Showing Decals In SolidWorks Drawings

I discussed combining different display states to allow components to display their transparency in a previous article a couple of weeks ago. This briefly touched on today’s topic – showing decals in SolidWorks drawings. There are several ways to achieve this, they all have their merits so it’s up to you to decide which technique to use.

The first method would be to set the drawing or drawing view(s) to a shaded display state. It would show up complete with decals like so:

Drawing View Shaded - Showing Decals In SolidWorks Drawings

Another method would be  to create a combined display state as discussed in my previous tutorial. Here’s an example of what you can achieve with this:

Final Drawing - Showing Decals In SolidWorks Drawings

I’m going to expand on the previous tutorial today to focus more on the decal side of things. We will start with a very similar multi-body part; this time the part has a decal applied to the metal box body. This technique will also work on single body parts and assemblies:

Part With Decal - Showing Decals In SolidWorks Drawings

Once again, we will create a new display state to use within the drawing of this part. I’ll call it ‘Drawing Display State’ again:

Add Display State

Rename Display State - Showing Decals In SolidWorks Drawings

Now, with ‘Drawing Display State’ activated, we need to set the individual bodies of the model to the display state you would like to appear in your drawing. You can select any type of display state you like for this, but for the purposes of this example I’ve chosen hidden lines visible. This technique doesn’t work if you set the default display state of the model from the heads up display at the top of the graphics view; therefore it’s important to set the display state individually from the feature tree like so:

Set Display States - Showing Decals In SolidWorks Drawings

Now with the display states set, you’ll see that the decal is still visible but you’ve also got the part in a hidden lines visible display state:

The New Display State

Now it’s time to transfer this display state to the drawing sheet. Use your preferred method to create a drawing of the part, I usually go File -> Create Drawing From Part. Once you’ve defined your views you should be presented with something like this:

Drawing Screenshot In SolidWorks - Showing Decals In SolidWorks Drawings

Next we’ll use some display state magic to get the decal to become visible. The first thing to check is that decals are set to visible in your drawing. This is a simple verification in most cases, but sometimes the option is disabled. Click view from the tool-bar at the top of the SolidWorks window and ensure that the decals option is selected, like so:

Enable Decals - Showing Decals In SolidWorks Drawings

Next we’ll activate the newly created ‘Drawing Display State’ on the master view (or individual views depending on how your drawing is setup or what effect you’re trying to achieve):

Select Display State - Showing Decals In SolidWorks Drawings

Once the display state is selected, you’ll also need to set the drawing view to display in shaded mode – this is just a SolidWorks idiosyncrasy – but your drawing will now display in a hidden lines visible display state with any decals visible. This technique is great if you’ve used a decal to show detail on a switch box or instrument panel, or when you’ve been asked to get the company logo on a part in a drawing.

If you’d like to download the files from this tutorial for a closer look then they’re available here. The files are in SolidWorks 2013 format, so you will need SolidWorks 2013 SP0 or higher to view them. They will also open in SolidWorks 2012 SP5.0 in interop mode.


  1. What if the manufacturer needs actual text? So you’ve spent a ton of time modeling the text, but the manufacturer needs to be able to copy the text from the drawing. Geometry doesn’t render as a readable font in a drawing, so what are the options?

    • I’m not sure what you mean – this example covers showing decals in drawings. If you’ve modeled the text then you don’t need to do any of this because it exists already as geometry.

      CAD packages don’t/can’t render geometry as a font because all they do is produce a vector of your 3D model when drawing. If you need to provide text as a font then you’d need to supply the artwork in an alternative format.

  2. History Folder – The History Folder is located at the top of the FeatureManager and always displays the last five features you’ve accessed.

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