How to Copy and Paste SOLIDWORKS Features

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE updated August 1, 2016


Let’s say you’ve created a feature in SOLIDWORKS that you really like. If you really like something, you want more of it, so rather than re-creating it, we are going to copy and paste it. Copying SOLIDWORKS features is as easy as copying text in a document, or files in Windows Explorer. Let’s take a simple example:

Feature to copy

SOLIDWORKS Feature to copy

Two methods of copying SOLIDWORKS features:

  1. The first is to hold down the CTRL key, then drag & drop the feature to where you want to copy it to.
  2. The second method is to use CTRL+C, then pick where you want it to paste to and use CTRL+V.

Behold the result:

Copied features

Copied SOLIDWORKS features onto planar faces

I should point out that they are not parametrically linked. If I make a change to the original feature it has no effect on the newly copied feature. This works for Boss-Extrudes, Cut-Extrudes, Fillets and Chamfers, Revolves, and Hole Wizard Holes.

Copying from one part to another

But, perhaps more excitedly, I am not limited to using them in a single part file. I can copy them from one part file to another! If I want to use the CTRL+Drag method, I need to have both windows shown simultaneously (Window > Tile Horizontally, or Window > Tile Vertically):

Copying SOLIDWORKS features from one document to another

Copying SOLIDWORKS features from one document to another

In the screenshot I show CTRL+Drag, but you could also CTRL+C, then switch to the other part file, pick your target surface and CTRL+V.

Copying Assembly Features

Now you probably go to try this with assemblies, but realize that it doesn’t work exactly the same way, but it does still work, but with limited functionality:

Firstly, I can’t use CTRL+Drag to copy a feature in an assembly. CTRL+Drag already copies components within an assembly. I can, however, use CTRL+C and CTRL+V to copy certain features. I can’t copy a feature that adds material (such as Boss-Extrude), but I can do most of the other features. It adds them as Assembly Features, which is why it won’t allow Boss-Extrude. When it adds the assembly feature, by default it will not propagate to parts (although you can toggle the propagate feature to parts setting).

Copy Assembly Features

Copy Assembly Features

But wait, you can also move features

In addition to copying features, I can also move features using SHIFT+Drag & Drop or using CTRL+X, CTRL+V under the same circumstances as described above.

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Jim Peltier, CSWE

Jim has been using SolidWorks since 2001, and has spent most of that time working in the design of industrial automated manufacturing equipment. He has been working as an Applications Expert at Javelin Technologies in Oakville, Ontario since July 2012 and is a Certified SolidWorks Expert (CSWE).