SolidWorks Tutorials for Beginners – The Interface, part 3
Welcome back! We’re continuing with our SolidWorks Tutorials for Beginners Series on the www.Video-Tutorials.Net blog, and this is part 3 Welcome to part three of this tutorial about the SolidWorks interface. We’ll pick up right where we left off in part 2, exploring the options of the Customize Command Manager dialog window.
By now, you’ll remember that the Command Manager is the ribbon of commands at the top of the SolidWorks screen, but I felt I should mention it again in case you are feeling overloaded with jargon.
We had just finished learning about a cool SolidWorks navigation tool called the Mouse Gestures wheel. If enabled, on the Mouse Gestures tab of the Customize window, when you hold down your right mouse button and move the mouse a bit, you’ll pull up a customized wheel of commands that you activate just by moving the mouse over, without any mouse clicks.
This is a way of reducing the number of mouse clicks you need to get a task done; it really streamlines your work, improves your efficiency and productivity and on the whole makes design and engineering flow a lot less clunky. That’s why I’m spending so much time telling you about it in this introduction to the SolidWorks interface.
SolidWorks Tutorials TIP: You can get to the Customize window from the Option drop down menu at the top of your screen:
Below is the Mouse Gestures tab from the Customize window. Now we’re going to learn how to customize a mouse gesture wheel:
Fig 01 – The Mouse Gestures tab of the Customize Command Manager window.
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Currently “All Commands” is displayed as the Category, and in the window you’ll see that the various File commands are listed first. Some of these file commands are more commonly handled via keyboard shortcuts, like Ctrl-S for Save or Ctrl-W for close, so you probably wouldn’t bother assigning these to a wheel.
The various categories are File, Edit, View, Insert, Tools, Help, Others, Search and Macros. We can sort the mouse gestures by any of these categories:
Fig 02 – The categories of commands you can sort by.
If we check Show only commands with mouse gestures assigned at the top of the tab, then you’ll only see the commands where gestures have already been assigned. But, you can also find the commands already assigned by scrolling down the window using the scroll bars on the right side. As you see, commands can be assigned in the four environments of Part, Assembly, Drawing and Sketch; these are the column headers next to the list of commands.
Fig 03- The four environments where mouse gestures can be uniquely defined: part, assembly, drawing & sketch.
If you click on the column headings shown above, you will sort the gestures by the column. All of the cells under these columns are blank in my image above; that means no gestures have been assigned. Let’s scroll down the window, so I can show you what the assigned commands look like:
Fig 04 – Commands with mouse gestures assigned
The assignments are easy to interpret. In my image above, Front View is assigned mouse NW in both the part and assembly environments. Back View is assigned mouse SW in the part and assembly environments. There are no assignments for the drawing environment.
To delete an assignment, click in the cell and select None from the drop down menu, as shown below.
Fig 05 – Drop down menu of gestures from which you select.
To create an assignment or change an assignment, click in the cell and select the mouse gesture from the drop down menu. Click Ok when you’re done.
Now let’s take a look at the last tab, called Options, and pictured below:
Fig 06 – The Options tab of the Customize Command Manager window.
Here we can customize the menus, the shortcuts and the workflow just a little more. Click Show All to see all the shortcut customization that you’ve set up on your installation of SolidWorks; this is a very convenient way to view all the customization done to date, in case you’ve forgotten. Click Reset to Defaults to restore the factory settings that your software came with.
The same options are available from the Menu Customization section beneath; you can click Show All to see a list of what you’ve done to customize the menus to day, and click Reset to Defaults to restore the clean factory settings.
On the right you have some checkboxes for customizing the workflow. Check Consumer product design to work with SolidWorks’ selection of tool bars and menus appropriate to the modeling environment. Check Machine design to work with SolidWorks’ selection of toolbars and menus appropriate for the manufacturing process. And check Mold Design to work with SolidWorks’ selection of toolbars and menus if you are designing molds. Of course, you can also customize your environment to display the relevant tools and toolbars on your own.
To exit the Customize Command Manager window, click OK or Cancel.
Let’s now visit with the menu strip at the top of the command manager. I’ve pasted the image in two parts, because the SolidWorks screen is larger in resolution than my Word document:
Fig 07 – First half of the standard Windows menu strip at the top of the command manager.
Click the pin icon to keep the standard menu visible at all times. In the image above, the strip is pinned down. When it’s not pinned down, it will automatically hide unless you mouse over the right-arrow next to the SolidWorks logo:
Fig 08 – Mouse over this arrow to uncollapse the standard Windows menu strip when it’s not pinned down.
Fig 09 – Second half of the command strip at the top of the SolidWorks screen.
Above you see some buttons you will recognize: from left to right, they are New Document (click the arrow next to it to get the menu of document types), Open (again, click the arrow next to this button to get the Open menu), Save (click the arrow next to this button to pull up the Save As and other Save options), Print (same thing here; click the arrow to pull up the Print submenu).
We’ll just talk about a few others here:
The Undo button; this undoes your preview action. You can click the arrow to see a list of previous actions, and choose how far back to undo.
Fig 10 – Undo
The Select button and its submenu of selection filters to speed up the process of selecting items in the graphic area.
Fig 11 – Select
The Rebuild button, to recalculate your geometry, model, and assembly based on your current modifications.
Fig 12 – Rebuild
The Search box, whereby you search help or commands. Click the down-arrow to further refine your search–here’s the submenu:
Fig 13 – Search field
Fig 14 – Search submenu options – you choose where to search, whether locally through help, online help, or your commands and data.
So, you can search here through SolidWorks local help, the online Knowledge Base, the online Community Forum, through Commands or through your own data, by choosing Files and Models.
The Help button and its help submenu, accessed by clicking on the down-arrow.
Fig 15 – Click this to launch Help.
Below the command manager, by default, is what’s called the Hang Up Toolbar:
Fig 16 – The Hang Up Toolbar, containing view and manipulation tools.
Some of the tools here by default include these listed below:
Fig 17 – Zoom – click to zoom in freely on your model
Fig 18 – Zoom to area – zoom in on an area that you select
Fig 19 – Previous view – show your previous zoom level
Fig 20 – Section view – see a cross section of your model
Fig 21 – Pan – move your model left and right on a 2D plane.
Fig 22 – View Orientation- see your model from the perspective you select – you can select from front view, right or left view, bottom view, normal to, isometric view, etc.
The hang-up toolbar is a good place to put tools that you use frequently. To add and remove tools from this toolbar, you launch the Customize Command Manager window, simply by right-clicking on any tab on the command manager, or via the Options submenu on top of the command manager:
Fig 23 – Launch the Customize Command Manager dialog window with a right-click on any tab on the Command Manager.
From the Commands tab of the Customize window, you just drag and drop any tool right onto the hang-up toolbar. To remove a tool from the hang-up toolbar, you do the same thing; drag it from the toolbar back to the Commands tab of the Customize window.
Fig 24 – How to add tools to the hang-up toolbar
And this concludes the third part of this tutorial about the SolidWorks Interface, SolidWorks Tutorials for Beginners. See you back in our next SolidWorks Tutorial – Interface part 4. Thanks! Rosanna D, Video-tutorials.net