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SOLIDWORKS 3D Interconnect Options

Introduced in SOLIDWORKS 2017, 3D Interconnect replaces SOLIDWORKS’ current translation capabilities with new technology and workflows for working with third-party CAD data. 


    • Insert proprietary CAD data directly into a SOLIDWORKS assembly without converting it to a SOLIDWORKS file. 
    • Open the proprietary 3D CAD format in the SOLIDWORKS software with its associative link to the original part. 
    • Update changes in the SOLIDWORKS file if you update the proprietary CAD data in its authoring application by maintaining all downstream features created in SOLIDWORKS. 
    • Break the link of the inserted part file with the original part file. 


3D Interconnect supports the following formats and their versions (SOLIDWORKS 2024 data) 



File Formats 

Format Versions 


.sat, .sab, .asat, .asab 

R1 – 2022 1.0 

Autodesk® Inventor 

.ipt (V6 – V2021) 

.iam (V11 – V2021 

11 – 2023 


.CATPart, .CATProduct 

V5 R8 to V5-6 R2022 


.dxf, .dwg 

2.5 – 2023 


.ifc, .ifczip 

IFC 2×3, IFC 4 


.igs, .iges 

Up to 5.3 



JT 8.x, 9.x, 10, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.518, and 10.619, and 10.719 

PTC® Creo 

.prt, .prt., .asm, .asm 

Pro/ENGINEER® 16 – Creo 9.0 

Solid Edge® 

.par, .asm, .psm 

V18 – SE 2022 


.stp, .step 

AP203, AP214, AP242 

NX™ software 


UG 11 – NX 2206 

Note, CATIA® V5-SOLIDWORKS Translator is available with SOLIDWORKS Premium. 

3D Interconnect Add-in

3D Interconnect can be turned on from Tools > Options > System Options > Import. This will enable the SOLIDWORKS “translator” for non-native formats, meaning you can insert other proprietary formats without converting them to SOLIDWORKS files. 


There are options to maintain or break the associative link automatically. 


Starting with SOLIDWORKS 2023, 3D interconnect contains the following options: 


    • Create 3D Interconnect links in the Feature and Component level or Feature level only.
      • If the Create 3D Interconnect links: option is turned off, files will be imported without links. Clicking Save in SOLIDWORKS will create SOLIDWORKS files of all parts and assemblies.
    • When manually breaking 3D Interconnect links, Create external files or Create virtual components. 
SOLIDWORKS 3D Interconnect Options (1)

SOLIDWORKS 2017-2022, 3D interconnect contains the following options: 

    • Create 3D Interconnect feature links in parts only. 
      • Turning this option is cleared the system will create links to parts and assemblies. 
    • Break component links as external files. 
      • When the option is cleared, the resulting part or assembly is a virtual component.
SOLIDWORKS 3D Interconnect Options 2

Breaking the Link from the Original File Manually

You can break the link from the original part file to the inserted part file. When you open a third-party CAD part file, the inserted part file retains the link to the original file and the icons display green arrows pointing to the left as shown in the image below. 

SOLIDWORKS 3D Interconnect Options (3)

To break the link from the original part file, In the FeatureManager design tree, right-click the inserted third-party CAD file and click Break Link. 


This is an irreversible action. After you break the links, you cannot reconnect or update the part with the original part. The Import Feature PropertyManager is also unavailable. 

SOLIDWORKS 3D Interconnect Options (4)

Technical Support

Get help from our team by Calling us at 800-364-1652 x 2. You can also get assistance by clicking the Technical Support button or the Email Our Experts button below. 

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