Speed up your sketching with “on screen numeric input on entity creation”

Article by Andrew Lidstone, CSWE updated September 22, 2010


Sketch Dimension InputIntroduced in SolidWorks 2009 is the option to “Enable on screen numeric input on entity creation”.  Though it’s name doesn’t do it justice, this feature can really have a big impact on your ability to create accurate sketches quickly.

Having this feature enabled gives you the option to give specific dimensions to lines, rectangles, circles and arcs as you create them, no extra keystrokes or toolbar buttons needed.  To enable the feature go to Tools>Options under the System Options tab select the Sketch area and check “Enable on screen numeric input on entity creation”.

Enable Input

Enable Input

Add Dimensions

Add Dimensions

Now when you create a new sketch, a dialogue box appears that gives you the option to control the dimensions of the item you are sketching.  This control however does not add constraining dimensions automatically in the sketch.  To do that you will notice a new check box in the Option area of the Property Manager when you launch a new sketch entity command labeled “Add dimensions”.  With this option checked constraining dimensions are added based on your “numeric input on entity creation”.

This option can actually be cycled off and on by pressing Alt+d, or it can be turned off temporarily by holding the Alt key while you place the entity or entities you wish not to be dimensioned.  This becomes very important when closing profiles or creating other geometry that could cause the sketch to become over defined if it were dimensioned.

This little feature with a big name can give your sketching a great boost.

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Andrew Lidstone, CSWE

Andrew Lidstone is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Application Engineer specializing in Data Management systems. He has been working in the SOLIDWORKS reseller channel since 2010 helping clients get the most from their CAD tools.