customizing solidworks

You can customize lots of things in SolidWorks from backgrounds to toolbars. But did you know you can spice up your background with your own custom image? It’s not that hard either. Here’s how you can do it.

Using an image for a background
It’s actually really easy to use or change the viewport background image. Just go to Options, Colors. Halfway down there’s an option for Background appearance. You can pick one from the SolidWorks directory or use an image you have.

SolidWorks background options

Making your own image
If you want to make your own background, there’s a few more steps. It will help to have a photo editor, like Adobe Photoshop. Using Photoshop, we’ll make a simple gradient with a lighting effect.

  1. Start a New file… (Ctrl-N) and make it 2048 x 1536
  2. Pick two amazing colors for your foreground and background. Lighter color for the background.
  3. Select the Gradient tool (G) and drag on the screen from top to bottom
  4. Go to Filter, Render, Lighting Effects… and select 2 o’clock spotlight. Adjust to suit.
  5. Select File, Save As… and save it as a .png
  6. Open SolidWorks – go to Options, Colors and browse to the location you saved the file
  7. Hit OK and smile.

Here’s the finished piece… Click to download

orange background

If you would like to learn more, here’s a great Illustrator tutorial for creating an abstract background.

The applications
Using your own background can be used for more than just a pretty scene. You could use them to:

  • Show products against different colors
  • Customize background for product demos
  • Show comparisons to other products

If you don’t have a photo editor or don’t want to mess with it, you can find a website that has some large format images or wallpapers. Here’s some that are a good starting point.

Have you made your own custom backgrounds?


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.