Can SolidWorks Open STL Files?

Can SolidWorks Open STL Files?

If you are a SolidWorks user, you may have wondered whether this powerful 3D modeling software can open STL files. The short answer is yes, SolidWorks can indeed open STL files. However, there are a few important things to keep in mind when working with this file format.

What is an STL File?

An STL (Standard Tessellation Language) file is a widely used file format for representing the surface geometry of a three-dimensional object. It consists of a collection of triangular facets that describe the shape of the object. The simplicity and versatility of the STL format make it popular for 3D printing and rapid prototyping.

Opening an STL File in SolidWorks

Opening an STL file in SolidWorks is a straightforward process:

  1. Launch SolidWorks: Start by opening SolidWorks on your computer.
  2. Select ‘Open’: Go to the ‘File’ menu and click on ‘Open.’
  3. Browse for the STL File: In the dialog box that appears, navigate to the location where your STL file is saved.
  4. Select the File: Click on the desired file to select it.
  5. Adjust Import Options (if necessary): In some cases, you may need to adjust import options depending on your specific requirements. For example, you may want to set the desired unit of measurement or control the resolution of the imported model.
  6. Click ‘Open’: Once you have selected your options, click on ‘Open’ to import the STL file into SolidWorks.

Working with Imported STL Files

After opening an STL file in SolidWorks, you can work with it just like any other SolidWorks model. You can apply various operations such as adding features, making modifications, and creating assemblies. However, it’s important to note that the imported STL file is treated as a solid body rather than a feature-based model.

If you need to make significant changes to the imported STL file or extract specific features, you may find it challenging since the original design intent may not be preserved. In such cases, using dedicated reverse engineering software or manually remodeling the object based on the imported geometry might be necessary.


In conclusion, SolidWorks can open STL files, allowing you to work with 3D models saved in this format. While opening an STL file is a straightforward process, it’s important to remember that the imported model is treated as a solid body in SolidWorks. This means that modifying or extracting specific features from the imported geometry may require additional steps or dedicated software.

Remember: Always double-check your import settings and consider your design requirements before working with STL files in SolidWorks.