[2019] SOLIDWORKS File Types: Everything You Need to Know

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  1. Introduction
  2. Saving a File in a Default File Format
  3. Saving a SOLIDWORKS File in Any of Your Desired Formats
  4. IGES Files
  5. STEP File
  6. STL File
  7. AMF Format
  8. Image File (JPEG, TIFF, PNG)
  9. SOLIDWORKS File Formats for Visualization Only (Not suitable for modeling)
  10. 3D XML Files
  11. ACIS Files (*.sat)
  12. SOLIDWORKS Format for Electrical
  13. SolidEdge
  14. Table Shows the Compatibility of Different Software Files with each other
  15. Conclusion

Introduction

SOLIDWORKS has a bunch of different file formats. Each year with the release of a new version of any CAD software will add new file formats. Here we will be discussing the file formats in the most advanced version of SOLIDWORKS i.e. SOLIDWORKS 2019. Some file formats are for general use while others are used for some specific tasks. Here we will discuss some of these file formats.

SOLIDWORKS 2019 has the following file types:

  1. 3D XML Files
  2. 3DPDF Export Options
  3. ACIS Files (*.sat)
  4. Adobe Illustrator Files (*.ai)
  5. Adobe Photoshop (*.psd) Files
  6. Autodesk Inventor Files
  7. CADKEY Files
  8. CATIA Graphics Files
  9. CATIA Part and Product File Import
  10. DXF 3D Files
  11. DXF/DWG Files (*.dxf, *.dwg Files)
  12. eDrawings
  13. Highly Compressed Graphics Files
  14. HOOPS Files
  15. IFC Files
  16. IGES Files (*.igs, *.iges)
  17. JPEG Files
  18. *.lxo Files
  19. Parasolid Files (*.x_t, *.x_b)
  20. Adobe Portable Document Format (*.pdf) Files
  21. Portable Network Graphics Files
  22. Pro/ENGINEER and Creo Parametric Files
  23. Rhino Files
  24. SMG Export Options
  25. Saving Configurations to SOLIDWORKS  Composer Files
  26. Solid Edge Files
  27. Step Files (*.step)
  28. STL Files (*.stl)
  29. TIFF Files (*.tif)
  30. Unigraphics Files
  31. VDAFS Files (*.vda)
  32. Viewpoint Files
  33. VRML Files (*.wrl)
  34. XPS (XML Paper Specification) Files

Saving a File in a Default File Format

When you save any file in SOLIDWORKS   by pressing Ctrl+S, SOLIDWORKS will automatically save that file in SLDPRT stands for “SOLIDWORKS Part file”.

SLDPRT files contain a 3-D object or more specifically “part” that can be combined with other “parts” to create an assembly file in SOLIDWORKS assembly. These files are easy to open and edit in SOLIDWORKS. We can view These files with Adobe Acrobat 3D or Acrobat Pro 9.

Saving a SOLIDWORKS File in Any of Your Desired Formats

To save a file in any other format you just need to click “Save as” option as shown

A Dialogue Box will be opened showing various file formats. You can add any format of your choice. Each file type has its own specific property.

Most Commonly used files in SOLIDWORKS are IGES format, STEP format, and STL format. These formats are used for 3 D printing as well.

IGES Files

Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES) is a file format in SOLIDWORKS which can be used in other CAD software as well. This file formate can be generated to be used in 3D printing as well. To save a specific file in IGES format just click on “Save as” option and select file type as IGES as shown in the following figure:

STEP File

STEP files improve the interchangeability of CAD files between users. International Organization for standardization is working on its standard (ISO 10303) to improve the interchangeability of CAD files. To save a Part into STEP file just click on “Save as” option and select file type as IGES as shown in the following figure:

STL File

Stereolithography is a three-dimensional printing process. This process is performed using 3D printers. The process creates parts using a faceted mesh representation in STL files. You can use this file to give data to 3 D printer. This file can be imported to SOLIDWORKS Premium as well but this is time-consuming. To save a specific file in STL format just click on “Save as” option and select file type as STL as shown in the following figure:

AMF Format

This SOLIDWORKS file format can be used for 3D printing only.

DXF/DWG Files (*.dxf, *.dwg Files)

We can save a file in DWG format as well which includes 2D drawings of some of the features of the part. DWG format is compatible with other softwares like Auto CAD. We can import this format directly to Auto CAD. This feature is the most useful one in SOLIDWORKS. This feature enables you to convert any feature of a part into drawing.

