How to Reorient an Imported Part File in SOLIDWORKS

By John Lewis on

When a part is imported from another file format into SOLIDWORKS, the orientation may not be ideal.

This is the front view and isometric view of a Parasolid file imported into SOLIDWORKS:

Imported Part File Default Front View Orientation in SOLIDWORKS
Front View
Imported Part File Isometric View Default Orientation in SOLIDWORKS
Isometric View

I would prefer the front and isometric views to look like this:

Desired Part File Front View Orientation in SOLIDWORKS
Desired Front View
Desired Part File Isometric View Orientation in SOLIDWORKS
Desired Isometric View

There are two ways to reorient a part file in SOLIDWORKS. The easiest way, if the only concern is the view orientation, is to “Update Standard Views”

Orient the part to a view that you want. Hit the spacebar, which brings up the orientation dialog box. Click on the third icon, “Update Standard Views”

Dialogue Box to Reorient and Update Standard View

When prompted to “Select the Standard View you would like to assign the current view to”, click on the view you want this to be.

SOLIDWORKS Assign Current View

Answer “Yes” to the message that appears.

SOLIDWORKS Pop Up - reorient?

That changes the view orientation, which carries over to drawings and that may be sufficient. But it doesn’t change the default planes. They are still where they were before.

SOLIDWORKS part file Plane View Orientation

If the default planes need to be reoriented along with the part, here is a technique that works.

After importing the part file, create a coordinate system. In this example, I created a sketch and drew a couple of lines to help establish exactly where 0, 0, 0 is and the direction of X, Y, and Z.

SOLIDWORKS part file Coordinate System Orientation

Save it and set the file type to what the imported file originally was (overwriting the original file). Click on options at the bottom of the dialog box and select the coordinate system that was created.

SOLIDWORKS part file Updated Coordinate System

Close the part without saving and reopen the original file. The part will be oriented properly, and the default planes will be in the desired location.

If you still have questions about how to reorient a part file in SOLIDWORKS, check out our available training courses.