What are the biggest changes in SOLIDWORKS 2016?

CAD software is disrupting nearly every industry – the tools that make it easy to rapidly whip up new concepts and designs in a matter of hours. From SpaceX to convention cosplayers, companies and individuals alike are adopting a new generation of design tools.

With the latest version of SOLIDWORKS, 2016, the developers have addressed a number of key functionality issues and implemented new features to make operation easier for experts and learners alike.

iframe.twitter-tweet.twitter-tweet-rendered{ width: 99%!important;}

In need of a revamp

As anyone who uses CAD software knows, the user interface can often be one of the more significant pain points in daily use. This is a common issue with many forms of software, as companies add new requested features on top of an interface that wasn't originally designed with the features in mind.

With the latest release of SOLIDWORKS, the interface has received a true revamp, but the changes go beyond new icons and colours. SOLIDWORKS has always been focused on the entire user interaction experience for the end user, making complex functionality easy to understand. With this new release, it's easier to access the tools users depend on daily.

Thanks to this refresh, there's also stronger support for UHD monitors – those ultra-high resolution displays that make it easy to see the little details in a model. With this new support, user interface elements are no longer blurry or distorted, and mouse travel has been reduced significantly.

There's one major feature that stands out as part of this release, and it's sure to be a boon with users.

Following the breadcrumbs

This is one of the bigger user interface changes, and it's focused entirely on streamlining the design process. Many will find that it's difficult to go back to older versions of SOLIDWORKS without it. Essentially, by pressing 'D' on the keyboard and activating Breadcrumbs, users are able to easily access the features they use on a regular basis.

When working on a project and time is of the essence, having a feature that reduces clicks and mouse travel is invaluable. Basically, there's no longer a need to go hunting through sub-menus to find that function you'll need to use several times.

The little details

As any long-time user of SOLIDWORKS will understand, new releases aren't all about the big new features like breadcrumbs and interface changes, there are always a number of smaller features designed to make the software easier to use. They may not sound important on their own, but in aggregate these features help to make the software more approachable.

For example, there's one new feature that engineers will certainly appreciate – the ability to add a plugin that allows users to test the integrity of an object. This is one feature that could prove especially useful when creating joints or other components that will be put under pressure. 

This release of SOLIDWORKS actually has over 230 significant improvements that could make it the best version yet.

iframe.twitter-tweet.twitter-tweet-rendered{ width: 99%!important;}

Constantly improving

SOLIDWORKS is a constantly evolving piece of software, a tool that designers can depend on to bring new features and improvements with each new release. In future versions, improved freeform surface modelling and further support for newer and higher resolution displays is a certainty.

Whether you're a professional who works with a high-tech rocket company or even just a beginner designing model rockets on the side, the improvements in SOLIDWORKS 2016 are definitely worth noting down.