Making SOLIDWORKS Work for YOU
Imagine unlocking your cell phone and seeing the default home screen appear with only a couple of options– texting, calling, and contacts… my first thought would be, “where the heck did all my games go?!” In today’s world, product customization is essential for the different, ever-changing needs of each user. So why not take advantage of the customization options within SOLIDWORKS to tailor its capabilities for your unique needs as an expert user? In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the different options available to make SOLIDWORKS work for you, and how a custom interface can ultimately help increase your efficiency.
Toolbars, Shortcuts, and Mouse Gestures... oh my!
I want to start off by reviewing some of the most helpful customizable options in SOLIDWORKS. These can be found in Tools > Customize. Within this window we have a bunch of options, let’s look at the Toolbars tab first.
This Customize tab will let us choose which toolbars we want to appear on our unique user interface, as well as where they will be located. Simply drag and drop the toolbar itself to decide on an optimal location along the top, bottom, or sides of the SOLIDWORKS session window. You can also drag the toolbar towards the middle of the screen to have it be a pop-out toolbar (you can even put these on a different screen!).
The Shortcut Bars tab is where we can choose which features will appear in our S-key shortcut toolbar when working in parts, assemblies, drawings, and sketches. After selecting a shortcut toolbar to customize, drag and drop appropriate buttons into the toolbar preview. I personally like to have a lot of sketch buttons in my S-key shortcut for Sketches, so that I never have to move my mouse away from the sketch itself to add entities. This results in lightning-fast sketch creation.
Mouse Gestures are extremely helpful for quick maneuverability within files. Where the S-key requires you to always have a hand hovering above the keyboard, mouse gestures allow you to select important commands with a simple click, hold and swipe of the right mouse button. You can select two, three, four, eight or twelve gestures per mouse gesture toolbar. Just like the short-cut toolbar, this can be customized for sketches, parts, assemblies, and drawings.
Other Customizable Options
Have you ever gotten lost looking for specific features in the many default tabs provided within SOLIDWORKS CommandManager? I sure have… with so many available options for each tab, it’s hard not to! So how about we build a tab that is uniquely yours (we can even name it!). Here’s how to do it:
- Right-click on any old tab and select Customize. From here you’ll see every available tab appear, and specifically a New Tab at the very end on the right-hand side.
- Right-click this New Tab and select Rename Tab – this allows you to create and name a tab of your own.
- Go to the Commands tab within the Customize window to drag and drop specific commands into the tab.
Another customizable option available in SOLIDWORKS is creating your own Custom Property Tab within the Taskpane. To do this go to Start > SOLIDWORKS Tools 20XX > Property Tab Builder 20XX.
Save Your Custom Settings
So, let’s say you just spent a good amount of time setting up SOLIDWORKS to work just how you want it to… but now you want to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of the software. Never fear! That’s where the Copy Settings Wizard comes into play. This tool can save all your custom settings and restore them on another installation of SOLIDWORKS. This tool can be launched by either clicking Start > All Programs > SOLIDWORKS > SOLIDWORKS TOOLS > Copy Settings Wizard, or within the software under Tools > Save/Restore Settings.
Try it Out!
If I haven’t fully convinced you that customizing options and settings in SOLIDWORKS will result in increased efficiency, I suggest trying it out yourself! Try adding those frequented features to your S-key shortcuts or mouse gestures and observe how much better it feels. If you have any trouble setting up custom options or tabs in SOLIDWORKS, or need some help deciding which settings would work best for you, feel free to give us a call – we would be more than happy to assist!