How to Open Autodesk Inventor Files in SOLIDWORKS

By John Hall on

If you have legacy Autodesk Inventor files or you have received an Inventor file and need to open it in SOLIDWORKS, it may seem as though there is a washed out bridge in your path, but don’t panic! You CAN do this in SOLIDWORKS. There are two ways through which you will be able to open the Inventor files: through 3D Interconnect and the Autodesk Viewer.

Downloading the Autodesk Viewer

Now you might not believe me if you have tried to open these types of files before like you would open any other file format. Inside SOLIDWORKS, if you click Open and select your Inventor file, all you get is an error and maybe elevated blood pressure. You received this error because you do not have Autodesk Inventor Viewer installed.

This link will give you the choice of what version of the viewer you want to download (I would use the most recent one). From there you just run through the setup and install wizard. The install will want to put an icon on your desktop. There is no need to do that if you don’t want to.

If you are wondering “Will I need to view my Inventor file in the downloaded viewer?” the answer is “No”. As long as the viewer is on the computer that you want to open an Inventor file with, you’ll never need to look the Autodesk program again. Just open the file like you would any other file inside SOLIDWORKS. The model and assembly will now import just like any non-native solid file. However, you should always run Import Diagnostics on any imported model to fix possible issues with it.

3D Interconnect

In the past, when you wanted to open Inventor files, you needed to first make sure you had the Autodesk Inventor Viewer installed. This was a major headache. With the SOLIDWORKS 2017 updates, a new feature was released called 3D Interconnect. This functionality fundamentally changed the CAD game. 

With the addition of 3D Interconnect, you can now open nonnative SOLIDWORKS CAD files directly without the need for any additional software. Like a magic pill, 3D Interconnect eliminated some of the past major headaches of working with CAD files, but it doesn’t stop there. With 3D Interconnect you can open and use nonnative CAD files directly in SOLIDWORKS instead of importing them. This subtle difference has major implications because you can now work with the up-to-date file without breaking any links that happen after importing. This is a real game changer.  

Opening Autodesk in SOLIDWORKS

solidworks open inventor files

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