10 Tips for Educators using the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform with SOLIDWORKS Desktop

Educators and students have been teaching and learning SOLIDWORKS for over 25 years.  The SOLIDWORKS Education Edition gives students the tools to engineer, simulate, document and visualize their designs.

As SOLIDWORKS has changed, so too has education.  There are more project-based learning classes, video instruction courses, and team-focused projects.  SOLIDWORKS Education has new offers based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to reflect these changes in pedagogy and technology.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a technology platform that allows users to create, store and share data in a cloud environment. Design, simulation, information, and collaborative applications are accessed through a web-browser.

1. Understand how SOLIDWORKS desktop connects to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform

To connect SOLIDWORKS desktop to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, create a 3DEXPERIENCE ID (unique login) and install the 3DEXPERIENCE Launcher on your Windows computer.  The 3DEXPERIENCE Add In is displayed in the SOLIDWORKS task pane on the right side of your Graphics Window.

The SOLIDWORKS task pane becomes your access to the platform for cloud storage, revisions, and creative apps.

This look and feel is very similar to how you have been working with SOLIDWORKS.  You can continue to create parts, assemblies and drawings and save them to your PC.  SOLIDWORKS data saved to cloud storage is displayed in the task pane.

You can also “drive” SOLIDWORKS as an app from your 3DEXPERIENCE platform.  From your web browser, SOLIDWORKS desktop will open.  As an educator, you can create a custom dashboard for your class that includes course and lesson information and collaborative spaces to share to an entire class, section, or group of teaching assistants and colleagues.

You can go from SOLIDWORKS desktop to the platform.  You can go from the platform to SOLIDWORKS desktop. The workflow depends on what you want to teach your students.

2. Start with Simple Parts and Assemblies

For 25 years, opening a part in SOLIDWORKS or saving an assembly in SOLIDWORKS has followed Windows protocol.  Files are saved to your PC, a USB, disk, or a network drive.  Files can still be saved to your PC.  But now you can also save to a cloud space.  The best workflow is to set your collaborate cloud space and always use Bookmarks from SOLIDWORKS,

To understand how to save SOLIDWORKS documents to the cloud, start with a simple part and then a simple assembly. Use Bookmark folders and Bookmarks to organize your data.

Make a change to the part or assembly and review how the revision updates.  When you work, be sure to Lock and then Unlock the component.

For the SOLIDWORKS user, without PDM, these file management actions are new to learn.  But soon students will name files correctly with adhering to good industry practices.

3. SOLIDWORKS Student Access and the Platform

Qualified schools on subscription have access to SOLIDWORKS Student Access that provides home use licensing to students.  Schools that purchase 3DEXPERIENCE Education offers also have named user access for their students.  Students can connect their SOLIDWORKS Student Access license to the Platform using their 3DEXPERIENCE ID and the 3DEXPERIENCE Launcher.

4. Certification through SOLIDWORKS and the Platform

SOLIDWORKS Edu provides certification through our academic certification provider program.  Educators can select from 14 SOLIDWORKS desktop exams and core 3DEXPERIENCE platform exams. Apply here.

Questions are random, based on 1000’s of values, and grading is automatic.  Certificates with unique numbers are given to successful students and employers can confirm certifications through our 3DEXPERIENCE Certification Center and LinkedIn.  These are the same exams given in industry.  Give your students an exam for life-long learning.

5. My SOLIDWORKS and Edu Space

Your SOLIDWORKS Student Access serial number provides access to My SolidWorks for you and your students.  Here you can learn about the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and key apps and roles that are relevant to the SOLIDWORKS users. The SOLIDWORKS Student Access serial number unlocks 100’s of lessons and new learning paths.

There are 1000’s of hours of content on 3DEXPERIENCE Edu Space available from your value added reseller (partner) for advanced apps.

