SOLIDWORKS Model Property Tools - Part1 - Measure

This month, we are going to take a deep dive into the SOLIDWORKS Model Property tools. These tools are part of the standard SOLIDWORKS tools, most of which can be found on the Evaluate toolbar. The 4 main tools that we want to focus on in this series are: Measure, Mass Properties, Section Properties, and Check.


When we refer to the model properties, we are not referring to the Custom Properties of a file. We are looking at some of the physical parameters that can be evaluated in a 3D model.



The Measure Tool found on the Evaluate toolbar allows users to check distances, angles, radii, and size between points, surfaces, and planes. This tool is available in parts, assemblies, and drawings.



SolidWorks The first icon on the measure dialog box will allow you to change how you measure when circles or arcs are involved. You have the options of selecting Center to Center, Minimum Distance, Maximum Distance, or Custom Distance. The Custom Distance will allow you to set the parameters for each arc individually.


Custom Distance Options



SolidWorks The second icon on the measure dialog box will allow you to change your unit and precision options. By default the tool is set to use your document settings. If you change the setting to Use Custom Settings, you will them be able to over ride the document settings to any units you want (for the measure tool only). You also have the option to set up dual units so that you can see 2 unit measurements on the display screen.


What effect do the three "Accuracy level" settings, in the Mass/Section Property Options (Measure & Mass Properties tools), have on the calculated results?

These settings do not determine the accuracy of the calculated results; rather they affect the amount of effort/precision that goes into computing the results. As a result, it is possible experience a performance slow down when selecting the middle or higher setting.

The results given with the default, lower setting will satisfy most users. If a higher precision calculation is needed, or there are doubts about the precision that the default, lower setting gives, then select the middle or higher setting to obtain a more precise calculation.

Typically the higher setting is chosen for thin-walled, complex geometry.


SolidWorks The third icon on the measure dialog box will allow you to show the X,Y,Z measurements on screen. If this option is not selected you will only get the straight line distance between the 2 selected entities. If this option is selected then you will see the Delta X, Delta Y, and Delta Z measurements along with the minimum distance.


SolidWorks The fouth icon on the measure dialog box allows you to toggle on the point to point measurement function. If this option is turned on then the measurement will occur between the selected point (where the cursor is clicked) on the model.


SolidWorks The fifth icon on the measure dialog box allows you to toggle on projected measurements. By default this setting is set to none so you will not get any projected measurement readouts.


When you choose the screen option under the projections you will see a few additional measurements appear in the dialog box. You will get a Normal Distance and a Projected Distance. The "Projection" value is the length of the vector as it is projected onto the flat screen (this and the "Normal" is the length of the vector into the screen. Alternatively, a Plane/Face can be selected.   In this case, the Projection and Normal are calculated relative to the selected plane/face.   

If the selected items to measure are 2 parallel faces/planes, 2 parallel edges/lines or a face/plane and an edge/line which is parallel to it, the "Normal Distance" is reported.  This distance represents the shortest distance between the 2 items. When the Normal Distance is available, additional temporary graphics are also displayed representing this vector.


SolidWorks The Sixth icon on the measure dialog box is your measurement history. This will allow you to view all of the measurements that have been made in the current session of SOLIDWORKS, without having to make the same selections again.



SolidWorks The Seventh icon on the measure dialog box allows you to create a sensor. This will take you directly into the sensor command for measurements. Sensors allow you to set up alerts to have SOLIDWORKS monitor key dimension and display a message if the dimension no longer meets the specified parameters.


The alert notifications can be set for the following conditions:

If the value….

  • Is greater than
  • Is less than
  • Is exactly
  • Is not greater than
  • Is not less than
  • Is not exactly
  • Is between
  • Is not between



We hope this has given you a better understanding of the capability available in the Measure command. Please check back for the rest of the series as we continue to take a deep dive into the SOLIDWORKS assembly validation tools that are available and how they work.  Please check back to the CATI Blog as the Dedicated Support Team will continue posting new series of articles every month that go further into the details of many of the SOLIDWORKS tools. All of these articles will be stored in the category of Daily Dose…..of SOLIDWORKS Support and links to each article with their release date are listed below:

Computer Aided Technology, Inc.

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