In this article we’ll answer the question of what is 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS? Along with how this new cloud-connected license differs from the traditional desktop license.

The desktop version of SOLIDWORKS has been around for over a quarter century and has become the industry standard for parametric CAD software. But a new cloud-connected option, 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS, is on the rise and is offering clients new options and flexibility. In this article we’ll answer the question of what is 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS? Along with how this new cloud-connected license differs from the traditional desktop license.

SOLIDWORKS Desktop Licenses – Stand-Alone & Network

SOLIDWORKS desktop versions are installed on local machines. A serial number tells SOLIDWORKS if it is a stand-alone or network license, and whether it’s SOLIDWORKS Standard, Professional, or Premium. Stand-alone licenses are one seat per serial number and will function on only one machine at a time. Network licenses are pools of floating seats managed by a server machine. Clients are responsible for maintaining their own server, or servers. This can be a considerable expense for large organizations.

For smaller organizations with just a few users file management is often done just through Windows, which can be a problem if strict rules are not followed, frequent backups are not made, or hardware fails. Larger organizations usually use SOLIDWORKS PDM, or another data management system for archiving, revision control, etc. IT departments are typically tasked with maintaining this infrastructure. Learn more about SOLIDWORKS Desktop »


3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS is a cloud-based version that utilizes the 3DEXPERIENCE platform for file storage, data management, and team collaboration, along with extra features and applications. SOLIDWORKS itself is still installed locally, but installation is initiated through the platform, there is no serial number to activate or server machine to set up.

Licensing is based on the named-user model and handled through the cloud. Access is granted to users by an administrator based on the roles they have been assigned. This allows SOLIDWORKS to be installed on any number of machines, and users can simply log in whenever and wherever needed. All a user needs are internet access and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, and their SOLIDWORKS license is always at hand.

Just like the desktop versions, 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS comes in Standard, Professional, and Premium tiers. Unlike the desktop versions, perpetual licenses are not available for the platform. The cost of a license is based on the roles assigned to a user. Users and roles can easily be dropped or added as needed.

This is a great option for companies looking to simplify their IT environment, since the platform handles all license and file management. It’s also a great option for users who want to be able to work from nearly anywhere. Learn more about 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Offers »

Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS

This 3DEXPERIENCE platform role provides an add-in to connect an existing desktop license of SOLIDWORKS to the platform. This makes the advantages of the platform, including cloud storage, file management, revision control, team collaboration, and more available to desktop SOLIDWORKS users. Learn more about Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS »


Students interested in obtaining their own educational license of 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS have not been left behind. This inexpensive educational license is intended for individuals, rather than for institutions needing bundles of licenses for research or teaching. There is also a traditional desktop student edition. Learn more about 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Student »


Technology-loving makers and hobbyists haven’t been forgotten either, as there is another affordable version of 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS tailored to them. As an added benefit, the Made in 3D Community, where makers can interact with and be inspired by each other, is provided for free. Learn more about 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS for Makers »


3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS is not only a means of connecting SOLIDWORKS to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, but also the ideal software for small teams who want desktop CAD and easy collaboration on the cloud. Combining the power of SOLIDWORKS desktop with the power of the platform could be the ideal solution for those looking to simplify their SOLIDWORKS licensing and file management, while simultaneously unlocking new possibilities made available by the cloud.