SOLIDWORKS 2023 STEP Files - Top Enhancements

October is the spookiest month of the year. Do you have nightmares when someone wants to share data with you from another software? Even as we get into SOLIDWORKS 2023, STEP files probably scare you half to death! Think about how much time that takes!

SOLIDWORKS 2023 STEP, SOLIDWORKS 2023 STEP Files – Top Enhancements

SOLIDWORKS 2023 comes out soon.

Sharing data, especially Assembly data, is one of the scariest things encountered by engineers and designers today.

You know, October also introduces the new release of SOLIDWORKS.

And SOLIDWORKS 2023 will come to your rescue and calm those import and export fears!

You can watch this content in video format:

SOLIDWORKS 2023 STEP Export Options

SOLIDWORKS 2023 added a new checkbox to the System Options > Export page.

You can optionally export assemblies as separate STEP files. This option is recommended for large assemblies and makes sharing easier.

“Export assembly components as separate STEP files” lets SOLIDWORKS create an atomic STEP file. When unchecked, SOLIDWORKS saves an assembly file as a single STEP file containing the complete assembly. When checked, the assembly saves to a STEP file and every part in the assembly has its own separate STEP file. This makes it easier to share large assemblies through the STEP file conversion option.

In this Assembly, we see we have several components.

An assembly file in SOLIDWORKS 2023.

Let’s Save As on the assembly and select the STEP AP214 file type. Why a STEP AP214 file? For those not familiar with the differences, the STEP AP203 is a “General” STEP file that defines geometry, topology, and configuration management, but without color and layers. The STEP AP214 file is an extension of the AP203 file. It contains everything the AP203 file has with the addition of colors, layers, and GDT information. Either format is acceptable.

Graphical user interface, application, Word Description automatically generated

As you can see, we only have 1 STEP file for the Assembly. But look at the size of that file!

When saving assemblies as STEP files prior to SOLIDWORKS 2023, you often dealt with the very large, cumbersome files, seen here.

STEP Files in an Assembly

When we open the STEP file, the feature tree looks intact as an assembly. Further review, each part is an imported dumb solid.

Graphical user interface Description automatically generated

Let’s open up the original assembly again and enable the new feature in System Options > Export

The export assembly components as separate STEP files lets you open large assemblies easier in SOLIDWORKS 2023. You'll find this under your system options.

We will save the file to a STEP 214 file again to see the differences in the STEP files.

As you can see, File Explorer shows our assembly STEP file, and each individual part was saved as its own STEP file.

SOLIDWORKS 2023 lets you save each component of an assembly as an individual STEP file, speeding up load times.

Each part-level STEP file can be opened individually.

SOLIDWORKS 2023 lets you open each component of the saved STEP assembly as an individual component.

No more fear! SOLIDWORKS 2023 is here to save you tons of time when collaborating using STEP files, especially for those large assemblies.

I hope this part of the What’s New series gives you a better understanding of the new features and functions of SOLIDWORKS 2023. Please check back to the CATI Blog as the CATI Application Engineers will continue to break down many of the new items in SOLIDWORKS 2023. All these articles will be stored in the category of “SOLIDWORKS What’s New.”

Application Engineer Manager
Computer Aided Technology


What is Design Innovation Month?

DESIGN INNOVATION MONTH 2022 – Live Events, Webinars, Virtual Showroom, Contests

Design Innovation Month is CATI’s “What’s New in 2023” event for SOLIDWORKS, 3DEXPERIENCE, and 3D Printing & 3D Scanning technology. This year we’re going back to the future to bring you in-person events, live and on-demand webinars, demonstrations, in-depth blog posts, and prizes! Best of all, it’s free of charge! Check the DI Month Hub for all the details and to sign up for your nearest live event.

Logo Description automatically generated



  • Share this
Find Your Design Solution in the CATI Store.
Browse Products