Have you ever watched a YouTube video and thought to yourself, “Man, if I could get my interface customized just right, I could be as fast as that guy…?”

Or, are you the CAD admin for a decent size group of engineers and find yourself wishing they would just standardize their SOLIDWORKS settings already, so you don’t have to hunt for the needle in the haystack check box every time they “didn’t change anything, man – really!  I just turned it on this morning and it’s not seeing my templates anymore?”

Or, are you like me and insist on having a backup of everything because you’d happily go back to your settings from a month ago if it meant you didn’t have to search for that sly check box that your past self turned off as a one time deal and then forgot to turn back on?

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, I’ve got an awesome solution to suggest…  It’s called the Copy Settings Wizard.

In three simple steps, you can create a backup of your SOLIDWORKS settings and share it with your team.

settings wizard

Step 1.  

Access the Copy Settings Wizard right from the SOLIDWORKS Task Pane:

settings wizard

Step 2. 

On the first page of the Copy Settings Wizard, you’re offered two options. We’re going to start by saving our current settings:

settings wizard

Step 3.

On the next page, you’ll need to Browse to the existing settings file, choose what settings you would like to capture, then hit finish:

settings wizard

When you hit finish, the Wizard will let you know the save was successful.

settings wizard

Whew! Now you have SOLIDWORKS settings you can share with your coworkers. But how does that work, exactly? I prefer to put them in a shared network location and have everyone load from there. You could also put them on a jump drive and copy them to other machines.

And last but not least, you could email them. Before you email these files though, there is something you should know. What we have saved is a Windows Registry file, and when you attempt to email the .reg file type, most mailers either won’t send it or won’t accept it. To get around this issue, you can rename the file from “settings.reg” to “settings.reg.txt” so that it can be successfully attached. When the recipient downloads the attachment, they can remove the .txt extension and then apply the settings to their machine.

When you are ready to load settings on a machine, it’s the same three step process.

Step 1.

Access the Copy Settings Wizard right from the SOLIDWORKS Task Pane:

settings wizard

Step 2.

On the first page of the Copy Settings Wizard, you’re offered two options. This time, we’re going to choose to restore to existing settings:

settings wizard

Step 3.

On the next page, you’ll need to Browse to the existing settings file, choose what settings you would like to apply, and then hit next:

settings wizard

To complete step three, you now have to decide who is going to receive these settings. If you are not an administrator, use the first option:

settings wizard

On the next page, SOLIDWORKS has your back. What usually happens to me is I forget to backup my current settings before beginning a restore. Never fear! Rather than going back to the first page, saving, and restarting the Copy Settings Wizard, you can just check the box and create a Backup before the Restore and hit Finish:

settings wizard

One Final note…

The Copy Settings Wizard is intended for use within versions. For example, you should only restore 2014 settings with a 2014 backup. What I’m thinking about here is upgrades. It sounds like a great idea to save your 2013 settings, upgrade SOLIDWORKS, and then restore those 2013 settings into 2014. While it will work, it is better practice for you to comb through your settings one meticulous time after upgrade and then create your first backup. The reason I encourage this is that every year SOLIDWORKS adds new options. Maybe some of them are turned on by default and suddenly things don’t work exactly like they did before. Anyone remember the “Reduce spacing when dimensions are deleted or edited” check box? Dimensions were automatically spacing themselves per standard and driving everyone crazy! This is a great example of why it’s in your best interest to be aware of new check boxes and new options – you never know, they might make your life a little easier. How about “Auto-rotate view normal to sketch plane on sketch creation” in 2012? It’s one of my favorites! The most impressive SOLIDWORKS users I know all have one thing in common, they are simply aware, aware of their options, aware of the commands available to them, aware of multiple methods of attacking a problem.

Start your SOLIDWORKS awareness campaign when you’ve got those five minutes before lunch; open up Tools>Options and have fun exploring!


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