Default SOLIDWORKS System Options Reviewed

Around every major release of SOLIDWORKS, I sit back and take a thorough look through all of the system settings to make sure I have everything set up just the way I want it.  I figured I’d pass along the list of changes I made this year (Tools > Options > System Options)…


  • [Uncheck] Show errors every rebuild – If you pay attention to the icon at the top of your feature tree, you shouldn’t need these obnoxious pop up messages reminding you of your modeling mistakes.
  • [Uncheck] Warn before saving document with update errors – Same as above


  • [Uncheck] Use specified color for Shaded With Edges mode – Rather than using the default black color for all of your model edges, it will use a color closest to the appearance of the model.  This greatly helps differentiate your black and blue sketch geometry from all of the surrounding model edges.  I think it also provides a slightly cleaner look to your model.


  • Assembly transparency for in context edit: Maintain assembly transparency – This is the least taxing on your graphics card and results in much better performance.
  • [Check] Highlight all edges of features selected in graphics view – Sometimes trying to select features in the graphics area by clicking on a face can be deceiving.  This option will still just highlight the single face that you selected, but it will also highlight all the edges of the corresponding feature so you know you’re picking the right one without having to double check in the feature tree.
  • [Check] Display dimensions flat to screen – Why not??


  • [Check] No preview during open (faster) – Be patient, you’ll see it soon enough!  You might as well save some loading time.  This way, you’ll also know when your model is fully loaded.


  • [Check] Save new components to external files – Though virtual components can be useful, I still only use them occasionally.

External References:

  • [Check] Allow multiple contexts for parts when editing in assembly – I keep this checked on, but only because I know what I’m doing when it comes to in-context assembly design.  If you haven’t taken our Advanced Assembly class, I’d be hesitant to recommend checking this option on.

Default Templates

  • [Select] Prompt user to select document template – This is only because I frequently switch between using Metric and English templates.  If you’re always using the exact same templates, then you should just fill out the file locations above this setting.

File Locations:

  • There’s a ton of stuff to be customized here.  Check out this post for more info.


  • [Check] Arrow key navigation – I can’t think of a reason why you would not want this great functionality.  If you’re unaware of it, get hip to it.
  • Solid Bodies: Show – This folder is useful to see whether or not you have multiple solid bodies.  It provides access to select and change the appearance of your solid bodies at all times.
  • Surface Bodies: Show – Same as above.

Spin Box Increments:

  • English units: 0.0625in – I find it very annoying when this value is too large
  • Metric units: 1.00mm – Same as above

Hole Wizard/Toolbox:

  • [Check] Make this folder the default search location for toolbox components – This is a cool new option in 2011, but where the heck else would you rather search for toolbox components???  I guess they don’t want to force you to use the new option just yet.


  • [Check] Enable multi-user environment – Definitely do this if you have more than just yourself using SOLIDWORKS at any given time.

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