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Update on UI changes for SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP04 and SOLIDWORKS 2017

Question asked by Jim Wilkinson on Jun 20, 2016
Latest reply on Nov 9, 2017 by Kevin Berni

We would like to update you on upcoming changes to the SOLIDWORKS user interface that we are implementing based on the continued feedback from users through the forums and other sources. These changes are planned to be made in SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP04. Early visibility (EV) for SP4 is currently scheduled for the week of July 4th. You can sign up for the EV program through


Most of the changes will also be in SOLIDWORKS 2017 Beta1, which is scheduled to begin the week of June 20, about two weeks before SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP04 EV is released. Those changes that did not make Beta1 will be in Beta2 which is scheduled for later in July. For more information about SOLIDWORKS 2017 beta, go to We request that users download and install Beta 1 to review and give feedback relating to the UI changes via the Beta forum. Summary of availability of these changes:


Summary of availability of these changes:

Week of June 20, 2016SOLIDWORKS 2017 Beta1Most Changes
Week of July 4, 2016SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP04 Early VisibilityAll Changes
Week of July 18, 2016SOLIDWORKS 2017 Beta 2All Changes
End of July, 2016SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP04 Full ReleaseAll Changes


We are making changes in the following areas:

  • Midpoint Selection
  • Sketch Cursors
  • Additional icons in the Classic Icon Set
  • Part, Assembly, and Drawings Icons
  • Other Icons


Midpoint Selection

Midpoint selection has been modified to alleviate the problem of midpoints being selected instead of an intended edge or sketch entity. Midpoints now have a “wake up” delay before the midpoint is shown. If you intend to select a midpoint, simply pause the mouse over an edge or line for the midpoint to “wake up” and then select the midpoint.


Sketch Cursors

User feedback has indicated that the cross hair ( + ) cursor used for sketching was too small and difficult to see. We are reverting back to the pencil cursor, as shown in the example cursors below:



Additional Icons in the Classic Icon Set

Additional icons have been added to the classic icon set to provide more consistency with the classic styling already applied to the solid, surface, mold tool, weldment, and sheet metal icons. These icons are in various places throughout the interface, but representative examples are shown below:

Toolbar icons:


FeatureManager tree icons:




There are still some inconsistencies in the use of classic icons in the PropertyManager that we are working on for later updates of SOLIDWORKS 2016 and 2017.


Part, Assembly, and Drawing Icons

To solve issues with contrast and differentiation of part, assembly, and drawing icons, we are introducing a new coloring scheme for part, assembly, and drawing icons that is common across the default and classic icon sets. This coloring scheme will also apply to all icons derived from or related to the base part, assembly, and drawing icons. The coloring scheme is similar to the coloring in SOLIDWORKS 2015 and previous releases, but with a yellow and blue combination instead of yellow and green:


Although these icons will add a noticeable yellow splash of color to the default icon set, we feel these new icons work well aesthetically with both the default and classic icon sets and provide better contrast against white background for everyone, as well as, improved recognition of assembly icons to all other icons. The reason for using the same coloring scheme for these icons in both the default and classic icon sets is that it is not technically possible to implement two different sets of part, assembly and drawing icons for both icon sets in a way that will be consistent throughout SOLIDWORKS, partner applications, and at the operating system level.


When using the classic icon set, the yellow and blue combination helps differentiate the assembly icons from solid feature icons. The assembly icons now look like this for both default and classic sets:


For comparison, examples of some of the classic icons first implemented in SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP03 are shown below:

  • Solid Features - Yellow/Green
  • Surfaces - Orange/Yellow
  • Sheet Metal - Silver/Orange


Other Icons

Feedback has been that many icons are too monochrome and don’t have enough contrast. We are adding more color to many of the icons that are shared across the default and classic icon sets, using similar coloring to SOLIDWORKS 2015 and previous releases. The goal is to better highlight the “action” of the icon. Below are some representative examples where color has been added, although there are actually hundreds of icons changed throughout the software.


  • “Edit” actions will now use a yellow pencil:
  • "New actions will now use a colorful *:
  • "Automatic"/"Smart"/"Dynamic" behavior will now use a colorful lightning bolt:
  • Open/import arrows will be green, close/export arrows will be red:
  • The Selection Filter indicator will use magenta instead of blue for the filter widget:
  • Other miscellaneous icons will also have more color added (a small representative set is shown below):


Folder and Reference Planes

For the classic set, many users have given feedback that they like the differentiation between the yellow and green solid feature icons and other non-solid feature icons like folders and reference planes that were yellow prior to SOLIDWORKS 2016. These changes enhance visual scanning of the FeatureManager tree to find planes or distinguish where one part starts and another one ends in an assembly tree when parts and subassemblies are expanded.  The gray folder also allows better readability of the other “widgets” on the folder icon:


Therefore, gray will continue to be used for folders. The only exception is user-defined folders in the FeatureManager tree which, starting with SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP03, are blue in their normal state so that the suppressed state is easily differentiated from the normal state.


Reference planes will also remain blue, allowing them to be easily located in the tree and to better match the color theme of the reference geometry icons.



As a reminder, please see the beginning of this article for details about scheduling of the SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP04 EV release and SOLIDWORKS 2017 Beta release and how to sign up for both programs. We highly recommend reviewing the changes in SOLIDWORKS 2017 Beta1 and SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP04 EV.


As always, we thank you for your input and we will continue to monitor feedback both in the forums and through other sources and make appropriate adjustments.