Version 1.4

These installation notes are specific to the latest version of the KeyShot SOLIDWORKS add-in unless otherwise mentioned. For questions about other versions, please contact


The KeyShot SOLIDWORKS add-in requirements are as follows:

  • SOLIDWORKS 2015-2020
  • KeyShot 9 (Try | Buy)
  • Windows 64-bit

Plugins for previous versions of KeyShot are available here.


  1. After downloading, double-click the installer (.exe) file. Follow the prompts and click Finish.
  3. Go to Tools, Add-ins, Other Add-ins.
  4. Enable Active Add-ins for KeyShot 9. 
  5. Enable Start-up for KeyShot 9.
  6. Click OK.

KeyShot Add-In Menu

Once installed, a KeyShot menu will appear on top of the SOLIDWORKS CommandManager when a part or assembly is opened. (If the KeyShot toolbar does not appear, right-click in the toolbar area and select KeyShot 9 or go to Tools, Customize…, Toolbars and check KeyShot 9.)

Send to KeyShot
Click the Send to KeyShot button to launch KeyShot. The 3D data will be transferred from SOLIDWORKS to KeyShot.

Update KeyShot
Click the Update KeyShot button to import/update to an open KeyShot Scene. This will import your 3D data or update any changes on your model.

Export to KeyShot file
Click the Export to KeyShot file button to export your geometry as a .BIP file that you can share with other KeyShot users. KeyShot will not launch.

KeyShot Export Settings
Click the KeyShot Export Settings button to change the export settings for sending and exporting models.

  • Separate materials: This option will isolate linked materials to each part by prefixing the part name to each material name.
  • Interpolate exported animations: By default, animation frames are interpolated in KeyShot. On some models (fast rotations at low frame rates, for instance) this can lead to choppy results.
  • Automatically resolve components: For best results and consistency, all components should be fully resolved before sending or exporting. This option makes sure that any Lightweight Components will automatically become fully resolved.
  • Include NURBS: When enabled, NURBS data will be sent along with the model to KeyShot. This will allow you to re-tessellate inside of KeyShot and display your model with perfectly smooth rounds. Keep in mind that this will add to transfer time.

Supported Features

The KeyShot SOLIDWORKS add-in supports these features:

  • Maintain assembly structure
  • Maintain part level appearance assignments to face, feature, body and part
  • Option to Separate Materials by part (all part materials will be unlinked when checked)
  • LiveLinking (update model inside KeyShot)
  • Export KeyShot .bip without KeyShot installed
  • Patterned components import as instances
  • NURBS import*
  • Motion Study import*

*requires KeyShot Pro

How To Use The Plugin

  1. Open your assembly/part in SOLIDWORKS.
  2. Click Send to KeyShot to launch KeyShot. The 3D data will be transferred from SOLIDWORKS to KeyShot. 
  3. To Update any changes made in SOLIDWORKS, click Update KeyShot while your KeyShot scene is still open. All materials, textures, labels, animations, transformations, cameras, and lighting in the scene will be maintained.
  4. Locking, re-ordering or renaming a model in KeyShot will block that model from being updated. Notice that when renaming a part/model, it will be re-imported, when you update, so you end up with 2 versions.
  5. To add a part or assembly to an open KeyShot scene, click Update KeyShot, even if the scene does not already contain the source model.
  6. To include animations from SOLIDWORKS, activate a Motion Study tab in the assembly and then click Send to KeyShot. The plugin will automatically ask whether you want to export the model with animations. Activate the Model tab to export normally.
    1. Previously imported Motion Study animations will remain in the scene if a scene is updated. For best results, delete the old Motion Study animation in KeyShot prior to sending updates to KeyShot.

Note: Always use the same SOLIDWORKS mode with which you started. If your initial data transfer was done while in assembly mode, then all of your updates should be performed while in assembly mode. Similarly, if your initial data transfer was done while in part mode, then all of your updates should be performed while in part mode.

Tip: To increase surface smoothness inside SOLIDWORKS, go to ToolsOptionsDocument Properties and increase Image Quality. You can then use the Send to KeyShot button to update your assembly/part.

Working with Materials

  • Part level appearances in SOLIDWORKS define material breakup in KeyShot.
  • If you have the same appearances applied to multiple parts but want to edit them independently as unlinked materials in KeyShot use the Separate materials KeyShot Export Setting to isolate linked materials to each part.
  • In order to correctly maintain material assignments in KeyShot when LiveLinking/Updating Geometry, it's important that you do not use the Unlink Materials command in KeyShot. However, using the Link Materials command is fine.
  • When projecting a label or texture onto a pattern of objects with linked materials such as a packaging display, use Center On Part texture mapping mode in KeyShot.

Working with Configurations

In order to add multiple SOLIDWORKS Configurations to a single KeyShot Pro scene you can use the following method:

  1. With SOLIDWORKS configuration "A" active, use the plugin Send to KeyShot command to launch KeyShot and import model to the Default Model Set.
  2. Add a new Model Set, where you include the content from the Default Model Set. This will be your configuration "A".
  3. Make the Default Model Set active, and hide the new Model Set.
  4. With SOLIDWORKS Configuration "B" active, use the plugin "Update KeyShot" command to update the model in the Default Model Set with the active Configuration.
  5. Add a new Model Set, where you include the content from the Default Model Set. This will be your configuration "B".
  6. Make the Default Model Set active, and hide the new Model Set.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for each additional Configuration.


If you cannot find the KeyShot plugin under Add-ins, you can install the plugin manually, as follows:
  1. Browse to the location C:, Program Files, KeyShot9, Plugins, SOLIDWORKS in Windows Explorer and verify that KeyShot9.dll exists.
  2. Holding shift, with nothing selected, right-click an empty space inside Windows Explorer.
  3. Select Open command window here.
  4. In the command window, enter regsvr32.exe KeyShot9.dll.


In Control PanelPrograms and Features look for the KeyShot 9 SolidWorks Plugin. Right-click and select Uninstall.

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