3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson #1: Getting Started with SOLIDWORKS and the Platform

           After teaching 1000’s of students and writing about SOLIDWORKS for over 25 years, David Planchard, emeritus WPI, is exploring SOLIDWORKS desktop and the integrated 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.  Through the 3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson series, David helps educators understand the 3DEXPERIENCE Add-In with simple examples and industry practices. The Platform offers are available thru your Education Partner (VAR).

After writing and teaching SOLIDWORKS for over 25 years, I’m excited to explore SOLIDWORKS desktop using the integrated 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

There are a few questions which I think many existing SOLIDWORKS users want to know. What is the 3DEXPERIENCE platform? Why should I use the platform? How does it work within my SOLIDWORKS session?

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides downloadable content (DLC) from a secure cloud location within your SOLIDWORKS session. The platform enables you to collaborate with students and teams on and off campus through a browser. Think of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform simply as a SOLIDWORKS Add-In on your desktop. Experience a single modeling environment. Access the platform within the SOLIDWORKS Task Pane.

New saving tools. The platform provides additional information inside your SOLIDWORKS session about the state of a part, component, assembly or drawing. The traditional save commands are still available. When connected to the platform, there are many new save options available to the user. These options ensure that the latest revision and updates are being saved to the correct Bookmarks (folders) in the cloud. Secure links, not files, can be created to share information inside/outside of your team.

New open tools. Most people use the traditional Windows folder structure to open their SOLIDWORKS models. You can still do this. A new option is to open any model directly from the platform in your cloud storage space, within a SOLIDWORKS session. This option provides key SOLIDWORKS properties for all models in your space; Revision, Modification date, Creation date, Owner name, Maturity state, Lock, UnLock, etc. Auto generated embedded model properties ensures academic integrity, contact identification, and improved search capabilities.

Overwrite protection. The platform provides visual properties in the SOLIDWORKS Task Pane Lock/UnLock, Owners Name, Maturity state (In Work by name), Description, Revision, etc. The model properties are key to prevent other members from accessing the model when someone else on the team is working on the document.

Handing revisions. Many of my student use poor naming conventions, (Example: Bracket new – newer – last design) and sometimes do not work with their latest revision. Revisions now have their own space. No more using the Save As command with the platform. The platform will address revisions and comments that will stay with the document forever. Key document properties are always available.

Storage. The platform provides secure cloud storage space for your models tied to your login account. Login from any browser to access your cloud storage space (Collaborative space). Are there other free cloud storage options? Yes, but having data stored with Dassault Systemes that understands your content is the differentiator for me.

Improved search tools. You saved your documents to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. What new tools are available to you? The platform provides the ability to search by the auto generated embedded model properties of the document. Search by Description, Name, Owner, Creation date, etc. Use 6W Tags (Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How) to quickly locate the needed information.

In this lesson, close SOLIDWORKS on your desktop before you begin.

Work through the steps provided to obtain your 3DEXPERIENCE ID (login credentials) to access the platform.

Install the Design with SOLIDWORKS App. This provides the ability to upload, store, manage, and share files.

Open a SOLIDWORKS assembly and view the 3DEXPERIENCE Add-In on your SOLIDWORKS desktop.

The MySession panel displays the two-way communication between SOLIDWORKS running on your computer and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform running in the cloud in a single modeling environment.

There are three different user types when using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform: Administrator, Member (student), and Administrator/Member (educator). This lesson is written for an individual Member, who has permission, with their own computer. For computer lab installation, contact your Value Added Reseller (Partner).

Note: This lesson is not for SOLIDWORKS Connected “3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS”.

Before you begin: You need to purchase a 3DEXPERIENCE education offer from your VAR.


Create and register your 3DEXPERIENCE ID (credentials) to the platform. An internet connection is required.

Click here to create and register a new ID. 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.

Bookmark the address. This is your unique link to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Store the Invitation email in a safe location.

Login with your 3DEXPERIENCE ID.

Review and close the Welcome box.


At initial login, you are provided with a general 3DEXPERIENCE Dashboard. The name of the Dashboard is My First Dashboard. Dashboards organize Apps and Widgets. A Widget is an extension of the App that allows you to use it in the Dashboard.

Depending on your license, (academic, student, maker, or commercial) you will have a default Dashboard. For academics, your IT administrator or instructor will create a default Dashboard for a class.

