Creo Upward Compatibility: Will Your CAD File Work in the Future?

Written by: Cat McClintock

Read Time: 3 min

Have you ever tried to hang on to a seat of really old software?

If you have valuable intellectual property, it might seem like a good idea. Why lose data to new software that isn't upward compatible? That is, software that can’t open files created in previous versions.

For product designers who use CAD, upward compatibility matters. They rely heavily on past years’ models to serve as the foundation for this year’s work. Reusing designs saves money and is key to meeting time-to-market goals. It also ensures quality as parts that performed well in the past are incorporated into new products.

Which may explain why one of our former colleagues has maintained an old workstation with a seat of Pro/ENGINEER 7.

How long ago was Pro/ENGINEER 7?

If you’re reading this in 2020, it was 29 years ago.

At PTC, we like to assure users that Creo supports upward compatibility and you don’t need to worry about today’s designs failing in future versions. But when our former colleague told us he still had Pro/ENGINEER 7, we were curious to see if data from the 20th century technology remained viable.

Creo Meets Pro/Engineer

So, our colleague fired up the old system, created a model in Pro/ENGINEER 7, and then tried to open the same model in the most recent version of Creo. Here’s what it looked like:

In Pro/ENGINEER, he created a part.

Part creation in Pro/ENGINEER 7.0.

Then added shading and modified a dimension.

Adding shade to new part in old Pro/ENGINEER 7.0 system.

In Creo 7, he tried to open the file.

Opening legacy Pro/ENGINEER 7.0 part in Creo 7.0.


Then changed some dimensions.

Editing dimensions on legacy part in Creo 7.0.

Next, he modified geometry.

Modifying geometry on legacy part in Creo 7.0.

Nice, but he could have done that on his old system. So, next he tried to ….

Create a multibody part.

  Multibody part created from legacy model in Creo 7.0 

Which was definitely not available in 1991.

Watch a video of the effort and appreciate how far we’ve all come:


Give Your Models the Lasting Future They Deserve

Note that turning a model built on a 30-year-old platform into a multibody part wasn’t a slight of hand.

As a parametric model loaded into Creo 7.0, the legacy design acts like any other modern model. Run real-time simulations on it, add MBD annotations, validate for 3D printing, or even optimize it using artificial intelligence and generative design.

The takeaway?

No matter when a design was created, you’ll be able to count on Creo to work with it for years to come.

Creo 7.0: The Future of How You Design.

Tags: CAD

About the Author

Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock contributes to the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC. She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years, working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.