Orienting Your Models in SOLIDWORKS

By Stephen Petrock on

When it comes to getting around your models and orienting yourself in 3D space, rotating is key. The rotation command is arguably one of the most used ones. It’s easy too, right? Just click and hold the middle mouse wheel and you can bring your designs to life by spinning the 3D model around your 2D screen. But there’s more to it than just using the middle mouse wheel for what I call “free rotation.” There a handful of other ways to get more control of your model. In this week’s Video Tech Tip we will share with you two great recommendations so you can rotate like a pro.


Rotate About Scene Floor is an option used by all the pros mostly to show off their designs. It’s a setting that can be activated through the right-click menu by click in space and choosing the option to rotate about scene floor. When this setting helps keep your model “level” when you’re rotating it by locking the vertical axis, creating a sort of turntable effect. One other reason to point this one out is sometimes it is turned on by accident or by someone else, therefore, it’s important to recognize the unique rotate symbol used when this setting is turned on.

Sometimes it might be easy to show the functionality of your design by rotating about geometry like a face, edge or vertex. To rotate about specific geometry you can use this easy two-step process. First, select the face or edge by clicking on it with the middle mouse wheel. Then you can use the middle mouse wheel to rotate as you typically would. This is a great way to show the motion of components in an assembly before you finish building your design.

With these two tips, you’ll be able to get around your 3D model with ease and navigate like a pro. Be sure to check back for more tips to help you better use SOLIDWORKS.