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How to change units in SolidWorks?


It is very easy to learn how to change units in SolidWorks. Let say you have your part already opened. Just look in the lower right hand corner of your screen.


Click on the circled button with a small black arrow pointing up. This will open the following menu:


You can choose between several options.


  • MKS – meter, kilogram, second – This is a metric unit system
  • CGS – centimeter, gram, second
  • MMGS – millimeter, gram, second – This is commonly used in mechanical design and engineering.
  • IPS – inch, pound, second – This in an Imperial unit system.

In North America, USA and Canada most common is to use IPS unit system. In Europe and most of the world, MMGS is the most common setting in SolidWorks and other CAD software.


When you change units, the Mass Properties will show values in the selected unit system.

And the same part Mass Properties using MMGS unit system.



Second way to change units in SolidWorks

Go to options screen by clicking Options button and then go to Document Properties screen. Select the Units from the left side panel.

As you can see on the screen, There are 5 radio button which you can select to change your unit system in SolidWorks.

On the same screen you can setup several more options:

  • You can change the number of decimal places shown for Length and Angle dimensions.
  • You can change the way decimals are rounded.

It is common to set everything to 3 decimal point precision for IPS unit system and to 2 decimal point precision for MMGS unit system.

For unit precision comparison lets compare 0.001″ to mm and 0.01 mm to inch to see which one ends up being more granular and precise with these settings.

0.001 inch = 0.0254 mm

0.01 mm = 0.000394 inch

We can see that in this case 0.01 mm is about 2.5 times more precise than using 0.001 inch precision.

Good tip is to enable dual units when using Measurement tool within SolidWorks.


When clicking on a in/mm button, the following screen will open.



Make sure Use custom settings is selected. Then, select your primary units and precisions. Finally, check the Use Dual Units box. This way you can have the best of both worlds and always be able to double check the measurement value in both unit systems.