What’s Old Over the Past Decade – The 40 most memorable enhancements from 2007-2017

Since the first edition of SOLIDWORKS in 1995 to now, there have been over 7,000 enhancements made to the tool, turning it in to the best CAD package on the market. Every fall SOLIDWORKS comes out with a new release of SOLIDWORKS filled with hundreds of enhancements and new tools, most of which are requested by the users. But as some new functionality is discovered in the latest release, a handful of enhancements from years past are missed. Maybe you discovered these recently, or maybe you found out about them because of a related enhancement in the current version. Either way, these are the most memorable enhancements you want to make sure you didn’t miss.

Here are the 40 most memorable enhancements from the last decade of SOLIDWORKS.

User Interface

  1. Instant 3D (2008): Dynamically drag and make changes to features 
  2. View Triad (2009): An effective way to maneuver around your design in 3D space
  3. View Selector (2013): Spacebar on keyboard to easily navigate and orient your models
  4. Shortcut Bar (2009): “S” key on the keyboard offers quick access to custom tools 
  5. Magnifying Glass (2009): “G” key on keyboard to zoom independently to areas 
  6. Hide/Show All (2017): The easiest way to hide or show your components 
  7. Breadcrumbs (2016): “D” key on keyboard to see a feature’s hierarchy and easily make changes 
  8. Command Search (2012): Instantly find anything 
  9. Filter Bar (2010): Filters down the Feature Tree and graphics window 



  1. Shaded Contours (2017): Easily identify closed contours with added drag and drop functionality 
  2. Negative & Zero Dimensions (2009): Changes an entity’s orientation 
  3. Slot Tool (2009): 4 different slot options for easy sketching 
  4. Make Path (2014): Combine sketch entities and drive lengths 
  5. Sketch Relations to Point (2015): Save time and easily add relations to entities at a common vertex 
  6. Midpoint Line (2015): Automated tool for midpoint line sketches 
  7. Link Text to Properties (2010): Link sketch text to properties such as part number, weight, and description 
  8. Segment Sketch (2015): Break up a sketch into segment for equal spacing for things like bolt circles 



  1. Exchangeable Chamfers & Fillets (2017): Turn an existing chamfer into a fillet 
  2. Conic Fillets (2014): A fillet that holds a conic rho value for curvature 
  3. Curvature Continuous Fillets (2016): A fillet that uses a hold line to control curvature 
  4. Revolve End Conditions (2011): End conditions to easily define revolved features 
  5. Reference Planes (2010): Easily add useful planes based on references 
  6. Zonal Section Views (2015): A section view type that easily conveys your designs 
  7. Transparent Section Views (2017): Convey even more details clearly with this section view type 


  1. Tab to Hide Components (2012): Instantly hide or show components with the tab key 
  2. Assembly Level BOMs (2009): A BOM that can be shown on an assembly removing the need to switch between the assembly and drawing to work with a BOM 
  3. Hole Alignment (2008): A tool that checks to make sure holes are lined up 
  4. Assembly Visualization (2010): An easy way to visualize and interrogate your assemblies 
  5. Configuration Selector (2010): A drop down menu for quick access to change configurations 
  6. Component Preview Window (2016): Work on a part in its own window separate from the assembly 


  1. Change Highlight (2012): Compare your drawing against the last saved version to understand differences 
  2. Multi-Leaders (2007): With a quick “Control & Drag” you can add multi-leaders to your drawings 
  3. Dimension Palette (2010): An intuitive interface to easily add complex dimensions to drawings 
  4. Bent Leaders / Jog Lines (2008): Right mouse click a leader to add bent or jog leaders 
  5. Title Block Wizard (2009): An easy way to create or edit your custom title blocks 
  6. Drag / Drop Annotations (2010): Drag annotations into dimensions and lists and also from the design library 
  7. Parametric Notes (2008): Add links to dimensions, notes, balloons, etc, with auto-update capabilities 
  8. BOMs 2.0 (2010): This year came with several BOM enhancements such as: add row for extra items, drag to reorder, view parts, and drag to separate sheets 
  9. Magnetic Lines (2012): An easy way to clean up and organize your drawings 
  10. Watermarks (2016): Added security to your drawings 


As you can see there have been some major improvements to the tool over the past few years. But don’t worry, keeping up with the additions and enhancements doesn’t need to be a full time job. Be sure to keep in touch with the SOLIDWORKS Tech Blog or your Reseller to learn about the highlights and tools you’ll want to be using in each new edition of the tool.

Stephen Petrock
Since 1998, TriMech has helped our clients design better products by partnering with them and offering, not only CAD, CAE, PDM, FEA, CAM software products, but also by engineering solutions involving full-time and temporary staffing, contract design, analysis and drafting services, rapid prototyping, custom programming and implementation services. TriMech is a value-added reseller of SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys 3D Printers in the Mid-Atlantic and South-East including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Stephen Petrock