Top Overlooked Features in SOLIDWORKS 2020

By Stephen Petrock on

By now you’ve probably seen the headlines of the great new enhancements to SOLIDWORKS with the latest release – SOLIDWORKS 2020. Sure, there are some real game-changing additions to the toolset, like envelope publisher, detailing mode for drawings and G3 continuity to name a few. But with countless enhancements and hundreds of pages of release notes, there are some that don’t get as much attention but are still welcomed additions to SOLIDWORKS. Here are the top enhancements you might have missed in SOLIDWORKS 2020. It’s the low-key features we’re sure you’ll be excited to use as soon as you get your hands on SOLIDWORKS 2020.

Selection Sets

Selection Sets in SOLIDWORKSSelection sets have been around for many years. They give you a way to save a group of selections, so you don’t have to choose a bunch of faces or edges over and over again. It’s a real time saver. The selection sets are stored in a folder in the feature tree and offer a quick way to select a group of items. But the functionality in SOLIDWORKS 2020 has been rounded out to make it an extremely useful tool. You can now add items or remove items from an existing selection set. With the ability to easily adjust selection sets, it’s a tool you can’t overlook in SOLIDWORKS 2020.

Silhouette Entities in Sketches

Silhouette entities is a new tool that enables you to project the silhouette outline of a body. This works for parts and assemblies. It’s easy to use. Just select a plane and the body to project onto that plane. SOLIDWORKS will then create a projection of the outline parallel to the plane. There’s also the option to include both internal contours as well, not just the outline. There’s a lot of power in this new tool added with SOLIDWORKS 2020.

External Silhouette Selection in SOLIDWORKS





The ability to add markups to SOLIDWORKS files has been around for three years now, but the functionality has been reserved for touch devices. Now with SOLIDWORKS 2020 markups work for both touch and non-touch devices. Instead of using your finger or stylus, you can just use the mouse to draw directly on your SOLIDWORKS files. This functionality is a welcome addition for anyone annotating and marking up SOLIDWORKS files, which is just about everyone.


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But the functionality doesn’t stop with just creating markups. With SOLIDWORKS 2020 you can easily export your files including the markups to a pdf, making it quick and easy to share your thoughts on the designs.

Markup Tools in SOLIDWORKS

Searching Materials

This is an enhancement that is so simple, I am shocked that it hasn’t been in the software for many years now. Since you can already search through all the options, commands and menus, it seems logical to add the functionality to search through the materials library. The search box is at the top of the SOLIDWORKS material library. As you type the material, letter by letter, SOLIDWORKS will filter through the results. Use it to help sort through the hundreds or even thousands of materials available to you in both the default and custom materials library. 

Searching Materials SOLIDWORKS

Refreshed Triad

One of the first things you’ll notice about the interface is a slick new triad that has been updated with thinner entities, to give it a cleaner look for SOLIDWORKS 2020. It’s one of the many cosmetic updates to the interface to keep it fresh by getting rid of the ancient- looking relics of the early aughts.

Materials Search in SOLIDWORKS

Large Design Review

Large Design Review in SOLIDWORKSLarge Design Review is a powerful tool we rely on to help work with extremely large assemblies. It’s a mode that offers a way to share designs and look at models in a lightweight interface that offers exceptional performance for large models. It’s great for just sharing or reviewing an assembly without doing any editing. But now with SOLIDWORKS 2020 there are some editing capabilities now included with Large Design Review. You can create and edit patterns and mates in Large Design Review mode. This is a welcome addition which makes Large Design Review much more useful for companies working with massive assemblies. 


When you open your first file in SOLIDWORKS 2020 you’ll notice significant performance improvements with older version files, which typically opened very slowly, will open nearly as fast as the current version files. This means you won’t be losing any time when you open up your older files from 2019 and beyond. Also, look for some added performance to SOLIDWORKS 2020. Some of the performance improvements of SOLIDWORKS 2019 from the new graphics pipe, have transitioned out of beta and are now included with SOLIDWORKS 2020 by default. This all happens behind the scenes and takes advantage of your certified graphics card. SOLIDWORKS 2020 is just snappier and more responsive than any previous version of SOLIDWORKS.

SOLIDWORKS Graphics Card

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Isolating Interferences

Interference Detection has always been a powerful tool. But now with SOLIDWORKS 2020, the functionality has been extended to enable you to identify interferences outside of the tool. You used to be able to visualize the interferences only while you were actively in the interference detection tool. Now with SOLIDWORKS, 2020 you can check interferences for isolation after you exit the interference detection tool. This is made possible by using the new “Isolate when done” option. This enables you to quickly make adjustments to your model from the interference detection results.

SOLIDWORKS Interference Detection

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Those are just a few of the enhancements to SOLIDWORKS 2020 that aren’t getting as much attention as the top enhancements but some that you’ll definitely need to take a look at. 

If you’re curious about all of the features in SOLIDWORKS 2020, we encourage you to read our launch recap blog. Click on the button below.