Information for Zemax customers using SolidWorks

Zemax places a high importance on supporting you in using your best possible workflow, so we regret Dassault Systems’ recent decision to conclude Zemax’s membership in the SolidWorks partner program. As a result of this decision, Zemax is no longer able to support our OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks product nor the CAD Dynamic Link for SolidWorks capability previously included in the Premium edition of OpticStudio.

The release of OpticsBuilder 21.3 and OpticStudio 21.3 in September 2021 represent the last major releases of these products to include integrations with the SolidWorks platform. On November 30, 2021, OpticsBuilder 21.3.2 and OpticStudio 21.3.2 were the last service pack releases of these products with bug fixes for customers using our SolidWorks integrations. Installers of OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks are available on until December 31, 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Dassault terminate your membership in the SolidWorks partner program?

Dassault Systems’ decision to terminate our membership was unilateral. Because Zemax and Ansys were not involved in the decision , we cannot speak to the motivations of Dassault.


Will I be able to renew my license of OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks?

No, due to Dassault System’s decision to remove Zemax from their SolidWorks Partner Program, Zemax is not able to renew OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks licenses after November 3, 2021.

Can I get support for OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks while I still have my subscription?

Yes, Zemax can continue to provide you with technical support, though in a more limited capacity. Zemax will not be able to test, maintain, or repair the functionality of OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks, but we can assist you in making use of the as-built software and modifying your workflow due to these changes.

What is the last release of OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks?

The last release, OpticsBuilder 21.3.2,  is available beginning November 30, 2021. After this release, no further development work may be performed by Zemax to upgrade, maintain, or repair the OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks product.

Will OpticsBuilder installers be removed or altered on the Zemax website?

OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks installers will be available on until December 31, 2021, and will not be available after this. OpticsBuilder for Creo installers are unaffected by these changes and will remain available on

I use OpticsBuilder for Creo. Will this product be negatively affected by the change with SolidWorks?

No. Zemax believes that the OpticsBuilder product is an important way that we support you in building great optical products and bringing them to market faster, and we intend to keep developing our OpticsBuilder for Creo product with this goal in mind.

How can I ensure that my work is saved out of OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks?

OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks allows users to export a .ZBD file using the CAD Part: STEP/IGES/SAT object. This .ZBD file can be opened within OpticStudio for further optical analysis or archival. Additionally, OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks converts your optical design into SolidWorks part (.SLDPRT) and assembly (.SLDASM) files. You may save these for use within your traditional CAD workflow inside of SolidWorks even after the OpticsBuilder for SolidWorks product expiration.

What other platforms will OpticsBuilder be connected to in the near future?

While we continue to improve and maintain our OpticsBuilder for Creo product, Zemax is evaluating other platform integration opportunities. There is no announcement to be made at this time.


Will OpticStudio installers for releases that included the SolidWorks Dynamic Link be removed or altered on the Zemax website?

No, previous software releases and installers will be unchanged and maintained on the website according to the Zemax Software Release Policy.

I used the Dynamic Link for SolidWorks so that I could optimize and tolerance my CAD part dimensions based on the optical performance. How can I perform that behavior without the SolidWorks link?

When you open your optical model in OpticStudio 22.1 and beyond, your SolidWorks part (.SLDPRT) or assembly (.SLDASM) file will be converted to a .SAT object. When working with .SAT objects, your model will have the same fidelity and accuracy, but the part dimensions will not be available for modification via optimization or tolerancing routines. To replace the full dynamic modification, optimization, and tolerancing of CAD parts, you could consider using a Part Designer object or working with Creo Parametric or Autodesk Inventor.

If I need technical support on a model that includes a SolidWorks part, will Zemax assist me?

Zemax can continue to offer you technical support, though we will not be able to troubleshoot, test, or repair problems associated with SolidWorks. Before sending your system to Zemax support staff, please convert your SolidWorks part or assembly to a STEP, SAT, STL, or IGES format and send that version of your system to the technical staff assisting you. If you send a version of your model which includes a SolidWorks part or assembly, those models will be converted to SAT files when they are opened by Zemax staff.

What will happen to my OpticStudio systems that include SolidWorks parts or assemblies?

When you open one of these OpticStudio systems in release 22.1 or beyond, the SolidWorks parts and assemblies will be automatically converted to and replaced with SAT files. Your original SolidWorks part (.SLDPRT) and assembly (.SLDASM) files will remain unaltered but will not be used by your optical system.

Have additional questions? Please contact your account manager