Viewing a model created in SOLIDWORKS on a system without 3D CAD Software


We are frequently asked how a model created in SOLIDWORKS can be viewed in a three dimensional space by customers without SOLIDWORKS or 3D CAD software in general. Although 2D drawings and views are practical for many situations, the ability to rotate and zoom on a 3D model can be invaluable for expressing a design to customers or coworkers. Two simple ways to view 3D models created in SOLIDWORKS outside of SOLIDWORKS are via the eDrawings viewer or a 3D PDF.



The eDrawings Viewer enables anyone to quickly and easily view, print and review 3D models created in SOLIDWORKS. SOLIDWORKS files can be opened directly from eDrawings, or SOLIDWORKS files can be saved as eDrawings files and then opened with eDrawings. eDrawings Viewer is available for Windows, Mac and Mobile devices for true cross platform design collaboration and communication. The viewer is free, and can be downloaded here:

eDrawings Viewer

In some cases, models created in SOLIDWORKS can even be measured in eDrawings. Refer to this document in our help center for information on enabling measuring in eDrawings:

eDrawings Measure Requirements

Starting with 2019 eDrawings Free Viewer Now Includes New Functionality

Although eDrawings can open SOLIDWORKS files directly, it is often beneficial to save a part or assembly out of SOLIDWORKS as an eDrawings file. An eDrawings file does not contain feature data, eliminates the need to send referenced documents, and often has a reduced file size. This SOLIDWORKS help document goes over the process of creating an eDrawings file from a SOLIDWORKS part or assembly:

Creating an eDrawings File



Another option for communicating a 3D model to a customer without CAD software is a 3D PDF. A 3D PDF can be zoomed, rotated and panned in Adobe Reader. Please refer to these instructions to create a 3D PDF:

  1. Open a part or assembly document in SOLIDWORKS
  2. Go to File>Save As
  3. In the 'Save as type' drop down menu, select 'Adobe Portable Document Format(*.pdf)'
  4. Select the check box in the lower left hand corner labeled 'Save as 3D PDF'
  5. Select the 'Save' button



If you have any questions regarding the information above, please contact Hawk Ridge Systems Technical Support 


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