If you were enjoying a mustard salad sandwich last week while watching our SolidWorks World Coverage and choked, we were not able to help you. As you gasped for air though, you probably saw the new features to come in SolidWorks 2013, which in all¬†likelihood dislodged said sandwich from your windpipe, shooting it into your cat/bosses eye. Your excitement for living and these new features may have been mistaken as a sandwich-spitting victory dance, but we know what really happened. To help you prove it, here’s the wrap-up of the top enhancement requests from SolidWorks users and the new features coming to SolidWorks 2013.

Top 10 Enhancement requests

Most of these are not surprising and yes, most of you have been carving them into your cubicle wall (or forearm) in frustration for years. (I think I even remember some of these from 1996.) My favorites are all of them, but if I had to choose one, I’d choose number 8, as that has always been a particularly chaffing desire for myself.

  1. Start using more CPU cores
  2. Mass properties should include the option to automatically put a point at the center of gravity
  3. Don’t delete your children, dangle them instead
  4. Address “shaded with edges bleed through” issue
  5. Reduce the bounding box of drawing views to visible components only
  6. Ability to control a plane’s front & back side orientation
  7. Dimensions should stay where you place them
  8. Escape key should immediately return control of the interface
  9. Add “lock rotation” option to cylindrical mates
  10. Add a “thread creation wizard”

SolidWorks 2013 Features

The skit SolidWorks put on to present the new features in 2013 didn’t disappoint. Based on the 1985 (such a good year) movie “Back to the Future,” SolidWorks presented “Back to the Feature” and focused on a lot of enhancements to existing tools and functionality, and in a bit of irony, displayed features that you will probably wish you could travel back in time to add in earlier versions of SolidWorks. Here is the breakdown of each and the images from the General Session at SolidWorks World where they were featured.

The long awaited option to ‘Show Hidden’ bodies in multibody parts is here and some new assembly visualization to see exactly what parts/features are giving you problems and slowing you down in your assemblies. You also will see new mark-up features for eDrawings and SolidWorks drawings.

  • Show Hidden Body Parts
  • Assembly Performance Offenders
  • eDrawings Markup Import
  • Quick Section views
  • Revision Clouds

solidworks 2013 features

An array of features get more options. You can now use snapshots across any document, not just assemblies. You can run simulations on sub-sections of your model, even if you have properties applied to the whole. Cut-lists also get some much needed attention with new properties and BOM managament.

  • Snapshot in any doc
  • Simulation sub-modeling
  • Bounding Box cut-list properties
  • 3DVIA Composer camera

SolidWorks 2013 Features

Things to make the modeling experience more enjoyable here. When opening documents quickly toggle between parts, assemblies and drawings. Use any part or assembly as an envelope without it interfering with other assemblies and drawings, and insert multiple parts into assemblies.

  • Quick Pick Document Type
  • Envelope Enhancements
  • Insert Multiple Parts

Easier ways to work with and view your model. Multiple exploded views are now possible in assemblies along with rotation of parts/sub-assemblies. A favorites folder for all your favorite features, sketches, notes, etc. A plastic boss feature with mucho options and shaded cosmetic thread visualization.

  • Multiple Exploded Views
  • Rotate Exploded Part
  • Favorites Folder
  • Plastic Boss Mount Control
  • Cosmetic Thread and Dowel Holes

Excellent feature improvements here. A new surface intersect tool to ADD and REMOVE material. Ability to finally extrude multiple thin contours. Use equations in every dialog box and incredible new patern variation within the same pattern feature.

  • Surface Intersect
  • Extrude Multiple Thin contours
  • Equation Entry Everywhere
  • Vary Pattern Dimensions

This is the big one. EPDM and DriftSight enhancements, but finally, FINALLY version interoperability. A long time coming, but this is more than just being able to open future version of SolidWorks in older versions. Features, configs and model updates are retained between transfer and models can be moved both directions. The demonstration was between SolidWorks 2012 and SolidWorks 2013 files. We’ve reached out to SolidWorks for more detail on exactly what versions will be supported.

  • EPDM – Collaborate with others
  • DraftSight – EPDM Checkout
  • DraftSight Copy Sketches
  • Previous Release Interoperability


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, 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.