Top Ten Enhancements in SOLIDWORKS CAD 2024

The cat is out of the bag as last month we unveiled what’s new in SOLIDWORKS 2024, available in November. SOLIDWORKS 2024 contains new, user-driven enhancements focused on helping you work smarter, faster—together. With each release we base enhancements on several factors.

First, let’s start with the most important, the feedback we get directly from you. In the time I’ve been at SOLIDWORKS, almost 20 years, we’ve really focused on making sure user requests are a priority. One of the ways we listen to our customers is by opening up submissions for the Top Ten List each year. Some of the deciding factors for user-driven enhancements are based on how many people request them, and how many people use the functionality and how often they use it.

Other enhancements are based on the technology we think is important to the future of SOLIDWORKS, such as the 3DXPERIENCE platform and making sure you can use your SOLIDWORKS data with other solutions in the 3DXPERIENCE Works portfolio. SOLIDWORKS is great, but it can’t do everything.

With that in mind I want to call out some of the top enhancements we’ve been working on throughout the year available in SOLIDWORKS 2024 and its companion products that enable you to easily work across different disciplines and convey your design intent clearly. These include enhancements to SOLIDWORKS CAD and solutions for visualization, model-based definition (MBD), and electrical.

Let the count down to the number one feature begin!

#10 SOLIDWORKS Visualize – create compelling appearances with more advanced real-life rendering capabilities.

Wow. Look at the rendering below. It sure does capture the look and feel of fall. That’s just a sample of what you can do to deliver more-realistic renderings with the latest updates in SOLIDWORKS Visualize. Enhancements enable you to:

  • Select appearance types and optimize their parameters more easily with a simplified interface.
  • Adjust textures and texture maps for parameters, with greater control and fidelity.
  • Combine normal and displacement maps and apply vector displacement


Easily replicate the realistic appearance of metal, glass, plastic, and other surfaces with SOLIDWORKS Visualize.


9. SOLIDWORKS MBD – Communicate your design more clearly downstream.

Using model-based definition on your 3D models to communicate design specs is definitely a growing practice so I’d highly recommend checking out SOLIDWORKS MBD if you haven’t yet. This year there’s been many updates that improve communication downstream to manufacturing with new MBD capabilities in SOLIDWORKS MBD. A few of the updates include the ability to:

  • Export a hole table when you publish a part to 3D PDF.
  • Edit the dangling dimensions to reattach them to a feature in the model.
  • Export custom properties from a part or assembly to the STEP 242 format.


Communicate your design intent in 3D with hole tables, the ability to display dual dimensions, add a decimal separator in geometric tolerance symbols, and more in SOLIDWORKS MBD.


#8 SOLIDWORKS Electrical – create more informative documentation faster.

Better performance is always at the top of everyone’s list and with SOLIDWORKS Electrical you can expect just that. Key enhancements enable you to:

  • Insert auto balloons in SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2D cabinet layout drawings.
  • Shorten lists using ranges. In report configuration, when you merge rows, the software lists consecutive values as a range for merged rows instead of listing each individual value in the range.
  • Automatically reset undefined macro variables with Excel automation.


Insert auto balloons and improve 3D performance by creating or updating only the current electrical route rather than all routes in all assemblies in SOLIDWORKS Electrical.


#7 Routing – handle more complex electrical routing scenarios with new options for flattening, reorienting, and displaying wires and connectors.

Tackle more complex projects with new options for flattening, reorienting, and displaying wires and connectors. Enhancements include:


  • A new option to update only the current 3D electrical route.
  • The ability to add electrical routes as either single segments or as groups of discrete wires in electrical bundles.
Improve routing design clarity with the ability to add electrical routes as either single segments or as groups of discrete wires in electrical bundles.


#6 Structure System – build and modify complex structures faster with less effort.

Create weldments faster with fewer modifications with the new corner treatments. In addition, you can:

  • Speed up the editing and management of corner treatments with the ability to group similar corners and apply treatments automatically or manually.
  • Automatically create an open corner for the addition of a connection block with a new corner treatment option.


Save time with improved corner treatment functionality for structure systems.


#5 Sheet Metal – save time and meet manufacturing standards more easily.

For sheet metal design you can use the new Rip tool to create rips in hollow or thin-walled cylindrical and conical bodies. Simply by selecting an edge on a cylindrical or conical face, you can flatten the part as sheet metal. Other top enhancements for sheet metal include:


  • Normal Cut option for slots when tabs are created at an angle.
  • Automatically propagate slots to all instances of a tab that intersects a specific part.
Create a stamp/form feature on the fly using just Sketch eliminating the need for form tool creation.


#4 Drawings and Detailing – Create drawings that communicate designs more clearly.

Make sure your design intent is crystal clear with new options and detail drawings faster with improved chain dimensioning alignment and adherence to drawing standards. Other top enhancements include the ability to:

  • Clean up dangling dimensions more efficiently by reattaching them to the proper reference points.
  • Exclude hidden sketches from DXF™ Flat-Pattern with a new option.
Create drawings that communicate designs more clearly with improvements to chain dimensioning, more efficient dimension reattachment, and reduced DXF export post-processing.


#3 Parts and Features – speed up sketching and capture design intent more clearly.

SOLIDWORKS 2024 includes a new option to preview and edit a dimension as soon as you select one or more entities. In addition, you can:

  • Create bidirectional, symmetric patterns with the Symmetric option for Linear Pattern.
  • Display the unit of measurement as a custom property in notes and tables


Create bidirectional linear patterns with a single click using the new Symmetric option.


#2 Assemblies – new workflows speed up large assembly design, documentation, and collaboration.

Simplify your design in fewer steps to improve performance and protect your intellectual property. Defeature your model with the Defeature Silhouette option using rules which can be based on criteria such as custom property, mass property, and file name. You can also:

  • Represent post-assembly machining operations in SOLIDWORKS with Insert Assembly into Part.
  • Simplify assembly STEP file import with the ability to filter out unwanted components on the fly.


Simplify your large design faster and easier with rules that can be used for defeaturing a design using the Silhouette method.


And the number one enhancement of the year is…

#1 Previous Release Compatibility – collaborate more efficiently with other users who have older versions of SOLIDWORKS.

You’ve been asking for this one and in SOLIDWORKS 2024 we have delivered. This new capability is a game changer as it lets you collaborate with anyone who is using an older version of SOLIDWORKS by saving your files as a previous SOLIDWORKS release.

With Previous Release Compatibility you can save parts, assemblies, and drawings as SOLIDWORKS versions that are up to two years prior to the latest release so you can collaborate with users who don’t have the latest version.


That wraps up this year’s top ten enhancements, but another big thing I want to mention that was done this year is the availability of Cloud Services, providing all SOLIDWORKS users access to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, now available to all newly purchased desktop licenses.

Catch some videos and learn more about how SOLIDWORKS 2024 helps you work smarter, faster, together at Download the top 10 here! If you missed what CEO Manish Kumar is looking forward to read this blog.

Craig Therrien

Craig Therrien

Craig Therrien is a 3DEXPERIENCE WORKS Senior Portfolio Manager with over 30 years of CAD and industry experience - engineer, consultant, CAD product manager, CAD company co-founder. Currently, serving as Senior Product Manager for SOLIDWORKS and 3D Mold Creator. Craig has a B.S.M.E. from WPI and is a Graduate of General Electric's Manufacturing Development Program.