Let’s Talk About Customizing SolidWorks

    Let’s talk about customizing your seat of SolidWorks. There are many ways to customize SolidWorks that you probably won’t remember to use all of them. I thought I’d go over a few.
    The Customize tool pull down has lots of different ways to personalize SolidWorks. The first tab, Toolbars, allows you to turn on or off any toolbar in the software by simply checking the box next to the toolbar. It even has a checkbox in the upper right corner for increasing the icon size for users like myself that can’t see well anymore. 🙂

    Customize Toolbars
    Toolbars tab

    The second tab, Commands, is probably the most powerful. This is drag and drop customization. You select the category of the tool you are looking for and then drag and drop it to the toolbar or command manager wherever you want it. Note that the ‘Flyout Toolbars’ are sets of similar tools as drop downs.


    Commands tab

    The third tab, Menus, will let you change the name or remove any of the pull down menu commands. The fourth tab, Keyboard, is for all you HotKey users. This is an entire list of every command in the software. To attach the command to a HotKey, simply find the command (with the search) click in the box on the right column and click the button on the keyboard you want associated. You can use nearly anything on the QWERTY keyboard as well as CTRL, ALT and SHIFT as modifiers. For quick help, you can even print the list out to put next to your monitor.


    Keyboard tab

    The fifth tab, new in SolidWorks 2010, is for customizing Mouse Gestures. You can set it from 4 to 8 commands, then find the command you want and pull down to set the direction of the gesture. These are specific to Part, Drawing, Assembly and when Sketching. Back in SolidWorks you can now right-click drag in any direction to get to your favorite commands.

    Mouse Gestures

    Mouse Gestures tab

    While customizing you may notice the tabs on the command manager are different colors. Darker colors are turned on, while the lighter colors are currently off. You can customize them either way. On the far right, there is a “New Tab” button. This will let you create a custom tab and put whatever tools you want in it. In SolidWorks, right-click on any tab to turn others on or off.

    There is also a handy tool called the Shortcut Toolbar. By default “S” on the keyboard launches this tool. The Shortcut Toolbar is also specific to the current operation and you can control what is in by right-clicking it and going to customize.

    Shortcut Toolbar

    Shortcut Toolbar

    There are hundreds of options you’ll want to personalize as well. With File > Open, you’ll find two tabs under Tools > Options. The first tab, System Options are registry settings, so any changes you make there will be saved the next time you close SolidWorks. Document Properties are settings that are specific to the current open file. If you want these settings for every new file, you’ll need to change them and save them off as a template.

    System Options

    System Options

Now for the final and important step… When you’re done customizing SolidWorks, you’ll want it to stay that way. When you close SolidWorks, it saves your changes to the registry. You can make a .sldreg file to back up your settings in case anything happens. To do this, go to the Start Menu > All Programs and browse to the ‘SolidWorks’ folder. Under that you will find ‘SolidWorks Tools’ and there you will find the ‘Copy Settings Wizard’. This will let you save out a file that you can simply double-click to restore your SolidWorks customized settings. Feel free to share this with a co-worker if he likes your settings as well.

Tune in again for my “Let’s Talk” blog series.

John MacArthurJohn MacArthur
DASI Solutions

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