An Introduction to SOLIDWORKS xDesign

By Matt Kokoski on

SOLIDWORKS xDesign is a new way of looking at CAD design. It is one of the cloud-based CAD applications that are part of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Just by being part of the platform allows this software to do some pretty interesting things that you can’t do with traditional SOLIDWORKS alone.

What is SOLIDWORKS xDesign?

3dexperience marketplace for swIt is a feature-based parametric solid modeler that runs completely inside a web browser, which means it gives users much desired platform independence (can be run on Windows, Mac or Linux systems). It also allows for location independence, as it can be accessed and run from mobile computer and tablet devices, not just a single workstation. In addition to being cloud-based, it provides computer resources during the design process that have never been available in the past.

Anyone who has used SOLIDWORKS will instantly feel at home modeling in the xDesign interface. Dimension driven components are built by adding and removing material using standard solid modeling features. If a design needs to be modified, simply changing a dimension will resize the part to whatever value is entered. 

With data stored in the online platform, projects can be accessed anytime by virtually any device. Design data is no longer tied to an engineering desk or departmental server but is now available to design teams that can be spread around the globe. The data stored in the platform is searchable and filtered using the 3DEXPERIENCE 6W tags. Information can be added to any part allowing users to more quickly find and reuse their existing data.

xdesign app

Design Guidance included in this software allows users the ability to simulate their models during the design process. Built-in topology optimization allows the software to guide users into an optimal design with minimal input. Having this information at the start of the design process allows users to make critical design decisions about the shape of the component early in the modeling process. This reduces iterations and design changes, shortening the design process and ultimately providing a significant reduction in time to market.  

solidworks xdesign review

As part of the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, xDesign has access to the 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace built into the CAD tool. Access to parts and manufacturers around the world is made available through a simple toolbar in the software interface. One click of an icon and prototype parts are able to be outsourced to a host of screened and approved vendors.

How Does xDesign Compare to SOLIDWORKS CAD?

Just like all SOLIDWORKS products, the features of SOLIDWORKS xDesign are tailored to meet specific engineering needs. Its core strengths lie in the advantages described above, which we can summarize broadly as online platform accessibility, design guidance and community collaboration.

SOLIDWORKS is still the leader when it comes to assembly design. If you’re looking for high-end configurable mechanism design it is still the go-to product. SOLIDWORKS still leads when it comes to product documentation. Whether it is creating production level detailed drawings, using Inspection or MBD, SOLIDWORKS still has no equal. Luckily, transitioning a design to SOLIDWORKS Desktop is seamless.

How to Leverage xDesign as an Existing SOLIDWORKS User

As the saying goes “time is money” and SOLIDWORKS xDesign was designed specifically to speed up the design process. Especially with regards to connecting your team and stakeholders.

  • Communities of users can collaborate on designs using the 3DSwym app on the 3DEXPERENCE platform. Users can share product specifications, post questions, share project knowledge.
  • Designs created in this software can immediately be posted on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform for internal review, or review by clients and stakeholders, using the 3DPlay app which allows a full model preview without needing a SOLIDWORKS seat.
  • Some edits and design changes can be made directly in this software, and for those that require the full functionality of SOLIDWORKS, there is a plugin that allows you to access all online files directly from your desktop version. Simply download the part or assembly, edit, and re-upload for additional review all without opening your web browser.
  • Since the xDesign and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform are on the cloud, other teammates or clients can provide feedback from any device, even a mobile tablet, so you don’t need to wait for them to be at their workstation computer to contribute.  


This is what allows SOLIDWORKS xDesign and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to create a new and innovative approach to engineering designYou can learn more about the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on their product website, or you can see how this applies more to a SOLIDWORKS user by reading our blog article here

For an in depth walk-through of the SOLIDWORKS xDesign application running on the cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE platform, see our mini-webinar introductory series.