Hide vs. Suppressed in SolidWorks Assemblies

Hiding and Suppressing parts in SolidWorks assemblies can have similar looking results, but both operations behave quite differently from each other.

At the time this article is written, SolidWorks 2012 has several capabilities of both Hide and Suppress, and even a way to essentially capture the benefits from both.

Hiding Parts in SolidWorks AssembliesHiding Parts in Assemblies

Think of hidden components in a SolidWorks assembly as just that… NOT VISIBLE.

From there, they are essentially exactly like a visible part.

SolidWorks Mass Properties WindowHidden parts still participate or are included in:

  • Collision Detection
  • Mass Properties calculation
  • Dynamic Assembly Motion
  • BOM’s
  • Pack n Go
  • Etc.

In most situations, there are options to “Include” or “Ignore Hidden” in the event that you do not want to control whether they are included in the calculation. Ignore Hidden Bodies

Hidden parts also take the stress off the video card since it does not have to display them.

However, hidden parts are still loaded into memory, therefore their math data takes up part of the memory footprint.

Suppressing Parts in Assemblies

Suppress Parts in SolidWorks AssembliesThink of a suppressed part as a ‘deleted part that is very easy to UNDO’.

When a part is suppressed, all dependencies associated with that part is also suppressed such as Mates, Assembly Features, and other referenced items.

The part is treated as if it doesn’t exist.

Suppressed parts do NOT:

  • Affect Mass Properties calculations
  • Show in BOM’s
  • Participate in Collision Detection or other such calculations
  • Etc.
Suppressed parts will:

  • Show in a Pack n Go (Not Open)
  • List in FILE | FIND REFERENCES (Not Open)

UnsupressedIf the suppressed part is UNSUPPRESSED, it will again solve like all other parts.

The Best of Both Worlds

Unload Hidden Components in SolidWorks AssembliesThere is a little known menu selection that can give you the performance of having parts SUPPRESSED, when they are really only HIDDEN.

When you HIDE components, follow that by right-clicking the ASSEMLBY NAME at the top of the Feature Manager and selecting “Unload Hidden Components.”

This will ‘flush’ the math footprint of the parts and give you better performance when you don’t want to see parts, but don’t want to suppress them either.

This is great for toolbox parts where you need them for an accurate part count on the BOM, but don’t want the added strain on your video hardware.

This menu item needs to be selected again if more parts are hidden. It is more of a runtime function than a persistent setting.

The easiest way to SHOW Hidden Components

You can easily spot Hidden Parts Hidden Part Icon and Assemblies Assemblies icon in the top level of your Feature Manager, but when those Parts and Assemblies are subcomponents of other Assemblies, it becomes much more difficult.

The ‘magic button’ for this situation is on your Assembly Tab called "Show Hidden Components."

Show Hidden Components in SolidWorks Assemblies

This will take all SHOWN components and ‘temporarily’ HIDE them, while taking ANY and ALL HIDDEN components and SHOWING them, regardless of their depth in the Feature Manager. Tree Menu in SolidWorks Assemblies

Select the parts on the screen that you would like to now SHOW and they will ‘temporarily’ HIDE them where they will join the other SHOWN components.

Select components on screen by:

  • Window Select (Crossing or IN)
  • Ctrl-A (Select All)

Once you are done, select "Exit Show-Hidden."

Show Hidden message

Now all the SHOWN components will reappear from their ‘temporary’ hidden state.

NOTE: Suppressed Parts and Assemblies will NOT be included in the SHOW HIDDEN COMPONENTS function.


Darin Grosser is a SolidWorks Elite Application Engineer, Certified SolidWorks Expert and a senior member of the technical staff at DASI Solutions, a SolidWorks Value Added Reseller with locations throughout Michigan and Indiana. He is a regular contributor to the DASI Solutions Blog.

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