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Offer Extended till April 30th, 2015!!


SOLIDWORKS Certifications, such as the Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate (CSWA), serve as a benchmark to measure your knowledge and competency with SOLIDWORKS software.  Becoming CSWA certified validates your SOLIDWORKS expertise with cutting-edge skills that businesses seek out and reward.


Ready to stand out? Through March 31, 2015, MySolidWorks is providing users with the opportunity to prove their skills with free access to a CSWA exam.


To take advantage of this offer, go to and create an account or log in to take the online CSWA certification prep course.


Once you have completed all lessons in the course, you will receive a code via email from to take the CSWA exam for free.


Offer Details:

In order for a free CSWA exam code to be issued, all of the lessons in the MySolidWorks CSWA Prep Course must be completed according to the following criteria.


  • The ‘Status’ of all 44 lessons should be ‘Completed’.
  • The score of every ‘Review’ at the end of each lesson must be 80% or higher.


If you have completed the course by the end of business day on the Friday of the current week, your voucher will be issued and sent to you on Monday of the following week.  If you have not received your code after this time, please contact


Note:  This offer has a value of $100.  You will be able to take the CSWA exam only once with this code.  If you do not pass, you will have to pay for the exam going forward.


****Please ensure the CSWA Exam Prep Course has been added to your MySolidWorks Learning Paths under MySolidWorks>Training>My Learning Paths. ****


Adding a Course to My Learning Paths

1.  Log in to MySolidWorks (

2.  Click the menu link for Training>Catalog


3.  Under the ‘Narrow By’ button, if ‘Learning Paths’ is not visible under ‘Type’, click ‘Clear All’ to reset the filters.


4.  Under ‘Learning Paths’, find the ‘CSWA Exam Prep Course’ and click +ADD.


5.  The CSWA Exam Prep Course should now be listed under Training>My Learning Paths.


As a result of user feedback, we update the SolidWorks Help on a regular basis. We primarily receive feedback through the Feedback on this topic link that you can find at the top of each help topic of the Web Help. Your feedback helps us provide the documentation that you need. We very much appreciate this feedback, and encourage all of you to continue to provide it.


Here is a list of enhancements that have been made to the SolidWorks 2013 Help through SP2.


Sheet Metal

Bend Tables


You can use bend tables to specify the bend allowance or bend deduction values for a sheet metal part. Do you want to better understand how to edit or create sheet metal bend tables? The sheet metal bend table documentation has recently been enhanced.


Learn more here:


Gauge Tables


Gauge tables store material properties for sheet metal parts. Do you want to better understand sheet metal gauge tables? Recent enhancements to the documentation provide more details about the tables.


Learn more here:



Adobe® Illustrator®


Are you exporting SolidWorks files as Adobe Illustrator files? The help topic for exporting (.ai) files from SolidWorks has been enhanced.


Learn more here:

As a result of user feedback, we update the SolidWorks Help on a regular basis. We primarily receive feedback through the Feedback on this topic link that you can find at the top of each help topic of the Web Help. Your feedback helps us provide the documentation that you need. We very much appreciate this feedback, and encourage all of you to continue to provide it.


Here is a list of enhancements that have been made to the SolidWorks 2013 Help through SP0.




Parting Line Analysis


Do you want to figure out the best way to split a mold? You can use Parting Line Analysis to do this. The Help for the Parting Line Analysis now includes an improved description of the functionality and with new graphical examples.


Learn more here:


Influence Curve Options for Boundary Features


Are you trying to understand the influence curve options for boundary features? The documentation for boundary features has been enhanced. New examples in the Help illustrate influence curve options for boundary features.


Learn more here:




Best Practice for Configurations with External References


Having trouble with multi-configuration assembly parts with external references? A new example in the Help demonstrates why it is best to have a corresponding part configuration for each assembly configuration when a part contains external references from a multi-configuration assembly.


