Glossary - SOLIDWORKS File Format



There are over 2 million active SOLIDWORKS users, spanning 80+ countries and more than 200,000 companies. This makes SOLIDWORKS file format compatibility very important for ease of use and interoperability.


Developed by Dassault Systèmes, SOLIDWORKS is a solid modeling computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) program that primarily runs on Windows.

SOLIDWORKS encompasses a large number of programs that are used in 2D and 3D models and design. It is used extensively in the design and development of electrical, mechanical, and software parts. 

What File Formats Does SOLIDWORKS Use Natively?

SOLIDWORKS can import and export to a wide range of file formats, making saving files easy for users. 

When you save a file natively in SOLIDWORKS, it can be saved as an:

  • SLDPRT part file (.sldprt) 
  • SLDASM assembly file (.sldasm)
  • SLDDRW drawing file (.SLDDRW)
  • SLDDRT template file (.slddrt) 

Note multiple SLDPRT files can be combined to create an assembly file. 

Can SOLIDWORKS Import/Export to Other File Formats?

SOLIDWORKS uses Spatial’s 3D InterOp CAD data exchange and interoperability software to import and export CAD files to other formats.  

The tight integration between Dassault Systèmes’ SOLIDWORKS and Spatial’s 3D InterOp tool means users can save and read files in over 30 other neutral and proprietary CAD/CAM file formats, such as AutoDesk Inventor.

You can find a complete list of SOLIDWORKS file formats.

Benefits of Using Spatial’s 3D InterOp CAD Translation Software

Our advanced CAD data exchange and interoperability software minimizes translation errors by catching and healing the most common errors in exported/imported models. 3D InterOp will help you:

  • Preserve original design intent
  • Reduce CAD licensing costs
  • Simplify development workflows
  • Minimize expensive conversion errors
  • Enhance application performance

What Are the Most Popular Neutral SOLIDWORKS File Formats?

SOLIDWORKS natively supports some of the most popular neutral file formats. Transfer models easily between CAD software with:

These files can also be used for 3D printing. 

What File Formats Can Be Imported to SOLIDWORKS?

SOLIDWORKS file format compatibility grew substantially in 2017 when its translation capabilities were replaced with 3D Interconnect. This allows users to work with third-party native CAD data.

SOLIDWORKS' file format compatibility is extensive, allowing users to work with third-party native CAD data.

You can:

  • Open the proprietary 3D CAD format in SOLIDWORKS keeping its link to the original part intact.
  • Import proprietary CAD data directly into a SOLIDWORKS assembly without first converting it into a SOLIDWORKS file.
  • Update the SOLIDWORKS file if you update the proprietary CAD data in its authoring application.
  • Break the link of the inserted part file with the original part file.

SOLIDWORKS accepts a wide range of proprietary formats, including:

  • Drawing Exchange Format (.dxf)
  • Drawing (.dwg)
  • Adobe Photoshop (.psd)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.ai)
  • Parasolid (.x_t)
  • ACIS (.sat)
  • Solid Edge

For a complete list, please visit our help section.