Copy Sketch and Maintain the Sketch Relations

Article by Chris Briand, CSWE updated February 19, 2016


SOLIDWORKS has had, and continues to have all kinds of functionality embedded in the most basic of windows commands – Take the “Copy” command for example.  In this example we will use simple Copy & Paste Functionality to make an exact copy of the sketch and maintain the relations applied to the original.

Copy and Paste Sketch Process

The Basic Workflow to copy the sketch is simple:

  1. Select the source Sketch
  2. Type CTRL+C as a shortcut for the “Copy” command
  3. Select the Plane that will receive the sketch
  4. Type CTRL+P as a shortcut fr the “Paste” command
Copy a Sketch and Maintain the Sketch Relations

Copy Sketch

As with most things, it turns out there is a little bit more to the story here to be a complete success. Upon pasting the sketch you may discover that the geometry appears Under-defined, which is the spot where most folks give up and turn back.

Copy Sketch Plane is different

Copy Sketch Plane is different

The reason the copied sketch becomes under defined is due to the lack of relations that are controlling the location of the sketch with reference to the origin. The original sketch had a coincident relation that held the lower left corner of the sketch on the origin.

Define sketch

Under defined sketch

If you add some dimensions or relations to control the location of the sketch, or simply add a fixed relation – The sketch will then become fully defined and ready for reuse.

Fully defined sketch

Fully defined sketch

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Chris Briand, CSWE

Chris has been educating and supporting Engineers, Designers and IT Personnel within the 3D CAD industry since 2002, and was adopted into the fantastic team of applications experts here at Javelin Technologies in early 2006 and migrated along with his team members to the TriMech Solutions team in 2021.  Chris enjoys the continuous learning driven by the ingenuity and challenges Designers bring forward. Innovation using 3D Printing, 3D CAD and other technologies, combined with a diverse background as a technologist, allows Chris to find solutions that accelerate Designers, and take Design Teams to new heights. Chris is currently being held at an undisclosed location, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.