How to customize the SOLIDWORKS CommandManager

Article by Andrew Lidstone, CSWE updated March 19, 2012


The CommandManager was first introduced in SOLIDWORKS several years ago as basically just a “super toolbar”. However it has been enhanced over time and now allows for a fully customizable ribbon interface that adjusts automatically depending on the environment you are working in. In this tech tip I’ll show you how to customize the SOLIDWORKS CommandManager to match your workflow.

CommandManager Menus

CommandManager Icons and Tabs

The default SOLIDWORKS interface (what you would see after a fresh installation or after resetting the registry) has the CommandManager active, docked at the top of the screen.  A different set of default tabs is visible depending on if you are working in the part, assembly or drawing environments.

Adding Existing Tabs and Custom Tabs

Right-clicking on any of the CommandManager icons will give you a list of available tabs that you can add to the CommandManager. These tabs, which include Sheet Metal, Weldments, and Surfaces, are groups of toolbar buttons that are pre-designed to give you quick access to common commands in those workflows.

Customize CommandManager

Customize CommandManager

But what if you have other workflows that you would like to have a tab for? Or if there is a command you frequently use which isn’t included in any tab menu?

Notice at the top of the menu, the “Customize…” option.  Clicking this will take you into the Customize dialog (the same as going to Tools > Customize).

Customize SOLIDWORKS CommandManager Tabs

CommandManager Tabs

Once the Customize dialog is open right-clicking on any of the CommandManager tabs will display a list of available tab options. Including Add Tab, Hide Tab, Show Tab and Copy Tab options.  Selecting any of the tabs found under Add Tab will add them to the short list of tabs that can be turned on and off directly, outside of the Customize dialog.

For this example I’ll add commands to a new tab, this is achieved by first right-clicking on a SOLIDWORKS tab and selecting the option for “Empty Tab” to create an entirely new tab you can fully customize yourself.

You will be required to name the new tab.

CommandManager empty tab command

CommandManager empty tab command

Populating Tabs

Going to the “Commands” area of the Customize dialog provides a list of command buttons grouped by category. Any commands can be dragged and dropped onto ANY of the tabs of the CommandManager, including your new blank one.

Commands added to blank tab

Commands added to blank tab

Once a command button has been dropped onto the CommandManager, right-clicking on the button will give you control over the text display, text position, and the option to group the commands on the tab with a separator bar.

Command Properties

Command Properties

Once you have customized the CommandManager to match your unique workflow pick OK on the customize dialog to finish. A custom tab example is shown in the screenshot below:

CommandManager Custom Tab

CommandManager Custom Tab

NOTE: Make sure you save your CommandManager settings using the Copy Settings Wizard.

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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.