Learn more here:



SolidWorks Rx


Graphics Card Diagnostics


Looking for information on how well your graphics card and driver are set up for use with SolidWorks? You can find out using SolidWorks Rx.


Learn more here:


Capturing Software Problems


Have you come across a repeatable software problem with SolidWorks? You can check out this help topic to see how to use SolidWorks Rx to capture the problem before sending the details to technical support


Learn more here:


Benchmarking Computers Running SolidWorks


Looking for information on how to your SolidWorks performance compares with that of other SolidWorks users?


Learn more here:

As a result of user feedback, we update the SolidWorks Help on a regular basis. We primarily receive feedback through the Feedback on this topic link that you can find at the top of each help topic of the Web Help. Your feedback helps us provide the documentation that you need. We very much appreciate this feedback, and encourage all of you to continue to provide it.


Here is a list of enhancements that have been made to the SolidWorks 2012 Help through recent service pack updates.  


Motion Analysis


Layout Sketch Block Motion


Suppose you are running a Motion Analysis type of motion study on a layout sketches model of an assembly. You can set the mass properties for the sketch blocks that represent your mechanism.


Learn more here:


Torsional Springs and Dampers


Learn how to create torsional springs or dampers in motion studies.


Motion Study Plot Types

Learn details about all of the types of motion study results you can create.


Photoview 360


Caustic Analysis

You can control the display of caustics in your PhotoView 360 Renderings by adjusting the Caustic Amount and Caustic Quality in PhotoView Options.  Higher values for Caustic Amount increase the visible area and intensity of the caustics. Higher values for Caustic Quality increase the visual quality of the caustics. Learn more from these help topics.





You can adjust Gamma in the Final Render window to change the brightness of the midtones in your output image, while preserving extreme whites and blacks. Check out this example in the help.


Mates and Assemblies

Do you want to learn how to copy mates when you copy components in an assembly? Check out this example demonstrating the Copy with Mates command.



Parting Line Surfaces


Want to learn how to adjust parting line surfaces? You can use the manual mode to display handles that you can manipulate to adjust the parting surface.


Saving Layers to .DXF/.DWG Files


Learn how to preserve SolidWorks drawing layers when saving drawings as .dxf or .dwg files.


Exploded Views - Adding Explode Lines


You can check these examples demonstrating adding route lines and jog lines to exploded views.



When you update to a new service pack of a SolidWorks version you will not automatically get updates to SolidWorks tutorials or other local help files. These files are the .chm files installed when you originally install a version of SolidWorks.


One reason for this is that the local help files add considerable size and time to the update process. Most SolidWorks users are accessing our help online

from,  and the Web Help is updated with every service pack.


On the other hand, we don’t place our tutorials online because the local tutorials have the ability to open sample files and flash toolbar buttons. We would not be able to implement those features if we were to put the tutorials on the Web.


So, the only way to get service pack updates to tutorials (and local help) is to follow these instructions.


To download the latest tutorials and local help files in a service pack:

  1. Log in to the Customer Portal on 
  2. Click Downloads and Updates.  
  3. In Select Version, click the version of SolidWorks you are using and click the corresponding SolidWorks product. For example, select 2012 and click XP/Vista/Win7 - 32 bit in Service Pack 2.0.  
  4. Click your language and accept the license agreement. 
  5. On the Download and Install screen, in Step 3, click download, unzip, and install all the files.  
  6. In Upgrading from Service Pack, select the version you upgraded from.  
  7. Click Continue.  
  8. In Step 4 – Required updates, click SolidWorks Help.  
  9. Run swHelp<language>.exe to install the help files.


The installer places the updated tutorials and local help files in C:\SWDist\swHelp<language>\Files\lang\<language> and automatically copies them into your SolidWorks installation.

