SolidWorks has a TON of useful features and ways to model the most amazing chunks of 3D your nimble fingers can sketch and extrude, but some features are a fiery heap of performance hindering options that just get in the way.
We’ve put together 12 features you can turn off right away to get better SolidWorks performance and a faster machine. Some of these options are useful, some never will be, but it always comes down to what kind of performance you expect out of that fancy workstation.
Do you need them?
Why would they be there if you didn’t need them, right? That’s why all of these options can be turned on or off. The features you use depend a lot on what functionality you need and your workflow. You may want to keep some on, but, far and away, these setting do nothing to get your modeling done faster. So, here the are – The 12 SolidWorks features you don’t need and how to turn them off.
Note: just to be safe, run the Option Setting Wizard to save your existing options. You can find it in the Start menu, under the SolidWorks Tools folder. The setting I go over below are specific to 2008 and 2009, but you’ll find most in previous versions as well.
- Thumbnail graphics in Windows Explorer
These are the small graphics that show up next to your file name in Windows Explorer. Why? I’m not sure. They’re are not useful, so lets get rid of them. Go to Tools, Options, System Options, General and uncheck the option that says ‘Thumbnail graphics in Windows Explorer‘. You’ll need to restart for the change to take affect.
- RealView Scenes
You may like them, I do, I like creating new scenes, but ya don’t need them and for those with older graphics cards it has the tendency to cause some jitters and clipping. To turn the off, go to Tools, Options, System Options, Colors and choose the Plain or Gradient Option under Background Appearances.
- Hide/Show Tree Items (Feature Manager)
There’s a couple folders that show up by default in the FeatureManager. It doesn’t so much affect performance, but you don’t need to have them on. The Light, Camera and Scenes folder is only useful if you are setting up lights for renderings. The Annotations folder is useful if you use/create annotated views in your model. My suggestion is to set them to automatic, so they only show up when you need them to. You can control the visibility of all of the folders and reference items in the FeatureManager via Tools, Options, System Options, Feature Manager or simply right-click in the FeatureManager and select Hide/Show Tree Items…
- Confirmation Corner
I asked in a previous post how many actually use this. I was surprised that many still do. You don’t need to though. You can use a keyboard shortcut to Exit Sketch without saving in Tools, Customize, Keyboard. For example, set Exit sketch to Alt-Q, uncheck Enable Confirmation Corner in Tools, Options, System Options, General and keep your mouse over the area you’re working in instead of moving up to the corner and back down.
- Heads-up Toolbar
If you’ve been using SolidWorks 2008 or 2009, you’re likely use to this by now. It’s the toolbar at the top of each display area in SolidWorks. It’s somewhat customizable, but there’s no option to just turn it off. For me, it tends to get in the way. I have all the commands on my Shortcut Bar (S) or assigned as a keyboard shortcut. To get rid of it, right-click on it and uncheck everything that is checked. For the most common use of this toolbar-changing viewing orientation, I recommend using the Ctrl-1,2,3… shortcuts.
- View Transitions
If you’re running a slow computer, this is going to be a real annoyance for you as parts you hide, show and move around slowly fade and trudge into view. Even with a moderately fast machine, this can slow down your workflow. I like having it on for the experience, but if your getting frustrated with slow speed, turn the experience off. Go to Tools, Options, System Options, View and turn off everything under the Transitions section.
- Back-up and Recovery
Do you really, I mean really need a to create a back-up of your models? You don’t… if you have a good PDM system. A PDM system like SolidWorks Enterprise PDM will keep track of versions checked-in and out. The back-up option gets even worse if you don’t have the it set to delete every few day. Your hard-drive just becomes riddled with model file and your performance is shot. I’d recommend at the very least to clean and defrag your system once a week if you use backup. To make sure this is off go to Tools, Options, System Options, Backup and Recovery and uncheck the backup option.
- Status Bar
When will we not need to look to the bottom of the screen to know that we are ‘Editing Part’ or ‘Editing Sketch‘? Seriously, if I don’t know what I’m doing, then I’m really dumb or the program isn’t not intuitive enough. You can turn off the status bar via the the View menu. Go down to the bottom and uncheck Status bar. Ahh, a few more pixels of screen space.
- News Feeds
Did you know there are news feeds pulled into the Taskmanager every time you start SolidWorks? Yep, and it’s weird that I would tell you it’s not needed, being that this site is a news feed and it should be the first thing you see every morning. Yeah, so, to turn it off, go to Tools, Options, System Options, General and uncheck ‘Show latest news feed in Task pane’.
- No preview on open
Upset about a model opening slowly? There’s an option you can turn off that will speed up the opening of a file – considerably on large assemblies. The only thing this allows you to do is view and rotate the model when it’s opened. Not really needed. If you go to Tools, Options, System Options, Performance there’s a checkbox at the very bottom that says ‘No Preview during open (faster)‘. uhm, faster huh? I’ll take that. Check it if it’s unchecked and it is faster.
- Selection Through Transparency
This is a big one. When you’re editing a part in an assembly or making a few parts transparent, there’s an option that allows you to select lines, faces and other geometry through the transparent object. As you can imagine, this can affect performance. To turn it off, go to Tools, Options, System Options, Display/Selection and uncheck ‘Enable selection through transparency‘. Don’t worry though, you can toggle it on when you’re working by holding down the magic ‘SHIFT’ key.
- Prompt to set driven
This is a ‘handy’ little prompt that pops up if you place a dimension that would over-define a sketch. If you’re in and out of sketches a lot, it’s annoying. The option to turn it off has been there as long as I can remember. You can find it in Tools, Options, System Options, Sketch down at the bottom in the Over-defining dimensions section. Uncheck ‘Prompt to set driven state‘ and check ‘Set driven by default‘ so it’s automatically sets the dimensions driven without having to click any extra.
These are the first set of options I turn off when optimizing an installation and to make it all a little more simple for new users to take in. One option I would really like to turn off is Indexing. Right now there’s only an option for constantly indexing or indexing when computer is idle. I’d prefer the option to turn it off.
Do you use any of these or think there’s others that are necessary?