Release notes 0.20

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Revision as of 20:50, 30 December 2022 by Roy 043 (talk | contribs)

FreeCAD 0.20 was released on 14 June 2022, get it from the Download page. This page lists all new features and changes.

Older FreeCAD release notes can be found in the Feature list.

Model of a 775 DC motor by user "jimmihenry", see Users Showcase.
The model was made completely with the weekly development snapshots of FreeCAD 0.20. The pictures for the animated graphic were made with the FreeCAD macro Screen Wiki. The animated GIF itself was made using GIMP. For the release notes it was cropped and resized using ezgif.


We are happy that the KiCAD project, through the KiCAD services corp., sponsored us the domain Now all FreeCAD websites are available under and

Bug/Issue tracker

The FreeCAD bug tracker was moved to GitHub:

Note: Only bug reports with a prior forum discussion will be considered. Reports without this will be closed.

New help system

The help system was rewritten and upgraded to display information directly from our Wiki. The system now relies on the Help Addon. When you first use the Help tool or the What's this? tool you will be asked to install it.

User interface

The navigation cube was reworked:
  • There are now edge faces to rotate the 3D view 45°.
  • A new preference Rotate to nearest has been introduced. If selected, the 3D view is rotated to the nearest most logical position, based on the current orientation of the cube, when a cube face is clicked. Else clicking a face will always result in the same rotation. To experience the difference try the same click sequence as in the animation with and without the option Rotate to nearest.
  • By clicking the new round button in the top right corner you can quickly switch to the backview of the current scene.
  • The size of the cube can now be adjusted with the Cube size preference.

Forum discussion, Pull request #4502 .

Tooltips now display the command name in the title, making it easier for new users to look for help. At the end of the tooltip the "internal" command name is added in parentheses: (Std_WhatsThis). This is also the name of the page that documents the command in the Wiki. Forum discussion, Pull request #4978 .
The new Std UserEditMode command allows the user to choose an edit mode that will be used when an object is double-clicked in the Tree view. Click the image on the left so see an animation of the selection. If a selected edit mode is not applicable, the object's default edit mode is used instead. Pull request #5110.
The Tree view context menu has the new entry Add dependent objects to selection.
Forum discussion, Pull request #4133.

In the image the Hole001 object was selected and then its
dependencies were added to the selection via the context menu.

The new tool Section Cut allows to get non-hollow and also persistent cuts of parts and assemblies.
Forum discussion, Pull request #4118.

Further user interface improvements

Core system and API


When using Edit → Copy or Edit → Duplicate selection for an object with dependencies there is a new Use Original Selections button in the object selection dialog. Click this button to copy/duplicate only the objects you originally selected prior to opening the dialog, ignoring dependencies and ignoring any actions you might have taken while the dialog was open, such as checking or unchecking some of the checkboxes. The effect is the same as if you had unchecked all the checkboxes next to the objects you did not originally select and pressed OK. Note: special care should be taken when copying/duplicating TechDraw Pages. It is recommended to also copy/duplicate all children of the Page (Templates, Views, Dimensions, etc.). Otherwise changes to one Page will also impact the other page. For example, deleting a View on one Page also removes it from the other Page, or deleting a page will also remove all its content from the other Page.
A new type of add-on called a Preference Pack was added, allowing a subset of a user preferences file (user.cfg) to be saved, distributed, and easily applied by other users. Preference Packs can be use to distribute "Themes," for example, by allowing a developer to include both a Qt stylesheet for widgets as well as a set of other colors and styles for items in the user interface that cannot be set using a stylesheet (e.g. text colors in the Python editor or report view, etc.). Anything that can be configured via a user.cfg file can be set using a Preference Pack. Forum discussion
The "Workbenches" preference panel was modified to support the ability to "autoload" workbenches on FreeCAD startup.

On Linux, the default location of FreeCAD's configuration, data and cache files was changed to follow the XDG Base Directory Specification. Forum discussion. Here is a comparison of the old and new locations:

Description Old location New location Defaults to
Configuration files $HOME/.FreeCAD $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/FreeCAD $HOME/.config/FreeCAD
Data files $HOME/.FreeCAD $XDG_DATA_HOME/FreeCAD $HOME/.local/share/FreeCAD
Cache files /tmp $XDG_CACHE_HOME/FreeCAD $HOME/.cache/FreeCAD

If you wish to keep using the old locations you may start FreeCAD with the --keep-deprecated-paths option.


