then, making selection much faster, and creation of symmetry relations much easier.

Sketch Context Toolbar Stays Available

You can now add multiple relations from the sketch context toolbar. Previously, the toolbar would disappear after selecting the first relation.

Plane for Pattern Directions

You can now select a reference plane to define the direction of linear patterns, and SolidWorks will use the normal direction of that plane.

Convert Entities – Internal Loops

When using convert entities, selecting a face will now select all internal loops, as well as just the external boundary.

Hide/Show Bodies with Tab Key

Just like hiding parts in assemblies, you can now hide bodies in parts by hitting the tap key while hovering over them. Re-show with shift-tab.

Bi-Directional Sweep

With this great enhancement, you can now place your sweep profile in the middle of your path (or anywhere else along it), and extend the sweep both forward and backward at once.

Organic Modeling

Degree Style Spline

Style Splines now support higher degree options, including Bezier. You can even choose from these new spline types when converting an old standard spline to a style spline.

C2 Edge Blend

Far more options for curvature continuous filleting. The curvature-continuous option is now available for all fillets – including variable and asymmetric fillets – not just face fillets.

Assembly Enhancements

Assembly Mate Controller

The new Assembly Mate Controller tools will help you move only the parts you want, where you want them. You can lock and unlock mates quickly, and manipulate your assemblies to the desired position. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to capture various assembly positions, animate them, and export them to the MotionManager for additional animation. The Mate Controller provides feedback on which parts are moving, and which are locked.

Extended QuickMates

The QuickMates toolbar, which pops up when you ctrl-select two faces in assembly, now includes more mates. Profile center, width, and symmetric mates are now available from this toolbar.

Toolbox Favorites Folder

A customizable favorites folder has been added to the top of the toolbox add-in, so you can quickly find the components to use most.

Copy & Paste Mate Support

In SolidWorks 2016, you’ll be able to select multiple components, then copy and paste them all at once, retaining all mates between them.

Copy With Mates Enhanced

Just like the QuickMates toolbar, the Copy with Mates command has been improved to include support for even more mates. Specifically, the Profile Center mate.

Change Toolbox Fastener Type

Before, you if you wanted to change fastener types (such as going from a Phillips head screw to a hex bolt) you had to delete your existing components and reinsert new ones. In SolidWorks 2016, changing fastener types is as easy as changing a configuration. Simply choose the new fastener from a list of toolbox components, and SolidWorks switches them out and even reassigns the mates correctly.

Rename Part

You can finally change the filenames of a part directly from the assembly FeatureManager! No more closing all your documents, checking everything in, and then remaining from Windows Explorer.


Simulation Enhancements

Mesh Sectioning

You can now use the section tool in SolidWorks Simulation to view the interior of a meshed part. The section tool hides nodes behind a given plane, so you’re able to see accurate node information.

Release Prescribed Displacements

In SolidWorks 2016, you’ll be able to simulate the action of stressing a mode by prescribing some displacement, then releasing that displacement to see how the part behaves in relation to other parts in the assembly.

Surfacing Enhancements

Flatten Surface with Internal Holes

One big limitation of the new Flatten Surface feature has been resolved in SolidWorks 2016. You’ll soon be able to flatten surfaces with internal holes.

Rip Lines for Flattened Surfaces

You can specify rip lines or edges to better control how a flattened surface is created.

Drawing Enhancements

Direct Scale Change

Instead of going through the sheet properties menu, in SolidWorks 2016 you’ll be able to change the sheet scale of a drawing from a pop-up menu below the graphics area.

Nested Balloon Sorting

In SolidWorks 2016, you’ll be able to drag individual balloons into an existing balloon stack. Also, in addition to sorting balloons manually, you can now sort them alphabetically or numerically.

New Products

SolidWorks PDM Standard

SolidWorks PDM standard – a product we don’t know much about yet – will be included in every seat of SolidWorks 2016.

MBD (Model Based Definition)

First previewed at SolidWorks World 2014, MBD was officially released during SolidWorks World 2015, and is now available from your VAR. MBD allows engineers and designers to include all Product Manufacturing Information (PMI) in the 3D model, thereby completely bypassing the 2D drawing. You can arrange dimensions, tolerances, notes, and other annotations on multiple views, and save each one separately, so the information isn’t cluttered. You can then save all of the views to a 3D PDF or eDrawings file, which can be opened by your vendor or customer.

eDrawings Enhancements

Rotate About Any Point

Previously, eDrawings models would only spin about the center of the screen. The 2016 version will allow you to spin about a chosen point (likely the point where you first middle click), behaving much more like SolidWorks.

Tabbed Documents

eDrawings now consolidates all your open documents into the same window, using tabs above the Graphics Area to keep them organized.

PhotoView 360 Enhancements

Scene Illumination Proof Sheets

The problem with PhotoView 360, is that takes a lot of guess and check to get the perfect rendering. Every change to illumination, scene rotation, or reflectivity required a new preview update. In SolidWorks 2016, the software calculate each of these settings upfront, and displays them all at multiple levels in a proof sheet. Simply choose the previews you like the best, compare them to your original settings, and apply them to your scene all at once.

User Interface Enhancements

Modern Look

SolidWorks 2016 has an updated user interface with new icons. These icons are now vector-based, which are compatible with new high definition 4K and 5K monitors. The new icons also (for better or for worse) more closely resemble those of other Dassault products. The updated FeatureManager tree also highlights an entire feature name in bright red when errors or warnings are present.

Child Feature Reference

The Dynamic Reference Visualization arrows introduced in SolidWorks 2015 have been expanded, to now show child (downstream) dependencies as well as those of parents (upstream).


The breadcrumbs pop up bar describes the hierarchy of the currently selected item, all the way from assembly down to sketch entity. When the FeatureManager tree is hidden, the Breadcrumb bar appears, and updates as you select various entities. Right-clicking on a breadcrumb brings up the commands applicable to that type on entity only, and hovering over a feature will bring up a pop-up menu of all the sketches contained within it.


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