Anyone who has been around any application/ software for a period of time will discovers better, quicker ways to do things. Along the way you pick up a few shortcuts. Anything to reduce moving that mouse all over the screen. Some of these you are shown, some you stumble across and some, you for just some reason, happen to know (for no other reason than you do!)
SOLIDWORKS is certainly no exception! Whilst there are new features being added every year, there are also a few “hidden” features and keyboard short cuts that are not overly promoted. Let’s have a look at a few I’ve discovered along the way!
Copy and Paste Sketch from DraftSight
Whilst SOLIDWORKS provides a process of bringing in dxf/dwg files into a new part via INSERT>DWG/DXF, this can accessed once you start a new part. However you can select and Copy (Ctrl+C) a sketch from within DraftSight. Whilst this might be commonly known, what I recently discovered was that you do not have to select a plane and start a new sketch in SOLIDWORKS. If you start a new Part and Paste (Ctrl+V) it automatically Pastes the sketch to the Front Plane! It also Pastes the sketch to the same relationship from the Origin.
Which leads us to a few Tricks on how to Move the Sketch
As sketches SHOULD be fully constrained you most likely would be looking to move the sketch to the Origin. When the sketch is inserted it has no constraints, so you just can’t grab it and drag to move it. (Try it and see what happens) SOLIDWORKS does provide the Move Entities tool but there is a shorter way. Select (enclose) the sketch, or select one entity and use Ctrl+A to select all.
Hover over a corner and Ctrl+LMB (Left Mouse Button) and Drag whilst continuing to hold down Ctrl+LMB. As many would know this Copies the Sketch. As indicated by the + sign. However if you release the LMB first it will just move the sketch, if you release the Ctrl key first it copies.
I did make a discovery when looking at these shortcuts. When you Paste the sketch into the part the 2D to 3D Tool bar opens on the Left. That once used to annoy me! I would select and turn off! If I want a Tool Bar I’ll turn it on! RIGHT. Well maybe wrong 😦 SOLIDWORKS is smarter than that (or me)! Because on that tool bar is a tool – Align Sketch. It you LMB a corner, of the sketch entities and select the Align Sketch tool the sketch jumps to the Origin.
Need to change a sketch to Construction Lines, select and Alt+C. Change a construction line to a sketch entity, select and Alt+C
Every selected the wrong type of rectangle, circle or slot select? You can scroll through the various types by using the “A” Key.An interesting one! A hidden Feature! One you wont find on the tool Bar. Every had a Text you wanted to modify, whether it is because it intersects it’s self or perhaps you are wanting to incorporate it into a logo! Edit the TEXT select and RMB. On the context toolbar is the Dissolve Sketch Text. The text will then be converted to a Sketch entity. Selecting a Face then the Convert Entities tool will convert the outer edges of the face. But what if you want the inner edges?
Select a Face and then Ctrl select one inner edge, then use the Convert Entities too. This will now convert the inner edges to sketch entities.Every placed a fillet on the wrong edge? Drag the Fillet from the Feature Tree onto the edge you require and the Fillet will move. Ctrl and Drag the Fillet and this will copy/ create a new filletLet me embarrass myself and confess to only discovering this not all that long ago! Full Round Fillet. LMB a face, LMB the next box, LMB a face, LMB the next box, LMB a face! Well yes! You would think that the Tab key would scroll to the next box, that’s a standard Windows command. But NO! LMB the face, before moving the mouse, RMB the same face, repeat on the next face!
Ctrl+MMD (Middle Mouse Button)/Scroll Wheel to PAN
(Middle Mouse Button)/Scroll Wheel to ROTATE
Shift+MMD (Middle Mouse Button)/Scroll Wheel to ZOOM
And Finally my two favorite features which I most commonly use with Assemblies. I have covered these with posts in the past, but well worth a revisit!
Hover over Part and TAB to Hide Part. Hover over where the Part was and TAB+Shift to Show – A post from 2012 when I first discovered
Replace Component – A detailed look at Replace Component
These are by no means a complete list of short cuts and tricks in SOLIDWORKS! Have a few up your sleeve, let me know and share with other!