Selecting Hidden Faces with the Select Other Option in SOLIDWORKS

By John Lewis on

A common occurrence when mating parts in an assembly is the need to select faces that are hidden behind other faces. Rotating a model is always an option, but sometimes that can be laborious and time-consuming. We want to simply hide the faces that are in the way. Let’s look at two ways to accomplish that using SOLIDWORKS commands and shortcuts.

One is the Select Other command. I want the bottom of the gray part you see in the image to sit on top of the blue one. I will hover over the face that’s in the way and right-click and choose Select Other from the menu.

Select Other Command
Select Other Command

Now I can see the face that I want. If there were other faces in the way, however, just hover and right-click. When you see the one you want, select it and continue. If I want to center that part with a Width Mate, I will select one face and the one opposite it and center between another face and the one opposite that.

width mate in solidworks
Use Width Mate to center the part

The Select Other command has been around for a long time. It works in parts as well as an assembly. More recently, a keyboard shortcut, the “Alt” key has been predefined to hide faces when mating parts in the assembly. It’s only available in assemblies and only when the Mate command is active.

One last demo, if a part needs to be positioned back and forth. You can hover over faces in the way and hit the “Alt” key. If there are other faces in the way, hover over those and hit “Alt” until you see the part you want. Select it and continue. I will use the “Alt” key to hide faces when mating the green part, that you can see in the image. I will mate the bottom of the green part to the top of the blue part before mating the green part to the center of the gray part using the hole.

Using the Alt key shortcut when mating
Using the Alt key shortcut when mating

Once you get used to either the Select Other or using the “Alt” key when mating, you’ll find it will save a lot of time.