What do you do when someone wants to view your designs, but does not have access to SOLIDWORKS? For over a decade, eDrawings has been a staple for many of our users to view and share CAD information. The Professional ($) version comes with a handful of additional neat features, our focus here is on the free version, eDrawings Viewer.
eDrawings Viewer borrows some of the best viewing capabilities that you will find inside of SOLIDWORKS. This translates to a smooth transition between working with SOLIDWORKS and eDrawings viewer, along with its easy to use communication tools.
What is eDrawings?
eDrawings is viewer for both drawings and 3D CAD models from many different file types. The user interface provides powerful illustration tools such as markups, measuring, sections views, and display styles that helps you better visualize the data received. Additionally, eDrawings is a standalone product, meaning SOLIDWORKS is not required to install eDrawings Viewer or Professional.
Where can you download eDrawings?
Option 1: Standalone Viewer
Whether you want to install on a PC, Mac or mobile operating system, eDrawings Viewer can be downloaded at https://www.edrawingsviewer.com/download-edrawings
Note that this method does require product registration.
Option 2: SOLIDWORKS Installer
Viewer can also be installed via the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager. This is the recommended method for anyone who owns a copy of SOLIDWORKS. This does NOT require an additional seat of SOLIDWORKS, or for SOLIDWORKS to be installed.
Simply deselect all items from the Serial Number page and proceed with the install.
On the Product Selection page, the items remaining will be the available free products.
As a SOLIDWORKS customer, this will bypass any need to register your eDrawings Viewer.
If you own SOLIDWORKS Professional or Premium, eDrawings Professional is included with your license. eDrawings Professional is available for purchase.
What features make eDrawings unique?
For starters, users can open and view native CAD files. The list of capabilities included in both the free and professional versions are:
- Measure tool to get quick and accurate dimensions from the 3D model (can be disabled to prevent reverse engineering)
- Markups to communicate critical design information on the fly
- Enabling Configurations, Automatic Exploded Views, and other view types
- Manipulate display settings to publish to other imaging formats
The professional edition includes all of the above features plus:
- HTML Output to export the file’s viewing capabilities into a smaller form factor. The HTML extends the capability of the viewer all in a single file that opens up in a web browser. (GIVE IT A TRY)
- AR (augmented Reality) to extend the viewing of any model. eDrawings is also available on android and iOS and a bit of a wow-factor on mobile devices is the AR function. A QR code can be printed off and simply place it on your desk or other flat surface and your 3D model comes to life in the palm of your hand. Your customer can view their new product as it would appear in the real world using your mobile device's camera to show how your product would look.
A comprehensive matrix of eDrawings Professional, Viewer and Mobile has been included at the end of this post.
What file types are supported in eDrawings?
eDrawings supports more than a dozen file types, from SOLIDWORKS to STL and many native CAD formats. If customizations including markups and notes are added, the file may be saved using the eDrawings format to share with other users.
How does one decide to use eDrawings as opposed to SOLIDWORKS?
If we need to create a new design or edit an existing design, SOLIDWORKS will be required. eDrawings is limited to viewing. eDrawings Viewer is ideal for those outside the design group, but want to view and comment on CAD data. For example, if Mark the Manager wants to review a recent design, Eric the Engineer can send him the native CAD file. Mark can open in eDrawings, rotate, explode, view configurations and even add notes or comments. Mark can then save as an eDrawings file and send it back to Eric to update his design to Mark’s requirements.
Since the system requirements for eDrawings only require a 3.3 GHz or higher processer and 16GB or more of RAM, it can be installed on just about any device.
With all of these capabilities bundled in a free viewer, there’s no better tool to help you review your design. The capabilities in eDrawings extend far past the design creation and allows anyone to control the information with only a few mouse clicks.
To learn more about the extended capabilities that are outside of SOLIDWORKS, please subscribe to the Alignex blog for future tips on controlling your data.
Written by The Alignex Team
The Alignex Team of application engineers combined their depth of experience and industry knowledge to bring you the contents of this article.