FormatWorks Extends SolidWorks Data Translation Capability

solidWorksCertifiedGoldProductFormatWorks is a SolidWorks Certified Gold Product Add-in that solves frustrating data translation problems for SolidWorks users. It has the highest level of integration within SolidWorks with a fully integrated “single window” application.

FormatWorks extends the SolidWorks data translation capability by providing automatic, accurate, and reliable bi-directional translation. It provides extended support of native CAD formats CATIA V4, CATIA V5, CATIA V6, Siemens NX, Inventor, Creo/ProE that are limited or not available in SolidWorks. It also supports Model Based Definition (MBD) information such as, file annotations, PMI, FT&A, or GD&T. FormatWorks can directly read MBD from CATIA V5, Siemens NX and Creo/ProE native formats.

FormatWorks also provides automatic repair and healing to ensure that all imported 3D CAD models including IGES and STEP meet the criteria set by SolidWorks to form valid solids. 3D models read through FormatWorks translator are automatically repaired to exact solids within the original model tolerance.

FormatWorks Fully Integrates Within SolidWorks

Fully Integrated as a Stand-alone or Network/Float License with SolidWorks

FormatWorks is a SolidWorks Certified Gold Product representing the highest level of integration with SolidWorks, quality and interoperability. Certified Gold Product Add-ins are fully integrated “single window” applications adding value to SolidWorks customers.

MBD – Model Based Definition Support Including PMI (GD&T and FT&A)

FormatWorks provides full access to the MBD (Model Based Definition) for CATIA V5, Siemens NX, PTC’s Creo(Pro-E), and STEP A203 ED2 formats. The user can view the 3D model along with the GD&T (Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerance), PMI (Product Manufacturing Information), or FT&A (Functional Tolerance & Annotation). Print the annotation to create 2D paper documents. Both solid and surface representations (CATIA hybrid representation) including CATIA 2D sketches are supported.

Creo/ProE PMI
Creo/ProE PMI
Siemens NX PMI
Siemens NX PMI

Preview Function (data structure in the project tree)


FormatWorks includes a 3D CAD model preview-select-translate capability. This allows users to instantly read 3D CAD models and view them before they are translated to SolidWorks. The preview offers all functions of a graphical viewer providing zoom, rotate and pan operations. It also features a project tree showing the entire model data structure.

Selective Translation (only parts of interest are translated into SolidWorks)

The FormatWorks model preview-select-translate capability allows SolidWorks users to instantly read 3D models and select parts of interest to be translated into SolidWorks. The selective translation is very useful if your imported parts are complex assemblies and you need to extract single parts or reference entities for use in SolidWorks.

Preview. Selected part from CATIA V5 assembly
Preview. Selected part from CATIA V5 assembly
Translated part into SW from CATIA V5 assembly
Translated part into SW from CATIA V5 assembly

Original Dassault CATIA Libraries Licensed for Use in FormatWorks

To access native CATIA data FormatWorks uses original CATIA libraries (licensed from Dassault Systems), which ensures correct interpretation of the CATIA CAD data and immediate updates followed when new revisions of CATIA are available.

Automatic Repair

FormatWorks repairs both geometry and topology using specialized algorithms. FormatWorks automatically identifies and repairs over 70 typical data translation errors within the original model tolerance to prevent model deformation. It converts CATIA entities into entities compatible with SolidWorks’ representation e.g. cylinders for the SolidWorks mating functionality.

FormatWorks automatic repair process

Error Classification

The FormatWorks Error Classification function identifies and classifies all errors and inconsistencies in the 3D model definition. An Error Classification Tree gives an organized and easy workflow for the manual repair process. The special Manual Repair Tools complement SolidWorks capabilities to efficiently correct any remaining errors. The following types of error classification are provided:

Error Classification Categories:

  • Gaps
  • Overlaps
  • Ledges
  • Open contours
  • Untrimmed surfaces

Manual Repair

Manual repair has never been simpler. If necessary, FormatWorks will automatically provide you with the workflow to fix all problems remaining in the CAD model. Defective entities are grouped in a project tree as separate SolidWorks documents. All manual repair operations are intuitive and easy to use since they are completely integrated into SolidWorks. As a result, the user operates only on faulty parts that are separated from the rest of the model.

The following special Manual Repair Tools are provided:

  • Forming solids – Capvidia’s proprietary stitching function can form solids while preventing model deformation
  • Repair in separate documents – Isolate faulty entities into separate documents along with their neighboring geometry
  • Unique Surface Recreate algorithm – Repairs surfaces that have been deformed to recreate the original surface
  • Surface Trimming – Trims a surface with a set of trimming curves. Works on multiple surfaces simultaneously
  • Surface Create – Create a surface using a robust algorithm designed that can create surfaces based on contours or surface borders
  • Surface Merging & Splitting – Simplify surfaces to create a more robust surface representation

Manual repair of CAD models in FormatWorks

Batch Translation

The batch mode function automates the translation process. It is especially suitable for translating large files or multiple data sets. Batch translation is set up through a separate interface to define the process parameters. The process itself does not involve any user interaction. The batch translation is controlled automatically and in case of an unexpected error, it will recover and continue.

Geometry Simplification (NURBS into analytic representation) and Feature Recognition

Geometry simplification and feature recognition with FormatWorks
Feature translation

FormatWorks includes automatic feature recognition capabilities that can identify in the underlying NURBS representation SolidWorks features such as:

  • Holes
  • Cuts
  • Chamfers
  • Fillets
  • Extrusions
  • Ribs

CATIA Multi-body Document into SolidWorks Assembly

FormatWorks automatically converts CATIA V5.CATPart multi-body document into a SolidWorks SLDASM assembly document. Each CATIA V5 multi-body is represented by one separate part in a SolidWorks assembly.


Supported CAD Formats

  • CATIA V4 (.model, .exp / up to 4.2.4)
  • CATIA V5 with PMI (.CATPart, CATProduct / up to R23)
  • CATIA V6 with PMI (V6R2014)
  • CATIA 2D (.IG2)
  • UGS/NX with PMI (up to 18, NX8.5)
  • ProE/Creo with PMI (up to Creo 2.0)
  • Inventor (up to 2013)
  • SolidWorks (up to 2013)
  • SolidEdge (up to ST5)
  • Parasolid (up to 25)
  • ACIS with PMI (up to R24)
  • STEP (AP 203/214/242)
  • IGES (up to 6.0)
  • VDA-FS
  • AutoForm (.af, .afm)
  • STL
  • VRML
  • XCGM (up to R2014)
  • Capvidia OpenXML



  • CATIA V4 (.model, .exp / 4.2.4)
  • CATIA V5 (.CATPart, CATProduct / V5 – V6 R2013)
  • Parasolid (up to 25)
  • ACIS (up to R24)
  • STEP (AP 203/214)
  • IGES (up to 6.0)
  • VDA-FS
  • 3D PDF (1.7)
  • AutoForm (.af, .afm)
  • STL
  • VRML
  • XCGM
  • Capvidia OpenXML