FreeCAD received many new Python API functions:

New Python API

  • ChFi2d_AnaFilletAlgoPy: An analytical algorithm for the calculation of fillets. commit f94ab3ec
  • ChFi2d_ChamferAPIPy: Algorithm that creates a chamfer between two linear edges. commit 30f8015e7
  • Circle2dPy::getCircleCenter: Gets the circle center defined by three points. commit 3dc91fa2
  • ComplexGeoDataPy::applyRotation: Applies an additional rotation to the placement. commit 32592de8
  • ComplexGeoDataPy::applyTranslation: Applies an additional translation to the placement. commit 32592de8
  • ComplexGeoDataPy::countSubElements: Returns the number of elements of a type. commit 32592de8
  • ComplexGeoDataPy::getElementTypes: Returns a list of element types. commit 32592de8
  • ComplexGeoDataPy::getFaces: Returns a tuple of points and triangles with a given accuracy. commit 32592de8
  • ComplexGeoDataPy::getLines: Returns a tuple of points and lines with a given accuracy. commit 32592de8
  • ComplexGeoDataPy::getLinesFromSubelement: Returns vertexes and lines from a sub-element. commit 32592de8
  • ComplexGeoDataPy::getPoints: Returns a tuple of points and normals with a given accuracy. commit 32592de8
  • ComplexGeoDataPy::transformGeometry: Applies a transformation to the underlying geometry. commit 32592de8
  • DocumentPy::clearDocument: Clears the whole document. commit 526dc1a0
  • DocumentPy::getFileName: For a regular document it returns its file name property. For a temporary document it returns its transient directory. commit 526dc1a0
  • DocumentPy::getProgramVersion: Gets the program version that a project file was created with. commit 526dc1a0
  • DocumentPy::isClosable: Checks if the document can be closed. commit 526dc1a0
  • DocumentPy::isSaved: Checks if the document is saved. commit 526dc1a0
  • DocumentPy::isTouched: Checks if any object is in touched state. commit 526dc1a0
  • DocumentPy::mustExecute: Checks if any object must be recomputed. commit 526dc1a0
  • DocumentPy::purgeTouched: Purges the touched state of all objects. commit 526dc1a0
  • DocumentPy::setClosable: Sets a flag that allows or forbids to close a document. commit 526dc1a0
  • HLRBRep_AlgoPy: To access Part's hidden line removal (HLR). commit 73a98671
  • HLRBRep_PolyAlgoPy: To access Part's poly hidden line removal (HLR). commit ea85cf5e
  • HLRToShapePy: To access Part's hidden line removal (HLR). commit 73a98671
  • PolyHLRToShapePy: To access Part's poly hidden line removal (HLR). commit ea85cf5e
  • PrecisionPy: To access the precision defined by the OpenCascade kernel. commit 20b86e55
  • PropertyContainerPy::setDocumentationOfProperty: Sets the documentation string of a dynamic property of this class. commit 8cf3cf33
  • PropertyContainerPy::setGroupOfProperty: Set the name of the group of a dynamic property. commit 8cf3cf33
  • PythonWorkbenchPy::reloadActive: Reload the active workbench after changing menus or toolbars. commit 0bbc253d
  • RotationPy::fromEuler: Sets the Euler angles of a rotation or gets the Euler angles in a given sequence for a rotation. commit 951a0be9
  • RotationPy::toEulerAngles: Gets the Euler angles in a given sequence for this rotation.. commit c1454dfb
  • UnitsApi::sToNumber: Converts a quantity or float to a string. commit befbd95d
  • View3DInventorPy::getCornerCrossSize: Returns current corner axis cross size. commit 9d15df29
  • View3DInventorPy::setPopupMenuEnabled: Enables popup menu. commit 9def811a
  • View3DInventorPy::isCornerCrossVisible: Returns current corner axis cross visibility. commit 9d15df29
  • View3DInventorPy::isPopupMenuEnabled: Returns if popup menu is enabled. commit 9def811a
  • View3DInventorPy::projectPointToLine: Projects the given 2d point to a line. commit b6527a70
  • View3DInventorPy::setCornerCrossSize: Defines corner axis cross size. commit 9d15df29
  • View3DInventorPy::setCornerCrossVisible: Defines corner axis cross visibility. commit 9d15df29

Changed Python API

  • MeshObject::trim(base, normal) was changed to MeshPy::trimByPlane(base, normal): Trims the mesh with a given plane. commit 837de28e

Addon Manager

The Addon Manager was modified to support the distribution of Preference Packs, and to display information found in an addon's metadata. The Addon Manager also includes improved support for Addons whose source code is located at several different git hosting locations. Networking support was improved to provide more robust handling of SSL connections and support for proxies requiring authentication. Support was added for automatically adding macro buttons to the toolbar after installing, for disabling Addons without removing them, and for switching which git branch of an Addon is checked out. Finally, the user interface was modified to improve searching and display of different list filters.

