How to Run Solidworks on Mac

Most of us love our Macs, but as a Mac user, we sometimes find that there is software we would like to use but it is only available in a Windows environment. Solidworks is one such application. It’s a popular CAD application that is designed only for Windows.

While some users have access to both Mac and Windows machines, not everyone is that lucky. If you only have a Mac, you may be wondering if and how you can run Solidworks on your machine. Thankfully this can be done using Bootcamp or a Virtual Machine in one form or another.

My name is Eric and as a software engineer, I constantly need to figure out how to make things work with a specific set of given resources. In this case, running an application that is made only for Windows on a Mac may seem like a challenge, but I can show you how to do this.

Stay with me if you would like to find out more. Below I will go over the most common methods you can use to run Solidworks on your Mac.

Different Options for Running Solidworks on Mac

The maker of Solidworks has chosen to only develop a Windows version of the application. Since it has been designed, created, and optimized for a Microsoft Windows operating system running on a PC, there is no way to install and run it in your macOS environment directly.

Although it can’t be run in a macOS environment, it is still possible to run the software on your Mac by either installing a Windows OS on your Mac, running it through a virtual machine or VM on your Mac desktop, or using remote desktop to run it on another machine through your desktop.

Since the application must run in a Windows environment, there are a limited number of options but I will take a look at some of them below.

Method 1: Bootcamp (for Intel Macs)

If you have an older Mac with an older macOS, this may still be an option for you. Newer Macs with M series chips no longer support this so you will need to look at some of the other options below. 

Bootcamp allows you to set up a Windows environment on your Mac hardware and provides an option at the startup of your system where you can choose to boot into Windows or macOS. Using this option you can set up a Windows environment on your machine for Solidworks to run.

If you do have an older system and Bootcamp is an option for you, you can take a look at what you need to do to get it set up and if you do, you can then install Solidworks on the Windows partition.

If your system does not support Bootcamp or you don’t feel it is the right solution for you, take a look at the other possibilities below.

Method 2: Virtual Machine

Virtual machines can be a great option for running many Windows applications on your macOS desktop, but it may not work the best for all of them. A virtual machine or VM lets you run a Windows operating system right on your desktop. In that Windows OS, you can run Windows applications just as you would on a Windows PC. 

The drawback to a VM is that the VM itself takes a great deal of resources from your computer. It needs lots of memory, processing power, and disk space to run and if you do not have a high-end, powerful machine, it can really bog your system down and run slowly. 

This will in turn cause the applications you run on the VM, such as Solidworks to run slowly and you may see performance issues. This is not always the case though. Many have reported running Solidworks with little or no problems and if you have a Mac with a good amount of memory, a fast processor, and enough disk space, you may be just fine with the performance.

There are a few options when it comes to VM software such as Parallels and VMware and you may be able to get a free or trial version to test them out and see how they perform on your system.

Method 3: Remote Access

This is my preferred option, but it does require that you have a high-speed internet connection, otherwise, you may see lags and performance issues here also. Generally, if you have a decent internet speed you should be ok.

Remote access allows you to access another computer, server, or cloud-hosted VM right from your desktop. The computer, server, or cloud-hosted VM can be a Windows environment and you can install applications like Solidworks on it.

If you work for a company that has and maintains servers, you may be able to use one of the Windows servers to run your application. This can be a great option for those who have this available. If you do not, you can look a using a cloud-hosted virtual machine.

Cloud-hosted VMs are accessible to anyone with an internet connection. While there are some limited ones that can be used for free, most of them will cost money but you can set up a cloud-hosted VM with a Windows operating system that has plenty of power for running Solidworks.

You can find solutions like this using cloud-hosted services like those provided by Microsoft Azure, or AWS. There are others out there and I think VMware even provides this option as well. Once you have a cloud-hosted VM setup you can install Solidworks there and use it remotely from your Mac.

In my opinion, a cloud-hosted VM provides the most flexibility because you can set it up with the specifications you need to run Solidworks, and if you ever need more power, you can always increase the resources (at an additional cost) to fit your needs.


Below are a few questions that are frequently asked when discussing how to run Solidworks on a Mac.

Why Can’t I just install Solidworks on my Mac and run it?

It’s not as simple as just installing it and running it. Applications designed and developed for Windows do not have an installer that can be run in a Mac environment, so there is no way to install it with the Windows installer. Even if you just copied the application files to your Mac, it would not work either since they are not compiled in the correct format. If you tried to run the application, it would fail on startup or freeze your computer.

Will Solidworks ever have a macOS version?

It’s probably not likely but there’s no way to know for sure. If there was enough demand for it, you never know they might consider developing a version for macOS. As of right now, there are not any known plans to do this but we can’t say that it won’t ever be done.

Can VMs and remote-hosted VMs be used to run other Windows applications?

Yes, they definitely can. The same applies to other Windows applications that you might want to try and run. VMs run on your local machine may not perform as well depending on your system, but you could also try running them on VMs hosted in a cloud environment where you can configure the VM to have the needed resources for the application.


As you have seen above, running Solidworks on your Mac entails somehow running a Windows environment on your macOS. Possible solutions are to use Bootcamp, VM software, or a remote connection to a server or cloud VM.

I hope the information above has helped you to figure out if you can run Solidworks on your Mac. As usual, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you.

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