SolidWorks Tutorial: Keyboard and Mouse – Controlling the Viewport Orientation [VIDEO]

Article by Adam Bridgman, CSWE updated November 1, 2013


There are modifier keys for every SolidWorks environment, their functions sometimes differ by environment but many of them are common. Many modifier keys affect how the mouse buttons behave, especially regarding controlling the view. Sometimes a combination of selections and hot keys also affect the behaviours.

As of SolidWorks 2012 selecting view, normal to, aligns the view to the nearest primary plane if nothing is selected.  If one planar face is selected the view will be aligned to that face, but it is pretty difficult to determine at what angle that face will appear. To control the orientation it is possible to preselect 2 faces, the first one selected is the face the view will be normal to, the second face will become horizontal.

Many keys affect the view as well. Holding CONTROL and pressing the arrow keys will pan the view. Holding SHIFT and pressing the arrow keys will rotate by 90 degrees in the direction of the arrow.  If no modifier keys are held and the arrows are pressed the view will rotate by 15 degrees (or if it is a drawing it will pan by the increment set in the drawings system options).  Any other modifier key combinations are held the arrow keys will not do anything.

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Adam Bridgman, CSWE

Adam Bridgman in SOLIDWORKS Certified Expert proving customers with technical support and training