Can SolidWorks Open CAD Files?

Can SolidWorks Open CAD Files?

If you’re a designer or engineer working with CAD software, you may have wondered whether SolidWorks has the capability to open CAD files from other programs. In this article, we’ll explore the compatibility of SolidWorks with various file formats and discuss how to open them in this popular software.

Supported File Formats

SolidWorks is a widely used 3D modeling software that supports a range of file formats. It’s known for its robust compatibility, allowing users to work with files created in different CAD programs. Here are some of the most common file formats that SolidWorks can open:

  • .STEP – This format, also known as Standard for the Exchange of Product Data, is widely used for interoperability between various CAD systems. SolidWorks can easily import and export .STEP files, making it convenient to collaborate with designers using different software.
  • .IGES/.IGS – The Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES) format is another popular choice for transferring data between different CAD platforms.

    SolidWorks has excellent support for IGES files, ensuring accurate representation of geometry and data during import or export.DWG/.DXF – AutoCAD’s native file formats, .DWG (drawing) and .DXF (drawing exchange format), are widely used in architectural and engineering industries. SolidWorks can seamlessly open these files, preserving critical design information.PRT/.ASM/.X_T – These file formats are associated with other popular CAD programs like Pro/ENGINEER (now Creo) and Siemens NX. SolidWorks allows users to import and edit parts (.PRT), assemblies (.ASM), and Parasolid files (.X_T) created in these software.

Opening CAD Files in SolidWorks

Now that we’ve discussed the file formats supported by SolidWorks, let’s understand how to open CAD files in this software:

Method 1: Using the “Open” Command

To open a CAD file in SolidWorks, follow these steps:

  1. Launch SolidWorks – Start by opening SolidWorks on your computer.
  2. Select “Open” – Click on the “Open” option from the toolbar or navigate to File > Open from the menu.
  3. Browse for the File – In the dialog box that appears, locate and select the CAD file you want to open. You can choose from any of the supported formats discussed earlier.
  4. Click “Open” – Once you’ve selected the file, click on the “Open” button to import it into SolidWorks. The software will convert and display the CAD data in its native format.

Method 2: Drag and Drop

An alternative method to open CAD files is by using drag and drop:

  1. Navigate to the File Location – Open Windows Explorer (or any other file manager) and locate the CAD file you wish to open.
  2. Select and Hold – Click on the file, hold down your mouse button, and drag it into an empty area of your SolidWorks workspace.
  3. Drop into SolidWorks – Release your mouse button to drop the file into SolidWorks. The software will automatically recognize the file format and import it accordingly.


SolidWorks offers excellent compatibility with various CAD file formats, making it a versatile choice for designers and engineers. Whether you’re working with files created in Pro/ENGINEER, AutoCAD, or other CAD programs, SolidWorks can seamlessly open and work with them. By leveraging its extensive capabilities, you can collaborate with professionals using different software and streamline your design process.

So, to answer the question – Can SolidWorks open CAD files? Absolutely! It’s a powerful tool that allows you to import and edit files from different CAD programs effortlessly.