To save a model into DWG file click on “ Save as ” icon and select the DWG format as shown in following figure:

Now you have option to choose any of the desired face/ faces. Just select any of these faces to convert them to DWG format. Click on the green check mark and save it. Following figures show these details.

Now let’s open this file in AutoCAD. When you open this file in AutoCAD, It shows following pop up. Select continue and proceed.

Finally the 2D drawing is open in Auto CAD.

Image File (JPEG, TIFF, PNG)

SOLIDWORKS Part can be easily saved to JPEG, TIFF, PNG formats and will be viewed in image format. To save a Part into any of these images files just click on “Save as” option and select file type as shown in the following figure:

SOLIDWORKS File Formats for Visualization Only (Not suitable for modeling)

HCG

The Highly Compressed Graphics (HCG) translator exports SOLIDWORKS documents as Highly Compressed Graphics files.

VRML

Generally used for webpages. VRML files can display 3D graphics over the Internet. In windows, it will be opened by 3D objects app.

HSF

The HOOPS translator exports SOLIDWORKS part or assembly documents as HOOPS (.hsf) files.

3DXML

This file format can be read by the free Dassault Systems 3DVia/Composer Player.

3DS Autodesk

3D studio files (Used for rendering)

eDrawings

View only. This is the best presentable way in SOLIDWORKS to present your model. In eDrawings, you can view and animate models and drawings and create documents convenient for sending to others. To save a Part into the eDrawing file just click on “Save as” option and select file type as shown in the following figure:

PDF

Portable Document Format. It could be in the 3D format as well. To save a file in 3D Click on save as 3D and click on “Save” option.

To view a 3 D pdf file, just open it using any pdf reader preferably adobe reader.

The 3D pdf document can be rotated, Zoom, Spin or fly. The following figure shows a 3D preview of this document:

3D XML Files

3D XML  is a universal lightweight format for 3D. To save a specific file in 3D XML format just click on “Save as” option and select file type as 3D XML as shown in the following figure:

ACIS Files (*.sat)

The ACIS File supports import and export of body and faces colors, curves, and wireframe geometry. To save a file in ACIS, just click on “Save as ” option, a dialogue box will be opened. Select the desire file type, click on that type and select “save”.

SOLIDWORKS Format for Electrical

IDF (Import only unless you have the Circuit Works add-in)

ProStep (For Circuit analysis Only)

IDX (For Circuit analysis Only)

PADS (For Circuit analysis Only)

ASC (For Circuit analysis Only)

SolidEdge

We can import Solid Edge files directly but cannot export into a Solid Edge format.

Following Table Shows the Compatibility of Different Software Files with Each Other

SOLIDWORKS Pro/E WildFire Ansys 8.0
SOLIDWORKS  (*.sldprt,*.sldasm,*.slddrw)   SOLIDWORKS  (*.sldprt,*.sldasm)
IGES(*.igs,*.iges) IGES (*.igs) IGES(*.igs,*.iges)
Parasolid (*x_t,*.x_b,*.xmt_txt,*xmt_bin)   Parasolid (*x_t,*.xmt_txt)
ACIS (*.sat)   ACIS (*.sat)
UGII (*.prt)   Unigraphics (*.prt)
STEP AP203/214 (*.step,*.stp) STEP (*.stp)  
VRML (*.wrl) VRML (*.wrl)  
STL (*.stl) STL (*.stl)  
VDAFS (*.vda) VDA (*.vda)  
Pro/E Part/Assembly (*.prt,*.prt*,*.xpr,*.asm,*.asm*,*.xas) ## Pro/E Part (*.prt*,*.asm*) ** Pro/Engineer (*.prt*,*.asm*) ##,**
Catia Graphics (*.cgr) @ CATIA (*.ct,*.cat,*.model) @ Catia [V5] (*.catPart,*.catProduct) @
Inventor Part (*.ipt) ++ Inventor (*.iv) @ Inventor (*.ipt,*.iam) @
DWG (*.dwg) ++   Mechanical Desktop (*.dwg)
SolidEdge Part (*.par) ++   Solid Edge (*.par,*.asm,*.psm)
JPEG (*.jpg) X3D JPEG (*.jpg) X3D  
TIFF (*.tif) X3D TIFF (*.tif) X3D  

Conclusion

SOLIDWORKS  has different file types. A specific file type is selected on the basis of need. If modeling and drawing is the need, the selection of file type would be different. If presentation and documentation is the need, file type would be different. File types should be chosen wisely.