Speed up Selections with these SOLIDWORKS Selection Tools

solidworks selection filter blogAre you having selection issues in SOLIDWORKS? No matter what you try, you cannot select a model edge or vertex? Do you spend a lot of time selecting many items over and over again? Sound familiar? There is an easy way. In this SOLIDWORKS tutorial, we’ll take a look at a couple of examples to speed this up including the SOLIDWORKS selection filters and box selection. Let’s take a look.

In this blog, I’ll cover three different selection tools in SOLIDWORKS:

  1. Box selecting or cross selecting items
  2. Selection filters
  3. Selection sets

#1 Box Selecting or Cross Selecting Items

Dragging from the Left Side to the Right Side will select all items completely inside of the selection box. The preview selection box shows in light blue with a solid outer line. The default entity types selected depends on which mode you are in: 

  • Part mode selects edges
  • Assembly mode selects components
  • Drawing mode selects sketch entities, dimension, and annotations. (Hidden edges and faces are not included in drawing mode)

box solidworks selections

Cross Selection

Dragging from the Right Side to Left Side will select any items crossing the selection box as well as the items completely inside.  The preview selection box shows in green with a dashed outer line.  

The default entity types selected depends on which mode you are in: 

  • In sketches – sketch entities and dimensions
  • In drawings – sketch entities, dimensions, and annotations
  • In assemblies – components

solidworks selection filters

#2. Selection Filters

Hotkey = F5.  A ribbon of icons appears at the bottom of the graphics area that allows you to select specific types of items in the graphics area. You can set a filter and use the Box Selection tool to select all of that type within the selection box or you can turn on multiple filters at once.

solidworks selection filters hot key
When a filter is active, the cursor changes to solidworks selection tools icon

When you hover over the filtered geometry in your model, the cursor changes to the specific filter icon. Hovering over the icons in the filter ribbon shows the filter type and its corresponding the hotkey. 

To turn off the filters HOTKEY = F6.

solidworks selection tools filters

#3. Selection Sets

Selection Sets can be created for geometry that needs to be selected multiple times. In a part, selection sets can contain vertices, edges, faces, or features. In an assembly, components can be added to that list.

solidworks selection tools selection setsThe trick is to find the appropriate Save Selection option in your Right Click In-context Menu to save your geometry, (i.e. what do you want to save in the selection set – the vertex, edge, face, the feature, the body or component?)  

The RMB menu is broken up in sections and the sections change depending on the selected geometry, and in Part or Assembly mode.    

The menu shown is for a selected face in a part.

The first section contains selection tools and viewing tools as it pertains to your selected geometry.  The subsequent sections are commands that act upon the hierarchy of your selected geometry.  

To save selected vertices, edges or faces, RMB and click the topmost Selection Tool > Save Selection.

To save selected features, RMB on the faces, click Save Selection under the Feature section.

To save components, RMB on the faces, click Save Selection under the Components section.

solidworks selection tools help


This will create a Selection Sets Folder in your tree.  Expanding the folder shows all the selection sets. The number in parentheses indicates the number of items stored in the selection set.

Selection sets can be renamed and removed.  Individual items in the selection set can be removed.  You cannot add items to a selection set. Instead, you must create a new selection set by picking the existing selection set and control select the additional geometry and create a new selection set.

I hope you found this quick SOLIDWORKS tip helpful. For more tips and tricks be sure to subscribe!

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About the Author

Laura NickersonLaura Nickerson is an Application Engineer with Fisher Unitech. She has 17 years of experience in the consumer appliance industry working as an industrial designer and mechanical designer.  Laura is detail-oriented, a problem solver, and is listed as co-inventor in over 40 patents.


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