SOLIDWORKS 2016 Dynamic Reference Visualization

Article by Rod Mackay updated November 20, 2015


The dynamic reference visualization has been enhanced in SOLIDWORKS 2016 with the ability to now also show child feature dependency in parts.

When you select a feature in the FeatureManager design tree SOLIDWORKS will now point to related parent references in blue and child references in red. You can even choose to display both reference types or just one of these options. In the example below a feature has been selected in FeatureManager design tree and you can clearly see that the child references point to extrude features, fillets, and a sketch. You might not be able to see the features in the tree without scrolling down, and as you scroll the arrows will remain displayed.

SOLIDWORKS 2016 Dynamic Reference Visualization

Dynamic Child Reference

As with previous versions if you right-click on a feature and select Parent/Child from the shortcut menu a dialog will be displayed with the child references listed.

Parent Child Dialog

Parent Child Dialog


Advantages of Dynamic Reference Visualization

  1. When working with a part that you are not familiar with you can quickly determine how the model was created by clicking on features in the tree to see their parent and child dependencies.
  2. When making changes to a model you can easily see which related features may be affected by the change.
  3. Before you delete a feature you can see the impact it will have further down the tree.

Deactivating Dynamic Reference Visualization

If you decide that Dynamic Reference Visualization is a distraction for you then you can deactivate the Parent or Child display from the FeatureManager design tree by:

  1. Right-click the first item in the FeatureManager design tree.
  2. On the context toolbar, shown in the figure below, clear the following:
    • Clear Dynamic Reference Visualization (Parent) to turn off parent reference arrows.
    • Clear Dynamic Reference Visualization (Child) to turn off child reference arrows.
Reference Options

Reference Options (Parent on the left, child on the right)

Learn more about SOLIDWORKS 2016

SOLIDWORKS 2016 Dynamic Reference Visualization simplifies identifying the impact or dependency of modifying a feature will have, saving you time and frustration. To learn more about SOLIDWORKS 2016 you can watch a video of our recent launch broadcast.

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Rod Mackay

Rod has been using 3D CAD software for over 25 years and has trained thousands of designers to use their CAD systems more effectively. Rod is the Javelin Webmaster and is based in Ottawa, ON., Canada.