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We all do it- we learn something one way and get comfortable with it. When a new alternative is presented we ignore it because we’re happy with what we’re used to. The 2010 release of Solidworks presented us with a new way to execute commands- it’s called mouse gestures, and I believe it’s one of the most under-utilized features of Solidworks. If you’ve been ignoring this feature you’re missing out. It’s like a smart phone- you’ve got a hundred reasons why you don’t need one, but once you use it there’s no going back. If you’re ready to give mouse gestures a try, here’s a litte introduction to help you get started.
First, go to Tools- Customize to enable your gestures and do a little set up. At the top right you can decide whether you want to use 4 or 8 gestures. I recommend 8 because unlike keyboard shortcuts you can see what you’re going to select before you actually select it. This helps the learning curve and makes it easy to manage more commands. One thing that gestures do have in common with keyboard shortcuts is that they’re context sensitive so you can create a separate set of gestures for each of the four environments- Part, Assembly, Drawing and Sketch. Scroll down through the list to see all the available commands, or use the search box to quickly locate the one you’re thinking of. Then click in a box to assign the gesture. If there’s one already assigned to a specific direction (like down to the left) in the same environment (like part) you’ll steal it from there, so you may want to print the list of defaults to refer to as you do the setup. The “show only commands with mouse gestures assigned” and “Print List'” buttons are helpful for that.
I recently discovered that In the 2012 release they’ve added the ability to use gestures for macros as well as the OK, Cancel, and Escape commands… this is going to be very handy, especially escape and OK.
If you haven’t played with it yet check out this quick video showing mouse gestures in action. It may not impact your day as much as your smart phone, but I don’t think you’ll want to go back.