SOLIDWORKS – Sketch Settings

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With my time on SOLIDWORKS product support, I have come across many user’s settings when remoted into their machine. I always seem to find out that most users don’t dabble into the SOLIDWORKS sketch settings. A lot of people like SOLIDWORKS “Out of the Box”, but there are a few settings in there that we might want to change to make sketching a little easier. I’ll go over my favorite two options that I always make sure to check on after an install.

Auto-rotate view normal to sketch plane on sketch creation and sketch edit

The first option that I like to make sure is turned on is “Auto-rotate view normal to sketch plane on sketch creation and sketch edit”. This is self-explanatory but let me try and explain a little further. With this toggled OFF, when I make a sketch on a surface or plane, the view will not go “Normal to” by default. You will have to hit the view normal button or the shortcut keys “Ctrl+8”. That always bothered me until I found this option. With it toggled ON, every time I make a new sketch OR Edit a sketch (The last part was an enhancement in 2018) my view will rotate Normal to by default. Saves a few steps for me and I like this workflow better.

Enable on screen numeric input on entity creation – create dimension only when value is entered

My favorite option that I like turned on is a little more two folded as I must have the second option also selected to make sure sketching works the way I like.

With only “Enable on screen numeric input on entity creation” you will get something like this:

It allows you to see how long your line is, but if you put in a value of 3 it will make the line 3 units long, but it will not put in the dimension for you. This is where the second option “Create dimension only when value is entered” comes into play. When I type 3, it will give the line 3 units and dimension the line for me. Notice I can keep going with my line or hit “Esc” to turn off the command. This saves me quite a few mouse clicks and time.

If I don’t enter a value and just click, no dimension is added and I’ll have to come back later and fully define it with relations or another dimension.

One big trick is trying not to move your mouse when you are typing in a value as the line and value are still very fluid. I take my hand off my mouse and use the same hand to type in the value once the direction of the line is in the correct orientation. This method works pretty well with people as they become more familiar with the new option. Another thing to look out for is corded mice as the cord can push the mouse just a little bit once you take your hand off. This takes a little bit of practice but give it a shot and see if it enhances your SOLIDWORKS experience.

Craig Maurer
Applications Engineer
Computer Aided Technology, LLC