Article by Andrew Lidstone, CSWE updated May 4, 2013


SolidWorks has learned a pretty neat new trick from the Composer: balloons can now be attached to Magnetic Lines in SolidWorks 2012, giving designers more control over the alignment and spacing of balloons in drawings.

Clicking the Magnetic Line command (found on the Annotation tab of the Command Manager or Insert>Annotations>Magnetic Line) will start sketching a Magnetic Line.  If you already have inserted item balloons in a drawing you can either pass the line through balloons to snap them to the line, or you can manually drag and drop the balloons onto the line.

If you are adding new balloons to a drawing view using the Auto Balloon command, Magnetic Lines can be added automatically by checking the box “Insert Magnetic Line(s)”,  this option is turned on by default.

Magnetic Lines have two spacing options: Equal and Free Drag.  The Equal spacing option will keep an even distance between the item balloons on the line, the Free Drag option will allow you to move the balloons to any position along the line.  The balloons can be re-ordered along the line by dragging them along the line to the desired location.

Drag the arrow on either end of the Magnetic Line to lengthen the line and scale the item balloon spacing, dragging the same arrow to angle and the item balloons will follow the line angle.

Watch this video for a demonstration of this functionality:

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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.