PDM Preview Tab and Viewer Troubleshooting

Shannon Meyer

When you upgrade SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS PDM to a newer major year version, sometimes you will experience issues with the PDM Preview tab or file History View (RMB > History > View).  The Preview tab will no longer show files using eDrawings and may return an error when trying to view files if you do not have view bitmap enabled. Additionally, you may be unable to view files from the View option within the History menu.






The reason your Preview tab and Viewer are not working is due to your eDrawings not properly connecting with your PDM installation and your PDM Viewer Settings set to an incorrect or missing version of eDrawings.


This article will address how to fix eDrawings issues within the PDM Preview Tab as well as how to reset your default PDM File Viewer(s) after an upgrade.


Preview Tab Solution – Associate the Correct eDrawings Connector:

Step 1. Locate the correct version of eDrawings

  • eDrawings will default to one of two places after installation:
    • C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\eDrawings 
    • C:\Program Files\Common Files\eDrawings #### (where the #### is the installed year and/or bit version)
  • If there is more than one eDrawings folder, open the folder and hover over the eDrawings.exe to see the Version number. Version numbers will follow a similar numbering convention to SOLIDWORKS Version numbers. For example Version 27.#.#.# is 2019 SP# Build #.# while 24.#.#.# would be 2015 SP# Build #.#


Step 2. Register/Re-register your eDrawings’ Connector (eDrawingsOfficeAutomator.exe) by following the steps below:

A. Use Windows Search to find Command Prompt, right click and select Run as Administrator


B. Change the directory to the correct eDrawings directory by entering "cd <eDrawings directory>".

Example: cd C:\Program Files\Common Files\eDrawings2019


C. Once the directory is changed, you will register the eModelViewer’s dll by entering the following command: "Regsvr32 emodelview.dll" and hitting enter.


D. Then finish the registration of the eDrawingsOfficeAutomatro.exe using command: "edrawingofficeautomator /regserver" and hitting enter.  If there are no errors, the registration processed. 


Step 3. Confirm that the Preview Tab is working



History Viewer Solution  –  Change Viewer Settings in PDM to the Correct Viewers: 

Step 1. Confirm that you have an installed and registered Viewer.

Note: eDrawings makes this process easier. See the above solution to complete the registration and Connector association process.

Step 2. Open the PDM Administration Tool.


Step 3. Access the Group or User you will be providing with a Viewer and open Properties using a double click or right click > open.


Note: Unless you change the setting at the User level, a User will inherit the Group setting

Step 4. In the Group or User Properties go to Settings at the bottom of the left-hand side.


Step 5. In the Settings dialogue box, select Viewers at the bottom.


Step 6. Add a viewer.

A. Select the Add button


B. Enter the extensions, separated by commas and spaces in the extension box.

Example: sldasm, sldprt, slddrw, eprt, easm, edrw, dwg, dxf, 3dxml, stl, prt, xpr, asm, prtdot, asmdot, drwdot


C. Use the Browse button to navigate to your eModelViewer.exe file in your eDrawings folder. Such as C:\Program Files\Common Files\eDrawings2019\eModelViewer.exe


D. Use the arrow button to add the %1% argument at the end of the command path.


E. Add any other Viewer in the same way for File types not supported in eDrawings.

Note: Beginning with eDrawings 2017 you can view the additional file types: STEP, AP242, IGES, CATIA® V5, Autodesk® Inventor™, 3DXML.  Please see the following SOLIDWORKS Help pages for more information: 2016  2017  2018  2019 

F. Add the default PDM viewer for all remaining file types by selecting Add.

G. Enter * for all remaining extensions. 

H. Use Browse to navigate to your PDM install and select the FileViewer.exe. A common path may be C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS PDM\FileViewer.exe.


I. Use the arrow button to add the %1% argument at the end of the command path.

J. Use OK to save and close out of Settings and then Properties.

K. Test that the selected viewer works by going to history on a file and then selecting to View it.




For further assistance, please contact our HawkSupport team at 877-266-4469(US) or 866-587-6803(Canada) and

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