The Ultimate Guide for the Isolate Command in SOLIDWORKS

By Alin Vargatu on

Decluttering the graphics area is a critical factor for maximizing your productivity in SOLIDWORKS. Not only is it easier to select and manipulate a smaller set of components/bodies on the screen, but it allows for faster design decisions.

The best decluttering tool is the Isolate command. Most users are aware that, after selecting one or more components, a right-click (RMB) will give access to the Isolate command (Figure 1).

isolate on the RMB menu
Figure 1 – Isolate on the RMB menu

The power users usually will assign keyboard shortcuts for the Isolate Command (Figure 2).

customize window
Figure 2

In SOLIDWORKS, this tool has several lesser-known functions that could serve key use cases like:

  • Instant isolation of the selected bodies in multibody parts
  • Instant isolation of the selected components in assemblies
  • Highlight selected bodies in the context of a multibody part
  • Highlight selected components in the context of an assembly (Figures 3 and 4)
  • Quickly create drawing views for assembly process workflows by saving display states (Figure 5)

To access such functionality, just be curious and sample the options from the Isolate toolbar.

highlight the selected component
Figure 3 – Highlight the selected component by setting the rest of the assembly to a wireframe display style
transparent display state
Figure 4 – Highlight the selected component by setting the rest of the assembly to a Transparent display style
save display state
Figure 5 – Quickly save Display States

The final result of such a step-by step process is shown in Figure 6.:

Isolate Tool final step by step result

Figure 6 – Assembly Process – Sample

After watching this video, you will discover other tools that could enhance the Isolate workflows including:

  • The use of the TAB key to hide show bodies or components:
    • TAB hides bodies/components the mouse is hovering over
    • SHIFT+TAB is showing hidden bodies and components the mouse is hovering over
    • Holding CTRL+SHIFT+TAB reveals hidden bodies/components as transparent. Select the ones that you want to make visible, then release the three keys.
  • Performing an X-Ray operation using the Magnifying Glass:
    • Press “G” to start the magnifying glass
    • Spin the mouse wheel until the zoom factor is 1 to 1
    • Hold the ALT key and spin the wheel to perform the X-RAY. As the wheel is spun, a sectioning plane is moved in depth, parallel to the screen. Everything locate between that plane and your eyes is hidden.

In conclusion, decluttering the graphics area is a skill that will improve your productivity while reducing the level of frustration when working with complex multibody parts or large assemblies.

About the Author

man with glassesAs an Elite AE and Senior Training and Process Consultant, working for TriMech Solutions, Alin Vargatu is a Problem Hunter and Solver.

He has presented 33 times at 3DEXPERIENCE World and SOLIDWORKS World, twice at SLUGME and tens of times at SWUG meetings in Canada and the United States. His blog and YouTube channel are well known in the SOLIDWORKS Community.

In recognition for his activity in the SOLIDWORKS Community, at 3DEXPERIENCE World 2021, the SWUGN (SOLIDWORKS User Group Network) awarded the SOLIDWORKS AE of the Year title to Alin Vargatu.

Take advantage of the fact that you can display the rest of the components as wireframe or as transparent, and that you can save new display states. To learn more tips and tricks for check out our SOLIDWORKS training courses.