Drawing and Viewport Backgrounds

SolidWorks 2008 introduced the ability to control the drawing background.  This was made obvious with the notorious implementation of the Crinkled Paper image that now dons SW 2008 on-screen display of drawings.  This image is kinda cool, but also not really all that professional.  It is an unusual and quirky choice for a default image, to say the least.  Just as quirky is that fact the user cannot choose to print their drawing with that background included.  This makes the whole thing seem rather silly.  Regardless, there is a fairly easy method to change this image.  Instructions to change this image appear latter in this article.  Also included are the instructions to simply turn this function off.  Also included at the end of this article are locations where some background images are available for download.

Before SW 2008, the user only had the ability to set a solid color as the drawing background.  The user did have capabilities to control the viewport background, which also appears underneath the drawing background.  The abillity to control this viewport background has improved over the years.  In the early days, one could only set the color.  Then SW wowwed us with transitional coloration.  Later, the user could display an image as the background.  Instructions on how to apply an image to the viewport backaround appear later in this article.

Instructions to change the drawing background in SW 2008

1. Obtain or create a new Bitmap (.bmp) image for use as the background. For best results, the .bmp should be a pixel size that is similar to the current SW 2008 backgruond image (sheetbackground1.bmp).  Also, be sure the background image is light or ghost-like so that it does not obscure the drawing itself.
2.  Shutdown SolidWorks, if not already.
3. Goto the SolidWorks\data\Images\drawings folder in Windows Explorer. Note: this folder location may vary some between systems at the “Solidworks” level.
4. Rename the standard sheetbackground1.bmp to back it up.
5. Copy the new sheetbackground1.bmp into that folder.
6. Start SolidWorks and open a drawing to confirm.

Instructions to turn off the drawing background image in SW 2008

1. Start SolidWorks.
2. Goto pulldown Tools/Options…/System Options tab.
3. Select Colors in the left selection list.
4. Check the box of “Use specified color for drawings paper color”.
5. If you wish to change the default paper color, select “Drawings, Paper Color” in the “Color scheme settings” list and LMB click on the “Edit…” button to the right. This brings up a window where you can select another color. Pick “OK” button of that window to return to System Options.
6. Pick “OK” button of the System Options to implement the changes.
7. Open a drawing to confirm changes.

Instructions use an image as the viewport background for SW 2006 and above

1. Identify which image you’d like to use as a viewport background.  Note: drawing background images from SW 2008 can also be used as viewport backgrounds in SW 2006/7.
2. Start SolidWorks.
3. Goto pulldown Tools/Options…/System Options tab.
4. Select Colors in the left selection list.
5. Select the option to use an Image file under “Background appearance”. The exact name and placement of this selection may vary between versions of SolidWorks. Look for the field that allows the entry of a file name and its associated browse button (three dots).
6. Browse to the location of the image to be used as the background, and select the image file. Pick “OK” or “Open”.
7. Pick “OK” to accept the change in System Options.
8. Open a drawing to confirm change.

Locations to find drawing backgrounds

Author: fcsuper

As a drafter, mechanical designer and CAD engineer, I've been in the mechanical design field since 1991. For the first 8 years of my career, I was an AutoCAD professional. I utilized AutoLISP and many other AutoCAD customization features to streamline drafting activities for 6+ drafters and designers. I authored several custom functions, one of which was published in the March 1997 issue of Cadalyst Magazine. Since 1998, I've been used SolidWorks non-stop. I've worked to utilize the SolidWorks' user environment to simplify drafting and design activities for 20+ engineers. I've created this website to provide current information about SolidWorks from a variety of contributors. More recently, I am now employed by Dassault Systemes as SOLIDWORKS Sr. Product Definition Manager to improve drawing, annotation and MBD related areas.

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