What's New in SOLIDWORKS PCB 2020?

Taking collaboration to a completely new level!

Take a look at both pictures:

The top came from SOLIDWORKS CAD, and the bottom, SOLIDWORKS PCB. The quality of the graphics is not only on par with each other. The data used to render both images were passed to each tool without importing or exporting files. The PCB Services, which comes with SOLIDWORKS PCB or SOLIDWORKS Connector for Altium Designer, allows these tools to pass information in their native formats. These are not STEPs or parasolids; the information passed back and forth are real parts and primitives. No additional formatting or manipulation is required.

The SOLIDWORKS PCB 2020 release focuses on three features requested by many users of this product.


In SOLIDWORKS 2020, the primary focus was on adding a rigid-flex layout. This is a key feature highly sought by many companies that closely integrate mechanical and electrical design. Based on feedback from SOLIDWORKS customers, rigid-flex layouts were necessary for several reasons:

  • To minimize the size of the electronics added into strictly mechanical designs. For example, consider a faucet or door lock. Customers do not mind the electronics in these products, but they want the product to look the same as in the past products.
  • Rigid-Flex can be used where it is beneficial to have a single board rather than multiple boards and cables. This can save much administrative work on documentation control, configuration management, and inventory control.


Many customers use PDM to assist with their SOLIDWORKS CAD documentation. PDM Integration has been added to provide documentation assistance in SOLIDWORKS PCB:

  • Templates for the different types of files used in SOLIDWORKS PCB, such as project, PCB layout, schematic, and library files.
  • Extraction of component data for the creation of a bill of materials.


In prior versions of SOLIDWORKS PCB, there was a strict requirement that all components on the PCB layout had to have a unique designator. Though this is a good practice and is required for components connected through copper, embedded copper such as fiducials, mounting holes, and test points not represented in the schematic may have duplicate designators due to the practice of copying of such features once placed.

In SOLIDWORKS PCB 2020, all components on the PCB have a unique designator no longer required. However, as a good practice, we recommend that all components, regardless of their representation on the schematic, are given a unique designator. All components that will be placed in the PCB should have a symbolic representation and be placed on the schematic. This includes fiducials, mounting holes, and test points.

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