SOLIDWORKS 2018, Windows 10, New Graphics Hardware, DVDs & Downloads

As we start the New Year, let’s take a look at some technology updates for those looking at new ways to improve their design productivity with SOLIDWORKS 2018.

Three key areas of focus on are:

  • New design interface techniques enabled by Windows® 10
  • New very high resolution “4K” graphics cards and displays
  • Smaller, lighter machines, typically equipped without DVD drives

SOLIDWORKS 2018 offers new capabilities to best leverage new features in Windows 10. All new Windows-based machines are now provided with Windows 10, which brings new technology to the design space, including the use of touch-based and pen-based interaction techniques. Touch and pen features are available on more and more Windows 10-based tablets and computers but not all machines yet. These features open up new ways to navigate and design using one or more fingers, the pen (stylus) or a combination of both approaches. Many of the techniques that we use every day to browse, zoom, and navigate our digital pictures on mobile devices can now be used during the design process with SOLIDWORKS.


3D visualization is one of the most powerful capabilities provided by SOLIDWORKS. Today many (if not most) computers are shipped with very high resolution displays that offer “4K” resolution (some even offer ‘5K’ resolution) that bring better graphics presentation than ever before for applications that can take advantage of these new features. SOLIDWORKS 2018 is one of those applications that can take advantage of “4K” technology. Older versions of SOLIDWORKS will display UI and menus as very small on this new hardware. Setting the resolution to a lower level will enable older versions of SOLIDWORKS to appear as normal, but this action will defeat the purpose of the new higher resolution graphics. Upgrading to SOLIDWORKS 2018 will help take advantage of this new graphics technology. Learn more about how to gear up for 4K resolutions for SOLIDWORKS here.

New hardware technology is more and more frequently in laptop packages, especially for designers and engineers on the go. New laptop machines are getting thinner and sometimes larger in screen size to better support design tasks. These thinner package sizes typically result in most machines being unable to include an internal DVD drive, which now places the emphasis on downloading your next version of SOLIDWORKS from your company network or from the SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal.

New generation of powerful Windows 10-based laptops typically bring thinner and thinner design, touch screen/pen design capability, but typically no DVD drives. (Lenovo P40 Yoga shown.)


The architecture of SOLIDWORKS helps speed this process as the first portion of the SOLIDWORKS 2018 download is to download & install the Installation Manager, which then pings the SOLIDWORKS licensing server to determine the SOLIDWORKS entitlement associated with the Serial Number provided. Then only the software code needed to provide that entitlement will be downloaded to your machine.

For those who are still in need of DVDs for use with older machines, SOLIDWORKS will continue to offer DVDs into the near future.

Please help us to better serve your needs by sharing your current and projected hardware, graphics, and DVD usage at our brief online survey. We expect this to take no more than 15 minutes of your time. Thank you in advance for your participation.


Eric Leafquist

Eric Leafquist

Eric Leafquist is a Senior Product Manager at SOLIDWORKS involved with electrical and routed systems, along with other areas of the product. Prior to joining SOLIDWORKS, he held various positions in electro-mechanical product design and engineering in the chemical process industry. In his free time, he enjoys cycling on his Trek road bike (designed with SOLIDWORKS) for cancer research fundraising events.