SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD is one of the most powerful and intuitive 3D CAD systems on the market. Produced by Dassault Systèmes, it is a solid modelling program that runs on Microsoft Windows.The first product was released in 1995 by SOLIDWORKS, Corporation, then based in Concord, Massachusetts

Trusted by millions

The product is currently used by over three million engineers and designers at more than 245,000 companies worldwide. The user base ranges from individuals to large corporations, and covers a very wide cross-section of manufacturing market segments. Commercial sales are made through an indirect channel, which includes dealers and partners throughout the world.

SOLIDWORKS is a solid modeller, and utilises a parametric feature-based approach to create models and assemblies. Such systems are very good at capturing the design intent of the creator of the part being worked on. Building a model in SOLIDWORKS usually starts with a 2D sketch (although 3D sketches are available for power users).

There are currently several versions of SOLIDWORKS, in addition to eDrawings, a collaboration tool, and DraftSight, a 2D CAD product.

SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD comes in three packages - Standard, Professional and Premium. What are the differences between the three? When does it make sense to upgrade?

Take a look at our matrix to see the different features of each version to help decide which is the right one for you.

Although there are many factors involved, our expert team will be pleased to look at which main functionalities you need and whether upgrading is needed to streamline your design processes.


A fully functional suite of SOLIDWORKS' core 3D design capabilities, allowing the rapid creation of parts, assemblies and 2D drawings. SOLIDWORKS Standard also includes some FEA capability to perform static and stress analysis on parts.

SOLIDWORKS Professional:

All the power of SOLIDWORKS Standard but with additional capabilities:

  • Extensive CAD libraries
  • SOLIDWORKS Costings
  • PhotoView 360
  • eDrawings Professional.
Ultimately SOLIDWORKS Professional will increase your productivity, ensure greater accuracy and help you to communicate design information more effectively.


The complete 3D design system, SOLIDWORKS Premium has the following additional features:

  • Advanced FEA simulation capabilities, allowing static, stress and motion analyses to be performed.
  • A routing feature for tooling and harnessing, including support for rectangular ducting and cable trays
  • CircuitWorks, to create enclosures for circuit boards Automated Tolerance Stack-Up Analyst (Tol Analyst) to determine sizing allowances.

Key Benefits

  • Easy to learn, easy to use
  • Customisable to fit experience and expertise
  • Wizards, experts and diagnostics tools take the complexity out of CAD, with powerful modelling tools making it easy to create the complex forms needed
  •  Sketches update automatically in the 3D CAD model
  • Powerful modelling tools produce sophisticated, beautiful forms that differentiate products in today's competitive market
  • Tools such as copy, mirror and pattern geometry automate repetitive design and development tasks
  • Quickly and easily create design variations from a single model
  • View, rotate and even fly-through complex assembly designs for more clarity
  • Check interferences, clearances and alignment throughout the full range of motion
  • Intelligent libraries of reusable parts, including intelligent fasteners that assemble themselves automatically
  • Create brochure-ready high quality product renderings selecting from a range of options for materials, textures and backgrounds; capture animations of your design to share with suppliers and customers
  • SOLIDWORKS Large Design Review will quickly open, navigate, walk-through, measure, section and create snapshot views of massive assemblies, adding annotations as you go
  • Creates comprehensive 2D drawings that are automatically linked with the 3D model - as the 3D model is modified so too is the 2D drawing updated ensuring all views are up to date and drawings are to scale
  • Standard templates and automated drawing checks streamline common design checking tasks
    Automated creation of bills of material (BOMS), balloons and annotations, plus expert tools for dimensioning and tolerancing


Steel Design in a 3D World with SOLIDWORKS

© Durkan-Ltd-FlaxenRoad-marshmetalworks-casestudy-banner

Marsh Metalworks

The Company

Marsh Metalworks is a father and son outfit specialising in steel construction for the building industry. Established in 2009, the Essex-based firm have grown their business to design, manufacture and install bespoke structural steel, architectural ironmongery and balcony and balustrade solutions for the housing and commercial markets.

The Challenge

Director and designer Kevin Marsh had been using AutoCAD 2D throughout his career to produce customer drawings. Now running his own business with son Terry, they wanted to improve productivity and costs in three key areas:

  • Reduce cost of 2D software upgrades
  • Improve time to process orders
  • Elminate production errors

Each new order was created as a 2D drawing and then sent for customer approval before being sent down to the shop floor for manufacture. Getting the drawings approved was causing delays, as any dimensional changes requested by the customer would require every drawing to be started again from scratch.
The company was also struggling to find employees that could accurately read 2D drawings, which meant kevin's time could be tied up further with shop floor queries, higher levels of manual errors and delays in production.

The Solution

To reduce the annual cost of 2D upgrades from AutoCAD, Kevin researched other 2D products and discovered DraftSight from Dassault Systemes, which was free to download and included free updates. However, he still wanted to improve their day-to-day design flow, so once they were up and running with DraftSight he requested a demo for another Dassault Systemes product: SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD.
Moving from 2D to 3D was easy because SOLIDWORKS' software lets you preserve the value of 2D .DWG data with accurate data conversion, accommodating reusable 2D geometry and enabling a smooth transition. It also lets the designer automate the creation of drawings and automatically check designs for common errors and auto-updates while they work.

The Results

Using SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, Kevin has virtually eliminated the time it takes to implement design changes and their design process from initial drawing to approval is now 30 per cent faster.

  • Easy Transition from 2D to 3D
  • Design process 30% faster with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD
  • Improved workflows with SOLIDWORKS Weldments
  • Design automation
  • Auto-updates
  • Shopfloor mate and production errors eliminated
"SOLIDWORKS has had a dramatic effect on getting our orders processed. Working in  2D it could take me days to implement any dimensional design changes; in SOLIDWORKS I can do the alterations in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea."
Kevin Marsh, Director, Marsh Metalworks