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Comparing 3D CAD Solutions: Solid Edge vs Creo

The latest in our posts comparing 3D CAD solutions, take a look at how Solid Edge and Creo stack up in the CAD, CAM, CAE, PDM and 2D drawing options.

Searching for the “right” CAD tool? There are plenty of solutions on the market, but many systems are geared toward specific industries, creating inherent drawbacks to the software. 

We’ve examined how Solid Edge stacks up with Autodesk’s Inventor, and 10 ways Solid Edge stands out over SolidWorks. Today, we’ll study how Solid Edge compares to another 3D CAD solution: Creo. Let’s take a look at Creo by asking some basic questions, and comparing it to Solid Edge. 

Does Creo Go Beyond 3D CAD?

Creo was designed as a 3D CAD product primarily for mechanical design, and it’s strong in that department. But Creo’s CAM and CAE, though integrated, don’t offer the kinds of dynamic solutions that are seen with other solutions in the market. This is mostly because Creo was originally developed as a design tool, and that’s where its strength still lies. 

What about Solid EdgeSolid Edge is far more than a CAD tool, as we’ve detailed in covering the Solid Edge Portfolio. As the industry leader in designing sheet metal and with the ability to create wire harnesses with ease—just for example—Solid Edge has plenty of offerings for whatever you’re designing. 

And, if you need to be able to integrate CAM, Solid Edge has easy interoperability with CAM Express. So, if you’re working on the shop floor and get last-minute changes from a customer, it’s no problem—you can update your CAM and Solid Edge files with a few simple clicks. 

There’s also CAE capabilities, thanks to integration with FloEFD for heat and fluid analysis, plus Solid Edge Simulation for stress analysis. Both these tools are fully integrated. If you’re working on complicated computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations, you no longer have to import or export files into a separate tool—you can run easy CFD analysis right in your CAD! 

Sheet metal modeling in Solid Edge.

CFD simulation with FloEFD in Solid Edge.

Does Creo Offer 2D CAD?

If you’re looking to complete anything easily in 2D in Creo, think again. Their 2D CAD option is unintuitive—remember, Creo (originally Pro/E) was developed first as a 3D CAD tool. A drawing option wasn’t added until much later.  

Can you create 2D drawings in Solid Edge? Yes! You have the option to create 2D drawings, and you can also translate your 2D drawings and data over into a 3D environment. This allows you to make simple, quick sketches into full-blown parts. 

How Does Creo Work as a Comprehensive PLM Solution?

Windchill, the Product Lifecycle Management software offered by Creo parent company PTC, integrates with Creo for CAD management. It also allows you to work in a multi-CAD environment, but it doesn’t provide the comprehensive resources that you see elsewhere. As a core solution, PTC is focused on the Internet of Things (IoT) rather than offering a true PLM solution. PTC has not integrated all of Windchill’s capabilities into a cohesive solution. 

Solid Edge and Teamcenter integrate, right? Actually, Siemens’ Teamcenter is a multi-CAD solution, it integrates with plenty of CAD tools and it makes managing design data a breeze. But, it has a strong, native integration with Solid Edge. Siemens PLM is committed to offering products that are true PLM solutions, so you can trust the integrated capabilities and look forward to future product iterations.

Can Solid Edge Open and Use Non-Native CAD files?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re transferring parts over from SolidWorks, Creo, Inventor or another solution, you can still use those parts in Solid Edge, and they will be easily edited with Synchronous Technology like native CAD files. 

How Does Creo Model?

Creo offers a pair of applications that change how you model in your CAD system—Creo Parametric and Creo Direct. Creo Parametric is history-based modeling with direct and freeform modeling capability. Creo Direct is history-free direct modeling that enables you to interact directly with 3D geometry. But these are two separate products—Creo Direct is only offered as an add-on solution. 

But Solid Edge already offers those options, combined! With Solid Edge’s Synchronous Technology, you have the best of both worlds and you don’t have to make a choice. It offers the simplicity of direct modeling with the control you have in parametric design. Of course, should you choose to function with more history-based modeling, Solid Edge offers that—and you still have a feature tree, for greater flexibility and control. 


Your CAD program is at the heart of everything you do, and it should be chosen wisely. Today, CAD tools can do so much more than just design. As a 3D CAD solution, Creo works well for mechanical design. 

But, as a comprehensive solution for CAD, CAM, CAE, PDM and 2D drawing, Solid Edge gives you a selection of tools that can’t be topped. 

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