Click the Menu button to view the Dashboards and cockpits list. This displays a list of the Dashboards that you have access to.

In the example below, My First Dashboard is displayed. I created other Dashboards. You may see additional Dashboards.

The Compass is a means of launching your Apps.

Click the center of the Compass.

A 3DDashboard is displayed. The panel displays the Roles, Cockpits, My Favorite Apps and Apps that you have been assigned or purchased.

Design with SOLIDWORKS App

Install the Design with SOLIDWORKS App. The Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS Role provides access to use the 3DEXPERIENCE platform from within SOLIDWORKS. This provides the ability to upload, store, manage, and share files. Note: This lesson is not for SOLIDWORKS Connected “3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS”.

Drag the slider bar downward until you see the Design with SOLIDWORKS App.

Click Design with SOLIDWORKS.

If this is the first time you installed any applications from the platform, install the 3DEXPERIENCE Launcher.


Click Download 3DEXPERIENCE Launcher from the dialog box. The 3DEXPERIENCE Launcher will be downloaded to your browser setting location.

Run the downloaded application.

The Welcome to the 3DEXPERIENCE Launcher Setup Wizard is displayed. Install the Launcher.

Click Next.

 Select the location of the downloaded files.

Click Install.

 When completed, click Finish.

 When finished, the Welcome to the 3DEXPERIENCE launcher dialog box is displayed.

Click Continue.

Click Install All Roles Containing Design with SOLIDWORKS.

The 3DEXPERIENCE Launcher is displayed in the Graphics area.


This starts the process of the download and installation of the SOLIDWORKS connector for the platform.

Click Next>.


Select the location of the downloaded files.

Click Next>.

Select the location for your vault (PDM) view.

This needs to be a local disk drive on your computer. The default is C:\3DEXPERIENCE.

Click Next>.

 Select language.

Click Next>.

Install the files on your hard drive.

Click Install>.

 Once completed, Click OK.

Close the Installation dialog box.

Click Close.

Close all running programs.

Restart your computer.

Login to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Use your unique link from your Invitation email to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.


Launch the Design with SOLIDWORKS App

Click the center of the Compass.

 Drag the slider bar downward under My Apps until you see the Design with SOLIDWORKS App.


Click the Design with SOLIDWORKS App.

SOLIDWORKS is opened and you are connected to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Close the Welcome – SOLIDWORKS dialog box.

Click Close.

Click the 3DEXPERIENCE icon in the Task Pane. If you do not see the 3DEXPERIENCE icon, select 3DEXPERIENCE from the SOLIDWORKS Add-Ins.

Read the message.

Click Accept All.

MySession Panel

The MySession panel displays the two-way communication between SOLIDWORKS running on your computer and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform running in the cloud. Experience a single modeling environment. Note: The default storage space, “Collaborative space” is called Common Space. The illustration below displays my Collaborative space called: Quick Start xDesign.

Download the SOLIDWORKS assembly to follow along with this lesson.

Assembly Modeling 8-1

Open the SOLIDWORKS assembly, Assembly Modeling 8-1,  that has not been uploaded or saved to the platform. The SOLIDWORKS assembly is displayed in the Graphics area. The assembly and components are displayed in the FeatureManager and Task Pane.

The Status, orange save icons, indicate that the assembly and components have not been uploaded and saved to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Below is an illustrated of the assembly after it is saved to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. 

Note: Once the 3DEXPERIENCE Launcher has been installed, your computer may display the 3DPassport dialog box in the desktop. This is an easy way to login to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform before starting a SOLIDWORKS session.

We are finished with this lesson. In the next lesson we will explore saving and revisions of a SOLIDWORKS document, as they adhere to industry practices, to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Academic Community: After you create a 3DEXPERIENCE ID, Educators, can get more information SOLIDWORKS and the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.  Request to join the 3DEXPERIENCE Academic Community for free at go.3ds.com/academiccommunity.

Student Community: Students, join the student community for free at go.3ds.com/studentcommunity.  Check out great posts on Mechanism Mondays, FEA Fridays,  Solid Saturdays (animations),  Formula Student and Formula SAE exercises.

Stay tuned for David’s next 3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson #2: SOLIDWORKS Save and Revision.


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