Using the Derive Sketch Tool in SOLIDWORKS

By Stephen Petrock on

There’s no doubt that copy/paste is a beloved productivity enhancer. It’s something that we all use daily to help save time in applications like Word, Excel and even SOLIDWORKS. But SOLIDWORKS takes copy/paste to the next level with derived sketch. Think of derived sketch as copy/paste on steroids. In this week’s Video Tech Tip, we share with you how this works and why it’s so great.


Derived sketch is a way to make a copy of a sketch. That’s nothing too impressive, it’s what we’re used to with basic copy/paste functionality. What takes it to the next level is that it makes a parametric copy of the sketch. It creates a linked copy that will update if there are any changes to the original sketch.

Selecting the Derive Sketch Tool in SOLIDWORKSThe trick to making this function work is that you need to pre-select the sketch and the face on which you want to copy it. With both entities selected, you can insert the derived sketch by selecting Menu > Derived Sketch. The sketch will then appear on the face you identified. You’ll now be able to use things like relations to fully define the sketch’s position, but keep in mind that you won’t be able to modify the geometry of the sketch.

Now that’s just the copy/paste part of the function. The real magic happens if there are any changes to the original sketch. These changes will update in the copied sketch, maintaining the parametric link that makes a derived sketch so powerful.

Want to learn more tips and tricks with SOLIDWORKS? Browse our SOLIDWORKS training classes.