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Solid Edge 2D Drafting – now views 3D files!

Siemens Genius Siemens Genius
Siemens Genius

I hate to start a blog post with “one of the little known features in Solid Edge ST10 is…” but one capability we added and need to shout to the rooftops about is the new capability to view 3D files in Solid Edge 2D Drafting. As I’m sure you are aware Solid Edge 2D Drafting is free and you can load it on any Windows PCs in the office, on the shop floor, or at home – and of course your suppliers and customers can do this too – no license is needed to run Solid Edge in this mode.

Kevin Haen from Solid Edge customer Curt Joa told us during the ST10 beta testing “We have Solid Edge 2D Drafting installed everywhere in-house – it’s a great solution for collaboration around drawings – and our suppliers use it too. The addition of 3D viewing capabilities in Solid Edge ST10 will further increase the benefits we get from this free module.”

curt joa machine.jpgCurt Joa designs complex machinery using Solid Edge, they are using Solid Edge 2D Drafting to view design data across different departments, and with their suppliers and customers

To download Solid Edge ST10 just go to the Siemens GTAC site, navigate to the Solid Edge product area, select the language version you want (you can now easily swap to a different language within the product), download and install. When the License Utility is displayed select the option ”I want to use Viewer Mode / Free 2D Drafting” and no license will be required. When you run Solid Edge the splash screen reminds you that you are running 2D Drafting. You can always get a license later and simply point to this license to immediately access the full 3D design capabilities of Solid Edge.

Solid Edge License Utility.jpgNew license option in Solid Edge ST10 enables 2D drafting mode and viewing of 3D files

But the major new capability with ST10 is, in addition to the great 2D drafting capabilities – including the ability to dimension your drawings and place annotations to international standards, you can now easily view a wide variety of 3D file types. And not just view in shaded, wireframe and hidden line modes, you can also place measurements and clipping planes in 3D. The list of 3D file types is quite extensive, all 3D Solid Edge file types (part, assembly, weldment and sheet metal) are supported, together with IGES, STEP, STL, Parasolid and JT.

In the screenshot below I am viewing 2D AutoCad and Solid Edge drawings, a bracket that is a Solid Edge 3D part, a fan assembly that was supplied in IGES format, a PCB assembly supplied in STEP format and an STL 2d drafting 6 file types.jpgMany different 2D and 3D file types can be viewed using Solid Edge 2D Drafting - some examples here include a Solid Edge part and drawing, an Autocad drawing, and STEP, IGES and STL files.For individual users with just a single Solid Edge license you can load Solid Edge to any number of Windows PCs and have these capabilities immediately available. For larger manufacturers, your employees on the shop floor, in the purchasing department, in quality or even accounting can have these capabilities directly available for no additional software cost!

Please let us know if you find these capabilities useful, and some of the specific use cases you are aware of either personally, or in other departments in your organization, or with external users including suppliers and customers.

Gears Honored Contributor

Wow! that's indeed a hassle-free way to switch between licenses and usability.

Solution Partner Creator

One warning to everyone who uses 3D licenses and wants occasionally use Free2D/Viewer mode.

If you use 3D license and start Solid Edge as Free2D/Viewer mode, it rewrites your existing 3D license, so you have to have your 3D license handy somewhere in computer when you want to use 3D again.

Siemens Phenom

@edobp016 better yet, have copies of all your various Solid Edge licenses stored on disk and then create batch files to copy in the needed license file, and then create shortcuts for your batch files such that you have one shortcut for full Solid Edge and one shortcut for Solid Edge Viewer.


This is the way I work doing support -- I have a need for multiple types of Solid Edge license files which I have all stored on disk and I have automated switching these out on an as needed basis.

Solution Partner Creator

@uk_dave so do I. But as support person I know that "average user" also reads this community (some of mine anyway). And those users sometimes will get excited and eager to try different stuff. And sometimes they forget that license makes Solid Edge to work Smiley Happy.

Siemens Phenom

@edobp016 absolutely and for those "average users" I have provided a potential solution to consider which is using batch files and shortcuts to quickly allow switching between the Solid Edge licenses/functionality.