6. 3DEXPERIENCE Academic Community and SolidWorks User Group Network (SWUGN) Communities

SOLIDWORKS has many online communities.  Any educator of  Dassault Systemes software can be part of the 3DEXPERIENCE Academic Community, to find resources and ask questions. The community is private.  You can request to join at go.3ds.com/academiccommunity.  You need to create a 3DEXPERIENCE ID.

There is also the 3DEXPERIENCE Student Community for you students to post questions, share ideas and enter contests at go.3ds.com/studentcommunity.

There are also public Brand communities for SOLIDWORKS, DELMIA, SIMULIA and CATIA.

The SolidWorks User Group Network are independent user groups throughout the world.  They share a common love for SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE platform and welcome educators and students to their meetings.

7. My Favorites

Similar to your smart phone, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform contains many apps.  And like using my smart phone, I use a handful of apps everyday.  Slide your most common apps from the My Apps area to your My Favorites Apps area.




SOLIDWORKS Cloud Apps? What does that mean? SOLIDWORKS desktop is known for product design.  It runs on a PC with Windows.  SOLIDWORKS Cloud CAD Apps are a family of apps used also for product design, but they run 100% from a web-browser.  Data is created, saved and stored to the cloud.  The xApps in the education offer are xDesign, xShape, xDrawing, xFrame, xMold, and xSheetMetal.  Developed by the SOLIDWORKS R&D team, these cloud apps contain new AI functionality and design guidance along the way.

In the commercial world, these apps are bundled together in roles called 3DCreator and 3DSculptor.  In education offers, the xApps are grouped together in the 3D Designer for Education offer.

I would recommend starting with the xDesign app. It is similar to designing in SOLIDWORKS and creates prismatic shapes.  I enjoy learning about xShape.  The xShape app lets you create organic shapes. You can work between apps like xDesign and xShape.  To switch between xDesign and xShape, press the x key.

You can also create a design in the xApps, like xShape, and open it in SOLIDWORKS desktop.  The platform manages design data between windows and cloud – connected.

9. Simulation Apps that Enhance SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS Education Edition contains SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium, SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation and SOLIDWORKS Plastics, for injection molding simulation.  If you have to solve problems or teach students about non-linear analysis, advanced composite materials, or antenna simulation, 3DEXPERIENCE Engineer offer contains the roles required for advanced analysis. Structural analysis uses the Abaqus solver and other advanced solvers tied to durability, large deformation and time-dependent analysis – all based on SIMULIA Simulation technology.

From SOLIDWORKS desktop you can save your data to the platform.  From the SOLIDWORKS task pane you can select the apps to perform structural, fluids, plastics and electromagnetic analysis.


10. Manufacturing Apps that Enhance SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS CAM is an Add In to the SOLIDWORKS Education Edition.  It delivers knowledge based CNC programming for part and assembly milling and turning that provides a single, integrated solution from design to manufacture.  SOLIDWORKS CAM utilizes 3 + 2 programming, a machining technique where a three axis milling program is executed with the cutting tool locked in a tilted position using the five-axis machine’s two rotational axes.

The Manufacturing apps in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform expand SOLIDWORKS CAM functionality to include advanced machining capabilities and introduces new apps in Robotic Programming and Factory Simulation.

I spent 5 years in the automation industry and really see the learning benefits for students to understand the behavior of these large robots with key manufacturers like ABB, Fanuc, Universal and more – even if you do not have a robot, you can simulate work cells. Students save their SOLIDWORKS model to the platform and then the CAD data is utilized by Robot Programmer.


These 10 tips are not just mine.  They come from educators, colleagues and my husband David, professor emeritus at WPI.  After years of teaching and writing about SOLIDWORKS,  David has created Educator blog posts about using the platform with SOLIDWORKS, the xDesign app, and Simulation apps. Our weekends  have explored the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.  There is so much to learn and share.

Be part of a community to share and learn from others.

For Educators: go.3ds.com/academiccommunity

For Students: go.3ds.com/studentcommunity


For SIMULATION Users: go.3ds.com/SIMC

For Manufacturing Users: go.3ds.com/DELMIA




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