Arch Workbench

SketchArch workbench

With the Attach Feature it is now possible to place Windows and Equipment parametrically and intuitively in relation to Walls. To use this feature the experimental external SketchArch Workbench must be installed. Add-on and ReadMe on Github (Not yet available in the Add-on Manager).

Forum discussion

New properties for Arch Structure objects:
  • BasePerpendicularToTool: it creates a copy of the Base (extrusion profile) at the beginning of the Tool (extrusion path) and places it perpendicular to the first edge of the tool. It is the same as attaching the Base with MapMode=NormalToEdge, but it is automatic and allows to reuse the same Base object for multiple Structures. When BasePerpendicularToTool = True, more properties control the placement of the Base relative to the Tool axis. They are shown in the attached image.
  • ToolOffsetFirst and ToolOffsetLast: extend/trim the Structure at the start and end respectively (the real length of the Structure is available in the ComputedLength read-only property).
  • BaseRotation: rotate the Base (the rotation is around the Base's "(0,0)" point which is the center for Arch Profiles, the origin for Sketches and usually the first point for Draft Wires).
  • BaseOffsetX and BaseOffsetY: move the Base (extrusion profile).
  • BaseMirror: mirror the Base (extrusion profile).

A new command Create multiple Arch Structure was also added. It uses the first selected object as a Base, and creates Arch Structures objects for every Edge of the other selected objects. Then, the properties of individual Structure objects can be adjusted in the Property editor. This command was added for workflow with a master Sketch (there is risk of topological naming problem unless you create non-parametric copy of the master Sketch or use Realthunder's version).

Support for 2D data such as linework, hatches, texts and dimensions is now enabled in IFC import and export, which contributes to making the IFC format more and more suitable for traditional 2D CAD work. A similar effort is being made in BlenderBIM. More 2D workflow improvements are documented in this forum thread.

Forum discussion, Pull request #3229

Draft Workbench

  • A Global checkbox was added to the task panel of many drafting commands. Checking it allows input of coordinates in the global coordinate system even if the working plane is not aligned with the global XY plane.
  • The Draft Hatch command was introduced. It creates hatches on the faces of a selected object using patterns from AutoCAD PAT files.
  • Work on the Draft SetStyle command, still in progress in FreeCAD version 0.19, was completed.
  • A double-click edit option was added for Draft Texts. It opens the same edit task panel used when creating a text.
  • For Draft Dimensions the arch ViewUnit Override for imperial architectural dimensions was introduced.
  • Draft Shape2DView objects now have an DataAuto Update property. Setting it to false can be useful if there are many Draft Shape2DViews in a document or if they are complex.

Further Draft improvements

FEM Workbench

The new Z88 settings and their default values
The Z88 solver is now fully usable. You can specify the solver method and change the memory settings. The new default values allow you to perform also complex simulations directly.

commit d035bbc1ca and following

Result of a linear buckling analysis.
Click on the image to see the animation.
It is now possible to perform buckling analyses using the Calculix solver. Pull request #4379

Effect of Mesh Size From Curvature; left: set to 12, right: deactivated
There is a new property for the Gmsh mesher. The number of mesh elements per times the radius of the curvature can be specified. The default is 12 and to get a finer mesh at small corners or holes, this value can be increased for better results. This feature requires Gmsh 4.8 or newer.

Forum discussion, Pull request #4596

Effect of the recombination algorithm; left: using Simple, right: using Simple full-quad
FreeCAD now allows to select an algorithm as well as 3D mesh recombination for the Gmsh mesher. For more details about mesh element recombination see FEM MeshGmshFromShape.

Pull request #4706

Further FEM improvements



Improved support for NASTRAN GRID elements

The Mesh import tool now supports the high-precision "GRID*" element. The standard-precision "GRID" element was also improved, now supporting both space-delimited numeric input as well as fixed-field-width input, per the NASTRAN95 format documentation.

Further Mesh improvements

Fixed false negatives during self-intersection tests when facets are coplanar: Pull request #5002.

OpenSCAD Workbench

Interoperability with OpenSCAD has been improved, adding support for several operations missing from earlier versions (linear extrude with rotations, rotational extrusions). Several operations are modified to provide improved FreeCAD object equivalents, particularly for twisted extrusions. Surface generation from discrete data was modified to give more OpenSCAD-like results, rather than splined surfaces.

