It’s the Little Things that Matter Most: Shortcut Bars


It’s the little things that matter most. I have heard that saying many times, and I am
really starting to believe that it is true; especially when it comes to
SolidWorks. When SOLIDWORKS puts out a
new release, there are always many powerful new tools that get added. However, there are also lots of smaller, not
as highly recognized, functionality that gets added too. In my experience with SOLIDWORKS and SolidWorks
users, these are the items that excite users (including me!) the most. Yea sure, it is pretty cool that we can drag
geometry and see the 3D update on the fly with instant 3D – pretty
impressive. But we now have a Center
Rectangle tool! I can’t count the number
of users that I have heard get excited about that, and it is just something so
simple.  It seems strange to me that
these smaller items are some of the favorites and major time savers, but that
they tend to get missed by a majority of the users. I think it is because these tools are not as
noticeable. Regular users tend to get
stuck in a routine and don’t notice the options around them. I mentioned this in my blog last month: Copy
with Mates.  So, I want to introduce another new “smaller”
functionality that was added in 2008, that I think a lot of SOLIDWORKS users
are not aware of – the Shortcut Bars. 

The S key on your keyboard is a hotkey to open the Shortcut Bars which were added in SOLIDWORKS 2008.  (I have always used the S key to start a sketch, so I changed my bars to open through Tools>Customize>Keyboard>Others>Shortcut Bar.)


Shortcut Bars are completely customizable toolbars
that appear right next to your cursor any time you hit the S key. The intent of the bars is to minimize mouse
movement. They prevent users from constantly
returning to toolbars far away from where they are working in the graphics area,
just to get a new tool. The Shortcut
Bar is customizable in sketch mode, part mode, assembly mode, and drawing
mode. Here are the default icons you
will find on the bar for those modes respectively:



To customize your Shortcut Bars, get into the mode for
which you want to customize it. For
example, if you want to customize it for your sketch tools, get into a
sketch. Then simply hit the S key on
your keyboard, and it will appear next to your cursor. Right click on it and hit Customize. This will open up the Customize box and put
you on the Commands tab. Simply drag in
any icon you would like to have on the toolbar, and drag off any icon you would
like to remove. You can also change the
size of the bar while in the Customize box by dragging on the sides of the



Try these out for a few days. I bet you will start to see how convenient
they can be!

Leslie Lougheed
Regional Technical Manager
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.