Like any well designed software, SolidWorks is programmed to accomplish functions that fulfill your needs for particular tasks. Each year, its functionality is expanded to suit an increasing number of those needs. Most enhancements to SolidWorks are based on your feedback about new abilities and tasks you want the software to perform.
How are requests for enhancements submitted? First, determine if your request is for new functionality in SolidWorks or if it is regarding unintended behavior with current functionality.
An example of unintended behavior is if you are using a particular tool in SolidWorks which is not working as expected. To report unintended behavior, the best outlet is your Value-Added Reseller (VAR). Contact them. They will determine if the behavior you are experiencing from SolidWorks needs to be addressed as a Technical Support matter. Your VAR will take steps to report the matter to SolidWorks' Technical Support group, if necessary. They will also help you find methods to complete your tasks and accomplish your goals.
If your request is for new functionality in SolidWorks, the first place to search is the Knowledge Base in the Customer Portal. The Knowledge Base has quick how-to instructions. It also has a list of outstanding enhancement requests from other customers.
When searching the Knowledge Base, use keywords associated with your request. For example, if you are looking for information about resizing a drawing view bounding box, look up the keywords view bounding box resize. In this example, you will quickly find that there are several articles, including one open request.
If you find that someone else has already submitted a request similar to your own. Go to the Enhancement Request area in the Customer Portal.
Again, search for keywords associated with your request. A list of open Enhancement Requests will appear. Click on the applicable article link. Read the request carefully to make sure it represents your needs. If so, fill out the appropriate fields in the lower section and go to the bottom of the request page to click on the Vote button.
Writing your own Enhancement Request
If you find that your request is not represented by any existing Enhancment Request, then it is time to create your own Enhancement Request. At the bottom of the Enhancement Request search results, you'll find the following statement
If you do not find a relevant enhancement request, refine your search or click here to create an Enhancement Request.
Click where it says "click here". This will take you to a page where you can create your own request. Provide all necessary information, including the area affected by your request, the version of SolidWorks you use, and a brief description.
Additionally, make sure to include important details in the "Why do you need this functionality? Explain:" field.
- Please be as clear and detailed as possible.
- Explain why current functionality doesn't fulfill your needs.
- List step by step instructions where you have attempted to accomplish your task without the new abliity that you are requesting. SolidWorks Rx files are helpful.
- Do not focus too much on solutions. Simply state the result that you need from SolidWorks. For example, you may need SolidWorks to quickly create a new shape for the Mounting Boss tool. In that case, clearly and completely describe the shape that you need the tool to make, but avoid going into detail about user interface and workflow unless they are important to your request.
- Provide examples and images of your request. Before and after shoots are particularly helpful.
Who reviews Enhancement Requests?
Real people thoroughly review your requests. How do I know? I'm one of those people! There are many of us. The Product Defintion and User Experience groups process the Enhancment Requests. Each of us covers requests that are in our area of expertise. I handle requests related to Drawings and a few other topics.
We review each Enhancement Request. Unique requests are assigned a special number (SPR#). Sometimes requests are duplicates of what may have been already submitted by other customers. In these cases, we link those requests together through the SPR#. As votes tally up for particular requests, they rise in importance.
What happens to Enhancement Requests once they are processed?
If you have ever filed an Enhancement Request, there's a good chance it has been assigned to an SPR#. You can view this in the Customer Portal in the My ERs (Enhancement Requests) area.
Once processed, the Enhancement Request itself is closed. The request is then tracked via the SPR#, including votes. So, please don't be surprized when you receive an email stating that your Enhancement Request has been closed. It doesn't mean we rejected your submission. It simply means we have taken the appropriate action to process it.
High vote count on an SPR# isn't the only criteria for consideration when determining new functionality in SolidWorks for each release, but it serves as an important guide. Many requests with a lot of votes have been added to SolidWorks over the years.
There are many available resources. The SolidWorks Forum is a very active place to get advice, help, and to discuss topics related to SolidWorks products and how to use them with other customers. Many groups within the SolidWorks organization are very active in the forums, so there's a good chance your comments will be noticed either way.
User groups also serve as a great venue to interact with other local SolidWorks customers.
SolidWorks What's New is important to review because it lists which enhancements have been added to SolidWorks for that release.
Check out the Community tab on the SolidWorks homepage for even more available resources. (Hover your mouse over the tab to view this menu. If you click on the Community tab, you are taken directly to the Forums.)