New options were added to support running either FreeCAD, OpenSCAD, or both, in sandboxed environments such as AppImages and Snap packages: data can now be transferred to and from OpenSCAD via the standard temporary directory mechanism, via a user-specified temp directory that both executables have access to, or new to OpenSCAD 2021.1, via a "stdout pipe" mechanism, bypassing temporary files entirely.

The following options were added to the task panel of the Add OpenSCAD element feature:
Load    - load a scad file
Save    - save a scad file
Refresh - Update FreeCAD view
Clear   - Clear text input

A new text box gives feedback about OpenSCAD errors.

Part Workbench

Tapered extrusion of a sketch with an inner structure.
A tapered extrusion of inner structures now creates usable results. Previously, inner structures were extruded as if they were stand-alone and not part of a structure.

Pull request #5367

Further Part improvements

PartDesign Workbench

Padding along an edge from the model.
Click on the image to see the animation.
There is a new option to Pad along the direction of an edge in the 3D model.

Pull request #4685

When Distance and Angle is specified in the Chamfer tool and faces are selected, the distance will be applied along the selected faces. Likewise if two distances are specified then Size 1 will be applied along the selected face.

This behaviour can be swapped to the other face using the flip direction button. Forum discussion, Pull request #5039

A loft with multiple sections, the final one is a vertex.
It is now possible to create an Additive or Subtractive Loft, or an Additive or Subtractive Pipe towards, or from, a Vertex of either a sketch or a body. This allows to create pyramids for example.
Note: Vertices in sketches are created as construction geometry. To use them as endpoints of lofts, you must first change them to normal geometry.

Pull request #5170 (for lofts), Pull request #5193 (for pipes)

A tapered pocket within a non-tapered pad.
The dialog for Pad and Pocket offers to set a taper angle for the extrusion.

Pull request #5357

Pocketing along different directions.
Click on the image to see the animation.
It is now possible to specify the direction for the Pocket extrusion.

Pull request #5164

The dialog to edit Cylinders (additive and subtractive) now allows to specify an angle relative to the normal of the chosen attachment plane. This way one can create skew cylinders. Pull request #4708
The Helix feature has the new mode Height-Turns-Growth to create flat spirals.

Forum thread Pull request #4590

A single Pad and a single Revolution with nested profiles. The base block is only there to ensure that the part is a single solid.
All PartDesign features that can extrude sketches can now handle sketches with nested profiles that form islands. For example it is possible to Revolve a sketch consisting of 3 nested circles with the same center point.
Note: Extruding nested profiles only works if the result is still a single body.

Pull request #6381

Effect of the new option Length along sketch normal.
Click on the image to see the animation.
There is a new option to Pad a certain length along the direction. The length is either measured along the sketch normal or along the custom direction.

Forum discussion, Pull request #3893

The Hole feature can now model true threads.

Forum thread Pull request #4274

Further PartDesign improvements

Path Workbench

Plot module

  • FreeCAD now provides the Plot module by default, so any other module/workbench may create plots without requiring external tools Pull request #4971.

Sketcher Workbench

New Split function to split existing lines or arcs.

Forum discussion Pull request #4420

New Rounded rectangle tool to create rectangles with rounded corners.

Forum discussion Main Pull request #4835

New Centered rectangle tool to define rectangles via a center point.

Main commit

New Radiam function to automatically assign weight on B-spline pole, diameter on complete circle, or radius on arc. Support multi-selection as diameter/radius tools.

Forum discussion Main Pull request #4855

New Remove Axes Alignment constraint tool to remove axes alignment while trying to preserve the constraint relationship of the selection.

Main commit

Slots can be constrained horizontally or vertically either by snapping it manually with the Ctrl key, or by using the Auto constraints option of Sketcher.

Pull request #5200

New Insert Knot tool to insert a knot in an existing B-spline.

Pull request #5311 and Pull request #6356

Further Sketcher improvements

Spreadsheet Workbench

The workbench now has Preferences. They are used by the Spreadsheet Import and Spreadsheet Export commands.

Pull request #5073

It is now possible to setup configuration tables. This way one can define different parameter sets for the same part.

Part of Pull request #2862.

Cells can now be bound to other cells of the same or a different spreadsheet.

Part of Pull request #2862.