With our latest deployment of SolidWorks Web Help in early February 2012, we have added a new feature for showing SolidWorks Forum content in the help system. This new feature is present throughout the web help system, including all content from SolidWorks 2010, 2011 and 2012. At the bottom of every help topic page, you will see a section labeled "Related SolidWorks Forum Content". This section automatically searches the SolidWorks Forum for content using the help topic title as the default search string. The search does not delay the loading of the regular help content, but is done in parallel to loading the topic content so you can start reading the main help content without delay. Below is an image of what this new section looks like on the Menu Bar help topic:


Once the initial search is complete, you can page through the results or adjust sorting and filtering options, using the same options available in the search results in the SolidWorks Forums. You can also adjust the search string. Adjusting the search string is often useful if the title of the help topic contains extra words that may hinder the search. For example, you may want to change from "Top Down Design Overview" to just "Top Down Design". There is quite a bit of information shared by SolidWorks employees in blog posts within the forums; you can quickly show just blog posts in the forum search results by clicking on the green forum icon in the "what" filters.


You can also start a new discussion directly from the help topic if you want to ask a related question for the community to answer.


We hope this feature is useful to you. Our goal is to allow users to discover related content that already exists in the forums and help those users that are not already active in the forums to discover that they exist since they are such a valuable source of knowledge. This is also a good way for users to discover more detailed information that SolidWorks employees have contributed on a related subject. As examples, you can see that the following help topics automatically show related blog posts that I have written in the past in the User Interface section of the forums.


We welcome feedback and suggestions for improvements on this new feature. If you have feedback, you can simply post a comment on this blog post.




SolidWorks strives to provide the best documentation possible for our users. As discussed in my earlier blog post, we have implemented SolidWorks Web Help to allow us to enhance the help experience, update the content more easily and allow users to more easily find content.  In addition, the following content, process, and policy improvements have been made to improve the documentation content for SolidWorks 2010 and future releases. These improvements apply to both the new web based documentation as well as the local CHM files installed with the software.

  • A more thorough process for collecting the information for writing the documentation and reviewing the resulting documentation has been put in place to ensure the functionality is more completely and accurately documented. This process involves more input from our developers, product definition specialists, and user experience staff who have the most technical knowledge of the functionality of the software.
  • The approach to writing the What’s New documentation has been adjusted to provide more complete documentation of all new features, but especially for release highlights. Writing of the What's New document is started much earlier in our development process so it receives much more review and iteration (using the process above) before being distributed to users with Beta 1. This new approach also facilitates re-use of the material for the main help documentation and tutorials which will help to ensure we deliver more complete documentation across the entire document set. Also, with this approach, the main help documentation for the "release highlights" is available at the same time as the first What's New document (Beta 1). In previous releases, none of the main help documentation was available until Pre-Release 1.
  • Our documentation staff now writes more "mini-tutorials" which are developed and delivered in the same release as new functionality is developed. In past releases, the tutorials would often lag the functionality by a release.
  • Our policy regarding images in the documentation has been modified. Previously, ALL images in the documentation containing text were localized into the language of the documentation. This policy limited the number of images we could put in the documentation. We will now provide more images in the documentation, some of which will have English text even in the foreign language documentation. Non-localized images will be used where the text only provides visual context and the translated text is not important to understanding the image. This enhancement should provide a better experience and more visual information for all users of our documentation. This policy change has already resulted in close to 100 additional images in the documentation of new functionality in SolidWorks 2010.


In addition to these changes, with each release we are putting more emphasis on going back to the existing documentation and making sure that features and commands of SolidWorks are thoroughly and accurately documented. We had already received positive feedback from users about improvements to the documentation content with SolidWorks 2009 and even more emphasis has been placed on these types of improvements in SolidWorks 2010. To this end, we hope that you will help us identify areas that may be lacking complete or accurate documentation by using the new “Feedback on this topic” link in the upper right corner of each help topic in the new SolidWorks web help (as shown in the image below). Using this tool will send feedback directly to our documentation staff so they can investigate and improve the documentation over time.

