SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #1: Getting Started

       After teaching 1000’s of students and writing about SOLIDWORKS for over 25 years, David Planchard, emeritus WPI, is exploring xDesign.  Through the SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson series, David helps educators understand the differences and similarities between xDesign and SOLIDWORKS through simple examples. He also introduces new apps in the engineering design process.                           

I’m excited to explore xDesign and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The browser-based xDesign app is SOLIDWORKS’ next generation design tool built on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform by Dassault Systèmes. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a technology platform, in design, simulation, intelligent information and collaboration. xDesign goes beyond standard CAD, it introduces new ideas and workflows in creating and sharing products on any device.

This learning series explores SOLIDWORKS xDesign. If you are an educator, student, maker or SOLIDWORKS user, let’s start with launching the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and the xDesign app.

The xDesign app is available when you purchase 3D Creator, 3D Designer for Educators, SOLIDWORKS Cloud Apps for Students, or 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS for Makers.

Every student will need to create their own 3DEXPERIENCE ID. It is recommended to use your school’s assigned email address.

Create and register your 3DEXPERIENCE ID (credentials) to the platform.

Click here to create and register a new ID. Note: In an academic environment, it is strongly recommended to use your school’s assigned email address.

Input the requested information.

Click Register.

You will receive the 3DEXPERIENCE platform Invitation link via email. The email you use must be the same as your 3DEXPERIENCE ID.

Click Launch your 3DEXPERIENCE platform from the Invitation email. Your web browser opens.

Bookmark the address.

Store the Invitation email in a safe location. You may need it in the future.

Login with your 3DEXPERIENCE ID.

 Review and close the Welcome box.

Click the center of the Compass as illustrated for Roles, Apps & Solutions portfolio.

The 3DDashboard is displayed. The dashboard displays the Roles and Apps that you have assigned or purchased. Your dashboard may differ. Your administrator can create a unique dashboard in a classroom environment.

Roles and applications are on the left side.

Click 3D Designer under the My Roles (xDesign). 3D Designer role is assigned to educators and students.

Note: 3D Creator is for commercial clients and makers.

Click xDesign to launch the App. The xDesign App creates prismatic parts and assemblies.

The xDesign App is displayed. Note your options. Some of these options are similar to the Welcome dialog box in SOLIDWORKS.

Click Close to expand xDesign.

Create a new component.

Click New Component.


The default Name* of the component is Physical Product 1.

The default Location defines the collaborative space where your components are saved. This is a pointer in the cloud. This is not a folder. The default location is named: Common Space.

Your Collaborative space location will differ depending on administration or user with access rights setup.


Rename the default New Component (Physical Product 1).

Enter Axle for Name*.

Click OK.

Accept the default (3DEXPERIENCE) Mouse Control.

Click OK.

The xDesign App is displayed.

The Design Manager display is similar to the SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager. They both provide information about the Physical Product (Axle). The 3D Shape 1 contains geometry, sketches, and features.

The default reference planes are: xy (Top), yz (Front), and zx (Right).

The Action bar contains design tools are similar to the SOLIDWORKS CommandManager with various default tabs.

The Triad helps the user view the sketch, feature and component on the selected plane or axis.

The Expansion arrow in the Work Area provides additional tools.

Close the xDesign session.

Click Close from the Action bar.
Note: If network connection is interrupted, the following message is provided.

Note: A message will be provided if your session is inactive on the network connection.


After you create a 3DEXPERIENCE ID, Educators, can get more information on xDesign and SOLIDWORKS.  Request to join the 3DEXPERIENCE Academic Community for free at

Students, join the student community for free at Check out great posts on Mechanism Mondays, Heritage Tuesdays, Simulation Saturdays.

Stay tuned for David’s next SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #2: Mouse Control and Collaborative Space.

Design well,  Marie


Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard