New in SolidWorks 2012: Equations

Equations is, by far, my favorite update in SolidWorks 2012.  The interface has been totally redesigned (and UI very very is important).   My favorite new function with Equations is that we now have the option to include extremely simple equations directly to driving dimensions.  It makes me happy that I can now type “1 + 1” into a dimension field and have it remain as 1 + 1 instead of collapsing to its evaluated value of 2.


To add equations directly to dimension text fields, just add an equal sign at the start the field.  The Equation “E” then shows up next to the dimension text field. 

One current drawback that I did notice is that once you enter equation mode, you can no longer specify units of measure within the dimension text field.  However, you can still use non-persistent equations; just leave off the equal sign.  These will continue to behave as they always have (including the usage of units of measure). 

OK, there’s a lot more going on with Equations.  I cannot do justice to the topic in a a brief overview.  I’ll cover a couple of basic items.  I sincerely suggest that everyone look up the What’s New for Equations to get a real taste for the improvements.  The new Equations capabilities are an important addition to SolidWorks in 2012.

Some other Equations enhancements of note

The updated Equations View supports new functionality.  Equations within this view can be sorted and filtered.  There is a new selection available called “Automatic solve order”.   In previous versions of SolidWorks, if equations broke due to references shifting around or any number of other reasons, you had to move the equations around in a very manual process.  “Automatic solve order” will automatically detect dependencies within all of the equations and reorder them accordingly! 

Equations and global variables can now be suppressed from all views for troubleshooting and other purposes.  Additionally, they can be applied to selected configurations, right from the Equations View dialog window by RMB clicking them and choosing Suppress and the Specify Configurations.

Oh, one more cool thing to squeeze in at the end: Equations dialog box now allows the selection of mutiple rows to perform the same task on all selected equations.  CTRL and SHIFT keys function normally to multi-section rows.

Top Ten Enhancement Requests for SolidWorks World 2010

As with each year, SolidWorks World lists the top ten enhancement requests as choosen by SolidWorks users.

#10 Simplify Video Card Requirements – I’m not sure I entirely understand the scope of this request.

#9 Exploded Views for Weldments – Cool.

#8 Option to Dangle Children Instead of Deleting – This should be much higher on the list, in my opinion.

#7 Graphical Map of Reference – Ok, sure.

#6 Allow More Types of Assembly Features – Cool.

#5 Better Utilization of Processore Cores – Yes, definately.  SolidWorks is years behind the curve.

#4 On The Fly Equations in Dialog Boxes – Yes!!!

#3 File Compatibility Between Versions – YES!!!

#2 Increase Stabilty – Yes, but what does this really mean?

#1 SoldWorks Should Cleanly Uninstall Itself – I agree with this too, but is this really something that affects a lot of people on a daily basis?