In this tutorial, we are going to walk through the basics with the Shaded Sketch Contours feature. It is worth mentioning because not everyone takes full advantage of this feature. You can use the Shaded Sketch Contours setting to view closed sketch contours and sub-contours as shaded entities. When the Shaded Sketch Contours setting is selected, only the closed sketch shapes are shaded. Let’s take a closer look.
To get started, we are going to start in SOLIDWORKS with a sketch that was already created. First, we want to make sure the feature is turned on. To do this, go to the Command Manager for Sketches. Here, you’ll find an option to toggle the Shaded Sketch Contours on and off. When we turn it on, all the sketch contours get shaded. If there is a contour inside of another contour, the shading gets darker.
The biggest advantage of this feature is that it can be used as an indicator letting you know if your contours are closed or not. Sometimes we can accidentally leave these small, undetectable gaps in our sketches. This feature is an easy way to double-check your work. In the example below, you’ll notice the rectangle surrounding everything is not shaded. This is a warning to us that the contour is open.
To fix this, we will use the Repair Sketch Tool. This tool will find any small gaps in the sketch and repair them. When we click the tool, we can see the magnifying glass pop up where there is a little gap that is preventing the contour from being closed. We can drag the line in to easily close it up. As we can see below, the rectangle is now shaded.Now that we have the contours, we can move the sketches around. We can do this by grabbing the shaded area. We no longer need to grab a specific entity. Without sketch contours on, we are only able to drag it by specific endpoints, or the sketch geometry itself. And if we want to move it and don’t want to change the size, we are limited and would need to use the Move Entities command.
Another benefit of sketch contours is that we can pre-select them from within the sketch. In this sketch, we have a few different contours. If we want to pre-select specific ones to use for an extrusion, we can do this by holding down the ALT key. We can either select contour regions or contours themselves by highlighting the edges. If we select Boss-Extrude, we can see the contours are pre-selected in the image below.
Want to learn more tips and tricks with SOLIDWORKS? Subscribe to our Video Tech Tips.