SOLIDWORKS Tips: How to Change Units in SOLIDWORKS

Wednesday July 19, 2023 at 8:00am

Unit systems in SOLIDWORKS can be modified for individual files, multiple files at a time, and within the default templates.

Each SOLIDWORKS file has a unit system, which is controlled by the Document Properties of the file. By default, SOLIDWORKS part, assembly and drawing templates each prescribe the unit system for a file.

If you are using the metric system, then your templates should be set to MMGS to use millimetres, grams, and seconds as a base.

However, if you’re using Imperial, then IPS is the default unit system of choice to default to inches, pounds, and seconds.


Unit systems can be changed in the Units settings under Tools > Options > Document Properties > Units.

There are five default unit systems:

  • MKS (metre, kilogram, second)
  • CGS (centimetre, gram, second)
  • MMGS (millimetre, gram, second)
  • IPS (inch, pound, second)
  • Custom

The top options dictate the system, but by selecting Custom, you can customise to your specification.

The same unit system menu can be accessed in the bottom right hand corner of the SOLIDWORKS window as well.

Changing either of these options will only change the unit system for the file that you currently have open.

To save the unit system to a template so that all future files will have the same default, open an existing template or a blank new file, change the unit system as above, then re-save the template file.

TOP TIP - Switch unit systems while dimensioning by typing the unit after the value.


Retroactively changing the unit system of multiple existing files is possible with SolidQueue.

SolidQueue automates batch tasks allowing you to offload tedious and repetitive tasks reducing costly mistakes.

Inside SolidQueue, simply choose the Document Units option under the Model header in the Toolbox to get started.

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