SOLIDWORKS Freeze Bar: Enabling It and Using It

With the winter weather at our doorstep, I thought Freeze Bar Feature. 

In 2012, SolidWorks introduced the Freeze Bar Feature. Why? To save users "time" by taking control of their models. Large models can really bog users down when it comes to rebuild time, especially when working with imported data, large data sets, or complex models. Users often find themselves waiting for SOLIDWORKS to rebuild multiple times for features and parts that we are working around for our design. The "Freeze Bar Feature" is a SOLIDWORKS Feature Manager tool that allows users to lock down items in the feature manager that are no longer changing and don't need to rebuild each and every time the model changes.  Freezing features is helpful to:

  • Reduce rebuild time
  • Prevent unintentional changes to the model

The Freeze Feature prevents the geometry from frozen features from being rebuilt. Users might still experience long rebuild times due to other processes that are not addressed by the Freeze Feature. Examples of potential time-consuming processes not addressed by the Freeze Feature are:

  • Updating display appearances, such as very large patterns
  • Updating complex DimXpert dimensions and tolerance schemes
  • Updating graphics (tessellation data) of very large complex parts


To enable this feature, Open SOLIDWORKS, Go to Tools>Options.  On the System Options tab, click General and select Enable Freeze Bar. Click OK.

  Tools Options Freeze bar

 The yellow Freeze Bar appears near the top of the Feature Manager Tree under the part name.

FT freeze bar, SOLIDWORKS Freeze Bar: Enabling It and Using It

The freeze bar controls the point which a part rebuilds. The Freeze Bar works like the Roll Back Bar and will display the pointer   Handpick-icon .

   FT freeze bar with hand

Drag the freeze bar down below the last feature you want to freeze. Or another option: When the freeze bar is at the top of the tree, you can also right-click a feature and click Freeze. This will set the freeze bar for you. 

FT freeze bar frozen features

The features above the freeze bar are frozen – these features cannot be edited and they are excluded from rebuilds of the model. Frozen features are indicated by a lock icon   Lock icon  and gray text.

The Freeze bar shortcut menu provides commands for moving the freeze bar, controlling rebuilds and controlling part rebuild indicators. Right-click the freeze bar to access these commands:


Here is an example of what you will see in rebuild times through Feature Statistics. The part used was a simple rotor with many patterns. (This example is small; you can only imagine how effective it will be in large assemblies!) The Feature Statistics will show both rebuilding statistics with and without frozen features.


Featrue Statistics side by side


There are times when certain changes might cause frozen feature to become out of date. There are safe guards against causing problems with your design. Examples are:

  • Changes to external geometry that is referenced b the frozen feature, such as features in another part in an assembly.
  • Changes to equations that subsequently affect a frozen feature.
  • Changes to a design table that affect a frozen feature.
  • Changes to an assembly feature that drives a frozen feature in the part, such as a hole created in the assembly that is propagated to the parts in the assembly.
  • Changes to an external base part that is used to create geometry in the part containing the frozen features.

Rebuild Indicator

Out-of-date frozen features are flagged with the rebuild indicator Rebuild indicator. When the part is a component of an assembly, you can control whether the rebuild indicator propagates up the Feature Manager Design tree by hiding the part rebuild indicator. In the part that contains frozen features, right-click the freeze bar and select:  Hide Part Rebuild Indicators.

Update Frozen Features

To update out-of-date features, right-click the feature select:  Update Frozen Features

If the part containing the frozen feature has multiple configurations, control whether all configurations or only the active configurations are updates. Right-click the freeze bar and select:  Always Update All Configurations or Update All Configurations.


Hope you find this feature helpful.

Judy Marlo

CATI Application Engineer


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