Any chance of being able to view SolidWorks, PTC, etc.?
Solution Partner Creator

Opens only those formats.


Siemens Genius

I dont believe we plan to add the capability to view 3rd party CAD formats like SolidWorks and PTC to Solid Edge 2D Drafting. However we are working on a solution for our customers in this area - Solid Edge Portal. Lookout for an announcement on the availability of this towards the end of the year. This is a cloud based collaboration portal that will support uploading, viewing and sharing of files in several 3rd party 3D CAD formats in addition to viewing your Solid Edge files.

Valued Contributor

So if I am following correctly, if someone is using the viewer or 2D drafting, will it reduce the total count of available floating licenses?

Siemens Phenom

@MikeSaari the viewer is actually the same as the free 2D drafting. .


So, if your workstation does not have a full blown paid for Solid Edge license on it then your workstation will use the free 2D/viewer mode which does not consume a Solid Edge license. 


However, if your workstation has full blown Solid Edge on it and normally uses a license, without extra work there is no way to use a full blown Solid Edge seat as a viewer without consuming a Solid Edge  license.  In order to use a full Solid Edge client in viewer mode so that it does not consume a license you must reconfigure the license to be a free 2D/viewer client.  This is what @edobp016 and myself were discussing earlier in the thread -- how to configure a full-blown Solid Edge client to also be a free 2D/viewer client -- you will need two selicense.dat files (one full license and one free 2D/viewer license) and you will need to create scripts and shortcuts to then quickly toggle between the two modes.


Hopefully that makes sense?  

Valued Contributor

Thanks.  Please excuse my ignorance, but what all will one install to not have the "full version"?  Will they just install a viewer?  Sort of how it's done today for ST9 (or earlier) if we wanted someone to have 3D viewing capability, it's just that they will now also get the 2D drafting as part of the install?

Siemens Phenom

For ST10, if you want a client workstation to just be a viewer you will still install full Solid Edge but then license it as a free 2D/viewer seat instead of using your production full license.


We have a Viewer download software distribution available (which is temporarily not working [see another thread on this forum]}.  This Viewer download is still the same as the 3D Solid Edge but with some of the extra add-on "fluff" removed that you have in the 3D software distribution thereby making for a [slightly[ smaller software distribution.


This ST10 viewer solution is not a standalone software like the old View & Markup.  This new solution is full Solid Edge with reduced functionality when used in Viewer/Free 2D mode.


Honestly, if you are a commercial 3D Solid Edge customer, then just install Solid Edge as normal on all your systems including the Viewer stations and then just license as appropriate. 

Gears Phenom

Our users (and me) love this new possibility, viewing files in native SE UI. License overwriting is weak point at this moment...


Here is a new asking, We would like to add markups (notes) to native SE files, in this case every processes should be simpler than now...



Gears Esteemed Contributor

There was no mention of this feature's compatibility with managed data like Insight, Teamcenter, etc. Will a 2D user who wants to view 3D data be able to access managed files?

Siemens Phenom

@bshand Free 2D Drafting does not support managed data.  To use 2D Drafting with managed data you must purchase the Maintenance 2D Drafting product. 


For ST10, with Insight and SESP we still provide View & Markup and this would be the expected viewing solution for those managed environments with ST10.  Teamcenter has its own viewing solution that is not a Solid Edge product -- it was this was before ST10 and continues with ST10.

Gears Esteemed Contributor

OK, thanks. I figured. We currently have one 2D maintenance license. When we go to ST10 that maintenance license will work as it does now?

Siemens Phenom

Yes, your 2D Maintenance license will continue to work the same way in ST10 .

Solution Partner Pioneer



¿There's no possibility to see the propertyes of the file inside the viewer?


Thank you!

Siemens Phenom

@BeatrizSeoane No it is currently not possible to view the file properties in the ST10 Viewer.  ER# 8356508


Very nice.

But I got big problem.

So strange recent, I can't download true "Solid Edge 2D Drafting",Finished that table, download app is "Solid Edge 2019"! Unable to understand.
Man,Can you paste download link for true "Solid Edge 2D Drafting",Please!

If you have old version, is better. V19 or V20 version.