Feedback Link.gif



Jim Wilkinson

SolidWorks Web Help

Posted by Jim Wilkinson Aug 27, 2009

Starting with SolidWorks 2010 Beta 3, we are introducing our help documentation in a web based format for SolidWorks 2010, SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2010, and eDrawings 2010. Web based help is accessible directly from SolidWorks software products (in all supported languages) and in the future will be made available from independent browsers as well. From SolidWorks software, users can choose to use the new web based help or can continue to use local help files as in past releases if an Internet connection is not available. As shown in the following image from SolidWorks, you can toggle between the web help and local help using the Help, Use SolidWorks Web Help menu item.


Note that the local help is in *.chm format and uses the standard Microsoft chm viewer as was used in SolidWorks 2009 and previous releases.


When web help is enabled, it is accessed in the same ways that the local help has always been accessed as listed below:

  1. Select the Help icon in the upper right of the application.
  2. Choose one of the following help items from the help flyout in the upper right of the application or from the Help menu: SolidWorks Help, What's New->HTML, or Moving from AutoCAD. Please note that SolidWorks Tutorials and API Help still always use local, *.chm help but may be moved to web help in the future.
  3. For context sensitive help, choose the Help icon from a PropertyManager or Task Pane page, choose a Help button from a dialog, or hit F1 while a PropertyManager or dialog is active.


The web help is shown in a custom web browser window so that SolidWorks can "communicate" with the window and pop up context sensitive help in the same window instead of opening a new browser window every time the user requests help. This custom window makes use of the currently installed version of Internet Explorer to display the HTML contents. For proper viewing of the web help, you must use Internet Explorer 7 or higher. There are known problems with Internet Explorer 6 due to HTML and CSS limitations of that version. Below is an image of the help from SolidWorks 2010 Beta 3 shown in the custom browser:

help window.jpg



Benefits of web based help include:

  • Dramatically improved search of SolidWorks documentation including improved relevancy ranking, spelling correction, short descriptions in search results views, and guided navigation to help further identify relevant topics. I find that the new search allows me to find content which has been there for some time, yet was difficult to find due to limitations of the chm viewer search. We are still in the process of tuning the search results and welcome any input on cases where you think results ranking can be improved. Please provide such input in the SolidWorks Beta forum while the Beta program is still active. Below is an example image of the search results:
    search results.jpg
  • Improved topic navigation including “bread crumb” navigation and next and previous topic buttons. Bread crumb navigation as shown in the image below can be used to easily navigate to other related topics.
    The next and previous buttons in the upper right corner of the help as shown in the image below are used to navigate to the next and previous topics as listed in the table of contents.
    The browser next and previous buttons as shown in the image below are used to navigate through the browse history order (which can be much different than the table of contents order when navigating the help through hyperlinks on content pages).
  • Ability to change the size of the contents of the help to be more readable. The following image shows the Zoom button which uses the standard zoom functionality available in Internet Explorer 7 and later.
  • Ability for users to provide feedback directly to the SolidWorks documentation team on individual help topics. We welcome input concerning the presentation, accuracy, and thoroughness of the documentation and improvements to the help content will be made based on this input. The image below shows the feedback form on an individual help topic:
  • Direct links from the web help to the SolidWorks Knowledge Base to allow you to find Solutions or SPRs relating to the specific help area. Subscription Service is required to access the SolidWorks Knowledge Base. The images below show these links from individual content pages and from the search results page:
  • Up to date documentation without the need to download large compiled help (*.chm) files. The contents of the web help will be automatically updated with each service pack of the software without any action necessary by the user.


We hope that these enhancements to the functionality, user interface, and delivery approach of the help will make it easier for you to find answers to questions you have about using SolidWorks software. This new approach opens up the doors for us to provide additional types of content to make the documentation even more complete and link in other sources of answers to users questions; you can expect additional enhancements in the future. Finally, we are also working on general improvements to the content of the help (both local and web help) which I will discuss in a future post.