The Power of RELOAD

The RELOAD command in SOLIDWORKS is a very underused (or maybe misunderstood) command. Let’s take a look at the correct way to use it…

If you have an assembly (or drawing) open and you want to make a change to an individual part, one way to do it is to right+click the part and Open Part (in its own window). You can then make the changes you need to that part file (adding holes, changing dimensions, etc). When it’s time to go back over to the assembly you can hit the little “x” in the top right of the part window to close it. This causes a message pops up asking if you want to save the part.

People always freak out at this step and hit YES.  You get an option for YES or NO here.  There wouldn’t be an option for NO there if it wasn’t possible… If you hit NO, you still get to see all of your changes reflected in the assembly.  All you have told it to do is NOT save your changes to the hard drive. In other words, it is better to hit NO here. As long as you still have the assembly (or drawing) open in the background, the part is not really closing. Just that window is closing. It’s ok… trust me…

Now,  why did I have you hit NO on the save?

Let’s say you get over to the assembly and you don’t like what you did.  If you had hit yes to the save, too bad.  You’re done. You saved it. It’s changed. No going back…

If you listened to me, and hit NO to the save, then you do have a way to “go back”!


RELOAD will take the file you changed (in RAM) and swap it for the “old” one (without the changes) that is still on the hard drive. Here is where people miss the boat on the RELOAD tool though…

While in the assembly go up to FILE–RELOAD, but don’t just hit OK! If you did that it would close and then reload the entire assembly. This might take a couple minutes to do on a large assembly and you may lose other changes you have made to the assembly! Instead hit the SHOW REFERENCES button at the upper right.

Reload Show References

Now you will see all of the part files (references) listed. You can uncheck the box at the top left and it will uncheck all of the boxes next to the part files. This indicates what exactly you want to reload.

Reload with References

Now you can JUST select the one (or more) files you would like to RELOAD rather than reloading everything.

Reload Select Reference

When you hit OK, it will flush the changes out that you made to the part (checked above) in RAM and swap it for the one on the hard drive that is the “original”.

How easy was that?

Now you know how to use RELOAD the correct way!

Randy Simmons is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Application Engineer, Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert, and Application Engineer at 3DVision Technologies, a SOLIDWORKS Value Added Reseller with locations throughout Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. He is a regular contributor to the 3DVision Blog.

3DVision Technologies
Founded in 1995 in Cincinnati, Ohio 3DVision Technologies Corp. has enjoyed over 18 years of success as one of the finest SolidWorks providers in the Great Lakes Region. 3DVision Technologies is a team of experienced mechanical engineers that support the visions of engineers globally. With solutions for the design and manufacturing industries including 3D solid-modeling, computer aided analysis, product data management and 3D Printers our products solve engineers' most important product development goals: higher quality products, less time to market, lower development costs, better design communication, collaboration and review.