Change How You View Your Feature Tree in SOLIDWORKS

By Laura Weismantel on

We are all well-acquainted with the “order dependent” nature of the SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager. You can enable display characteristics of the FeatureManager Design Tree by selecting options on the Tree Display submenu of the shortcut menu. Keep reading for a further review on utilizing this feature. 

Looking at SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager

Items in the Tree claim to be listed in the order that they were created. However, if you think about it, this isn’t really the case. While our features are listed in order of generation, the supporting sketches are listed under the features that they drive, even though they were created first. This slight inconsistency is usually preferable for organizational reasons, but it can cause some confusion in other situations when a subtle variation in feature or sketch order can make all the difference.

Looking at the SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager

Let’s say you’re editing a feature that uses multiple sketches for support, such as a sweep or loft. When you created the sweep with a profile and a path, you didn’t quite get the result you wanted, so you decided to add a guide curve. In this instance, for the guide curve to exhibit the design intent you require, you need to use the path sketch to constrain it. This means the guide sketch must exist after the path sketch, to allow for the appropriate relations to be made.

Showing the Flat Tree View

So how is this done? To create the guide curve in its correct position in the FeatureManager, it would need to be placed after the path sketch, but before the sweep. This can be tricky with the traditional view of the Feature Tree, which lists the sweep above the sketches that support it.

To have full autonomy over the order of sketches and features, you can change to the Flat Tree View of the FeatureManager, which lists all features and sketches in the order they are generated. To do this, simply right click at the top of the Feature Tree, go to Tree Display and select Show Flat Tree View:

solidworks tree display settings

After that, you can use the Rollback bar to go back in time before the sweep was calculated. When you’re done, you can edit the feature and add the guide curve. Then, to return to the traditional view, the flat tree view setting can be disabled in the same way it was turned on!

 Want to learn more SOLIDWORKS tips and tricks? Subscribe to our weekly Video Tech Tips!