Dimension Input History: Love it? Hate it?

Article by Irfan Zardadkhan, PhD, CSWE updated August 1, 2013


SolidWorks 2013 introduced hundreds of enhancements creating a big stir of excitement in the user community. Most of the enhancements were a “love at first sight”, like conics, varying dimension patterns and intersect. However some of the others were not that well received by the community.

One of the new features which has caused a lot of frustration for designers is “dimension history”. The issue with this new feature is the history list covers the dimension dialog toolbar making it inaccessible. A quick way to hide the list is to hit the ESC key after typing in the first digit, but if you are not careful enough and hold the ESC key for a little longer the dialog box itself will close and the command will be canceled.


After listening to the customers’ grief, SolidWorks developers decided to rethink the dropdown list. An innovative fix to the issue was chosen to place the toolbar above the input box rather than below, so that it is always visible. If you are on active subscription and upgrade to the SP4 of SolidWorks, you can actually benefit from this enhancement.

This feature is not available out of the box. This feature can be enabled using a backdoor registry key. To enable this browse to :

“HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks\SolidWorks 2013\General”

Locate the item “Dimension Dialog Toolbar Above”

And set the value to 1.


When you rerun SolidWorks, you will see the toolbar will be above the input box and hence accessible at all times.


Thanks to the creative thinking of the SolidWorks development team, with a tiny change this feature has become far more user-friendly.


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Irfan Zardadkhan, PhD, CSWE

Irfan holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering and is as Elite AE. He contributes regularly to the SIMULATION and COMPOSER tech blogs. He has won the TenLinks Top blogger award for SOLIDWORKS. He has presented at local user groups and at SOLIDWORKS World.