Further Spreadsheet improvements

  • In the row/column context-menu it is now possible to specify the position when inserting rows/columns. Pull request #4704.
  • Import XLSX (used by Std Import): Added support for floor and ceil functions. Pull request #5015.
  • Improved navigation using the Tab and Enter keys.
  • Improved interface for cutting and pasting blocks of cells.

TechDraw Workbench

More than 30 new tools, so-called Extensions, are now available. They offer new cosmetic features to enhance drawings.

Further TechDraw improvements

  • It is now possible to Share and Move Views between pages.
  • When there are several Pages and a View, ProjectionGroup etc. is added, there is now a dialog to ask to what page the view should be added. Pull request #5309.
  • A new format specifier %w was added to print the given number of digits after dot and remove any trailing zeros. Pull request #5401.
  • The new %w format specifier is now the default. And the format specifier preference was moved from the Advanced tab to the Dimension tab. Pull request #6504.
  • Flipped diagonal hatch was added for the Geometric Hatch tool. Pull request #6429.
  • There is a new option to show a grid in a page. Several related preferences have been introduced. Pull request #6465.
  • The unit display in dimensions was fixed according to standards. The degree symbol is always present for the dimension value and tolerances, other units only appear if ShowUnits is set. The unit appears immediately after the dimension value unless there is a tolerance, then it appears after the tolerance. Pull request #6581


Qt WebEngine is now considered the default option instead of Qt WebKit.

External workbenches

Note: these are the new workbenches created in this development cycle, or older workbenches that received updates. See external workbenches for more workbenches that can be installed, and which cover a wide variety of topics. If you want to see your workbench added, join the forum and present your code.


Several features to view, inspect and edit existing constraints were added. One can now e.g. highlight constraints with a label, suppress a constraint temporarily or run the solver only for a particular constraint.

For more information see the constraint handling description.


The Assembly3 Workbench is available (as of March 2022) through the AddonManager. This makes for easy installation and management of the external dependencies of the workbench.

Assembly3 is used to create assemblies of different bodies contained in a single file or in multiple documents leveraging the full power of FreeCAD’s Link system. Learn more about Links in this video presentation from Realthunder.

Assembly3 Workbench uses SolveSpace as it’s solver.

Extensive documentation can be found at the main FreeCAD Assembly3 wiki page or Realthunder's GitHub Assembly3 wiki

Main features:
  • Dynamic/interactive solver: move parts with the mouse while the solver constrains the motion.
  • Links: use one single part multiple times in an assembly.
  • External links: allows usage of parts from external documents.
  • Hierarchical assemblies: permits the creation of sub assemblies.
  • Assembly freeze: assemblies that are not required to remain dynamic can be excluded from calculations and are considered fixed geometry by the asm3 solver.
  • And much more.


Different length of a beam as variant.
New feature to add variants. These are links to a part with varying parameters, meaning that you can insert the same part several times, and adjust the parameters of each instance. For more info see this forum thread.

An animated assembly.
Click on the image to see the animation.
Animations can be exported to the MP4 and GIF format.


The FCGear Workbench received a couple of improvements:

  • For involute gears, the outside (aka tip) and root diameter are exposed as properties (details).
  • Gear objects are now attachable (details).
  • Gear objects can now be used as additive features in PartDesign Bodies (details).
  • The creation of gear objects now appears in the undo stack (details).


  • The Plot module has been stripped from the Plot Workbench since it is now provided by FreeCAD.


The Ship Workbench is back to life!


Since this release FreeCAD can only be compiled using Qt 5.x and Python 3.x. The lowest supported Python version is 3.6.9 according to this forum thread.

To compile FreeCAD see the instructions for Windows, Linux and MacOS.

The supported operating systems are:

  • Windows 7, 8, 10 and 11
  • Linux Ubuntu Bionic Beaver (18.04) and Focal Fossa (20.04)
  • MacOS: 10.12 Sierra or newer

Known Limitations

32-bit Windows

Since FreeCAD 0.19 we no longer officially support 32-bit Windows. FreeCAD might work on these systems, but no support is given.

Remote Desktop under Windows

Depending on the OpenGL graphics capabilities of a computer, it might be that one encounters a crash when running FreeCAD via remote desktop. To fix this upgrade your OpenGL driver. Only if this doesn't help:

  • Download this OpenGL library for 64bit Windows and extract it.
  • Rename the DLL file to opengl32sw.dll and copy it to the bin subfolder of FreeCAD's installation folder (overwrite the existing DLL there).

MacOS: Start Workbench shows blank page

If the Start Workbench shows only a blank page, you must enable the option Use software OpenGL in the menu Edit → Preferences → Display.