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Go ask a molting yak this single question, “Are you using SolidWorks materials??!!” If it does anything other than say yes, you have total freedom to boot the fur right off his confused face.

However, if he is using SolidWorks materials, pull a stump up to the waterin’ hole and prepare to show him how to solve a little problem he may be having. A problem where the appearances don’t update when a material is changes. There’s a simple fix and if your flaking yak friend uses templates, he’ll want to update those right away. Here’s how.

The background

I’m unsure of how far back in yak years this goes, but in SolidWorks 2008 and prior, changing the material automatically changed the corresponding color/appearance.

In SolidWorks 2009 (and 2010) there are instances where changing a material to another material does not update the appearance. It’s unclear if this is from custom materials being created, out-of-date material databases, out-of-date parts, or previous material settings, but it happens.

If you’re moving to SolidWorks 2009 or later, you’ll want to know there’s been a major shift in how SolidWorks handles colors and appearances. In 2009, all the color and texture settings were combined into the Appearance options. It’s easier to use, but the colors you had set up previously may not update. But don’t worry, there’s an easy fix.

The solution

If your material appearance isn’t updating, you’re first thought may be to tear your chest muscles off… then, after inserting each part, go into the Material Library to update the color via the Appearance tab. This gets very old, very quick.

The quicker method, preferred by most yak shavers of the mid-plain regions, is to simply remove the material, then add it back, via the FeatureManager.

Go to the FeatureManager, right-click on the icon with the red, blue, green dots and select Remove Material. Then right-click again, select Edit Material and re-select the original material being used.

If you use part templates, it’s a simple one-time update. If it’s happening to many parts in your assemblies, it will take a little longer.

Ideally, your appearances would come over with no issues. If you’ve never used the SolidWorks materials, you won’t have this problem, but if you’ve used Colors prior to 08, you’ll now want to know to use Appearance.

Thanks to Butch and the team at TDA for sending this one in!! Have a fix to a issue or tip you want to get out there? throw it at SolidSmack!


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.