Learn to Slow Down So You Can Speed Up With SOLIDWORKS

By Laura Weismantel on

If you haven’t slowed down to appreciate the more subtle aspects of the SOLIDWORKS user interface, we recommend you take a moment to do just that. It’s easy to get so caught up in your design task, that you miss the many cues SOLIDWORKS provides to help with important commands that we all repeat, day-in and day-out. Keep reading for some helpful hints to be more aware of the cues SOLIDWORKS offers. 

Right Mouse Button Cue

Right-Mouse-Button Cue for SOLIDWORKS One example of the helpful hints that SOLIDWORKS provides, is the right mouse button (RMB) cue. This comes in the form of a small icon that appears next to the cursor after the user selects items in the graphics window. The icon is the image of a computer mouse with a symbol over the right-mouse-button. That symbol indicates a command that will be executed if the user selects the right mouse button, at that moment.

The most common scenario that one would encounter this cue is when the designer is selecting items in the viewport (like model faces, edges, and sketch entities) to populate a blue selection box for feature or sketch command.

Example of right mouse button in SOLIDWORKS

Shortcuts In The Form of Mouse Feedback

SOLIDWORKS is constantly providing us shortcuts that appear in the form of mouse feedback; in other words: graphics next to the cursor that will appear while hovering near geometry prior to selection, or immediately after selecting it. If seen prior to selection, the purpose of this feedback is to help the user understand the implications of selecting geometry. Alternatively, if seen after selection, the purpose is to provide the user with shortcuts for executing common commands.

The trick to reaping the benefits of this shortcut is to know when to slow down. The thing is, this mouse feedback only appears within a limited radius surrounding the selected item. In other words, if you tend to move your mouse quickly through radius, you may miss this trick.

Ferris Beuller life moves pretty fast

You’ll find instances of the RMB cue all over the software, but one great example of it occurs while performing the mirror command in a sketch. Here are the steps to leverage this shortcut:

  1. Draw one half of symmetrical sketch geometry and centerline
  2. Enable sketch mirror command (seen by accessing the customized RMB context menu below)
  3. Chose entities to be mirrored by clicking or box-selection – Do not move mouse when complete and notice icon appearing next to mouse with “enter” symbol over RMB
  4. Notice icon appearing next to mouse with “enter” symbol over right mouse button
  5. Right-click to enable the next blue selection box
  6. Select the centerline – Again, do not move mouse and notice green checkmark over RMB
  7. Right-click to complete mirror command

To see this demonstrated, pay attention to the right-clicks below, watching for the ripple effect:

Right Mouse Button Ripple Effect in SOLIDWORKS

Don’t let the number of steps fool you, when following the prompts in the user interface, this sequence becomes natural and intuitive. Consider your training complete when you know to expect the cues and use the RMB by instinct to proceed with your geometry definition!

What other instances of mouse feedback can you find in the software? If you slow down just enough to take notice, you may be surprised with the shortcuts SOLIDWORKS provides.

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