SWW11: SolidWorks 2012 What's New Reveal

SolidWorks World general session day 3 is known as the "Reveal" since as long as I can remember this is the designated day that SolidWorks shows off some new enhancements that will might make it into the next major release. So far there are two posts that I have seen that give a good list of the features revealed and they have a good number of screenshots as well:

- Rickyjordan.com - Ricky Jordan

- CadFanatic.com - Brian McElyea

For the past 3 or 4 years now the R&D group has used a comedy sketch to spice up the presentation of the new features and this year the parody was from the show COPS, called CAD COPS.  The sketch was funny and the features were being shown at a pretty fast rate so I focused on writing down as many as I could.  After reading through a few other peoples notes I think this might be the complete list of what's new in SolidWorks 2012.


- Pin commonly used files in the Recent Documents dialog (also works for folders and in the File Menu)

- Unit Switcher in the lower right of the status bar.

- Freeze Feature (shown at SWW10 but didn't make the cut for SW2011)

- Tab key to hide (Feature from 3dvia Composer)

Sheet Metal:

- Sheet metal flanges has an option "Parallel to base flange" instead of vertex (great for angle changes in the flange)

- Reference the outside tangency to drive flange length stays the same (helps for closed corners)

- Redesigned Forming tools UI for simple placement/flip and utilize configurations.

- Flat Patten feature has a new "Features to Ignore" for unfolding.

- New Swept Flange for complex features and it will flatten.

Dimensions & Equations:

- Placement of diameter dimensions in a sketch will lock into diameter mode.

- New Equation Editor UI showing much more detail including Category, Dimension, Ordered View, and Recent variables used with equations in RED when errors are detected.

- Equation Editor automatically solves equations in the order needed and not by the order entered.

- Equation Editor allows pulldowns of ALL dimensions instead of having to dynamically select from the active model.

- Equation Editor now utilizes the measure tool to create reference dimensions on the fly.


- Exploded views from the View Palette in the Task Pane

- Now can add the exploded view from the Right Click menu or the PropertyManager (no longer in properties and have to then select the check box).

- BOM creation no longer requires pre-selection

- Balloons and be inserted with Auto Balloon and now sequenced (selecting which balloon will be balloon 1 and the sequence will rebuild around the part. BOM will also update)

- Magnet Lines can be used for alignment of annotations like balloons, notes etc.  (from 3dvia Composer)

- View Labels (like section and detail) will be reused if that sequence is removed. (past would use the next label counter even if the previous was deleted)

- Centermarks can be automatically inserted at any time for an entire view not just on view creation.

3dvia Composer:

- Per pixel lighting (more realistic rendering)

- New Compass helps orient and change the appearances of the model.

- BOM highlighting (like in BOM SVG output) works dynamically on hover.

Evaluation Tools:

- New Costing Tool analyzes the model and determines cost by MFG process involved, setup costs.  Tool has a template builder (like property tab builder) and can utilize quantities and other variables to accurately determine model take offs.


- Motion Simulation now supports motion sensors

- Motion also has optimization (these enhancements were the Design Study functions for FEA now in Motion)


- New File Open option called "Large Design Review"

- LDR is basically Quick View/SpeedPak/Lightweight in one UI.

LDR give great performance while still having the ability to:

- Create or Reuse Walk throughs

- Zoom and Pan smoothly

- Full interactivity of the FeatureManager Tree

- Use the Section tool

- Open Parts or Sub Assemblies for editing, Save and update the Large Assembly.

As you can see the list was pretty long and the R&D group rattled them off quickly but it looks like a cleanup release to smooth the edges and complete some of the existing features in the software.  Users want improvement to existing functionality and less brand new functions so this seems to be a response to that. One thing to keep in mind though, none of these features are guaranteed so take this list with a grain of salt! ~Lou