How to Auto Arrange Dimensions in your SOLIDWORKS Drawing

Article by Alin Vargatu, CSWE updated February 14, 2011


The SOLIDWORKS Auto Arrange Dimensions tool seems to read your mind when choosing the right positions for placing selected dimensions. Finally you can use the model dimensions to detail your drawing, without having to waste your time manually dragging them one by one into the correct position.

Using Auto Arrange

1. After inserting views into your drawing use the Import Model Items annotation tool and choose Entire Model

Import model items

Import model items

2. When the dimensions are inserted they are being placed according to their position in the model, which might not be the ideal position for communicating the sizes in your drawing.

Model dimensions after being inserted in the drawing

Model dimensions after being inserted in the drawing

3. Let’s select all these dimensions with a window select (feel free to use the F5 shortcut key to access the dimension filter):

Press F5 to access the Selection Filter

4. Once the dimensions are selected make sure you do not move your mouse too far. There is an icon not too far from your cursor.

Auto arrange icon

Select all dimensions and do not move your mouse before spotting this icon

Let’s look at it closely:

This is the icon I’m talking about

NOTE: If by any chance you moved your mouse and the icon disappeared, don’t worry, it can be called back by pressing the <CTRL> key on your keyboard. It will re-appear close to your cursor.

5. Now let’s select this Icon. It will expand into a mini toolbar:

Expanded into a Mini Toolbar

Expanded into a Mini Toolbar

6. There are all kind of nice little icons on this toolbar and I suggest you take the time to play with all of them, but for now we will select the Auto Arrange Dimensions icon.

Select Auto Arrange Dimensions

Select Auto Arrange Dimensions

7. Magic! One click and most of my dimensions moved nicely into positions that make sense. Is the SOLIDWORKS Auto Arrange Dimensions tool reading my mind?

SOLIDWORKS Auto Arrange Dimensions

Dimensions auto-arranged

What if this drawing had 15 views and hundreds of dimensions? How much time would have I saved then? How much time will you save from now on with the SOLIDWORKS Auto Arrange Dimensions tool?

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Alin Vargatu, CSWE

Alin is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and an avid contributor to the SOLIDWORKS Community. Alin has presented multiple times at SOLIDWORKS World, Technical Summits, and User Group Meetings, while being very active on the SOLIDWORKS Forum.