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How to Save Time with Open Modes in SOLIDWORKS

Monday June 22, 2020 at 12:54pm
New to SolidWorks 2020, the format of accessing different open modes has changed, and a time saving, ‘Detailing’ open mode has been introduced for working with drawings. Now that these options are more apparent, some of you may be wondering, what do these different functions do, and how can they be useful to you?

The short answer is that different open modes allow you to control how much information you load when you open a file. Understanding which open mode is appropriate to use can be a great time saver for when you're working on larger models, so let's go over where to find them and what they do.

Up until this point, if you have been using SOLIDWORKS 2019 and prior, you may have seen the drop down menu allowing you to select different open modes when opening a model through SOLIDWORKS.

However, since the 2020 release, you will now see that a slider has replaced this drop down menu, so you can tell at a glance which open mode you are using. As you move down the options, the model or drawing will be resolved at a higher level, offering more functionality, at the expense of a higher demand on your system. This is how the new interface looks when opening a part:

an Assembly,

and a Drawing.

So, what do they all mean? Here's a breakdown for the modes available for each file type.



Quick View

This will be the quickest way to review how a part looks.
  • The part is opened for viewing only
  • You can pan, zoom & rotate
  • You cannot edit, measure or save the document
You can switch to edit mode at any time by right-clicking in the graphics area and selecting edit


Fully loads all the model data into memory. This is the option to use for complete functionality in SOLIDWORKS.

Large Design Review

This mode will open very large assemblies quickly, displaying graphical data only, while retaining some key functionality. Great for a quick design review.
  • You can review the FeatureManager design tree
  • You can measure distances, create cross sections, and hide and show components as necessary
  • You can create, edit, and play back walk-throughs
  • You cannot see certain aspects of the FeatureManager design tree, such as: assembly features, component patterns, and mates
  • Note that only configurations with the display data mark checked are loaded
You can enable ‘Edit Assembly’ mode within this, which will make more tools available for quick assembly design changes, such as: Insert components, mate and linear & circular component pattern.


This will only load a subset of the model data into memory, with remaining data loaded as needed. Using this will significantly improve the performance of large assemblies.
  • You can add or remove mates and reference geometry
  • You can add annotations and dimensions as required
  • You can use many of the assembly evaluation features: measure, mass & section properties, and interference & collision detection
  • You can create section views and exploded views
  • Individual components can between toggled between lightweight and resolved once open.


Fully loads all the model data into memory. This is the option to use for complete functionality in SOLIDWORKS.

Quick View

Opens a simplified representation of a drawing in a read-only mode. This is the quickest way to review a drawing with SOLIDWORKS. You can choose to fully load a selection of sheets when working in a multi-sheet document


Opens the drawing without any part or assembly data. Very useful if you only need to make minor edits to drawings of large assemblies.
  • You can add or modify annotations or dimensions in most situations
  • You can edit existing drawing views
  • You can export to .pdf and .dxf
  • You cannot add or modify some dimensions which require specific model information such as: hole callouts, cosmetic threads, or any links to model properties
  • You cannot create new drawing views


Loads only a subset of model data into memory, analogous to the lightweight open mode on assemblies.
  • You can create all drawing views
  • You can create dimensions in all views
  • You can attach annotations to models in all views
Full model data can be loaded as needed.


Fully loads all the model data into memory. This is the option to use for complete functionality in SOLIDWORKS.
Using the most suitable mode in the situations requiring different levels of functionality can help you speed up your workflow and reduce unnecessary computational demand on your system. Listed here is only an overview of the different modes, and you may wish to check the SOLIDWORKS help page for more detailed information.

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