SOLIDWORKS 2017 Breadcrumb Enhancements

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE updated November 3, 2016


People who know me know I like symmetry. I like symmetry in architecture, in design, and especially in SOLIDWORKS. As far back as I’ve been using SOLIDWORKS (since 2001), I’ve kept my designs symmetrical whenever possible. As such, I liked to use the Front, Top, and Right planes of a model to apply mates. This required me to expand the part file in the feature tree to get access to its planes. You can well imagine how happy I was for the Profile Center Mate in SOLIDWORKS 2015. I thought SOLIDWORKS couldn’t top that. Well… they did! And they made the breadcrumb menu much more useful in the process. Let’s take a look.

For those of you not familiar with breadcrumbs they were added to the SOLIDWORKS user interface in the 2016 release; learn more in this blog article. I wouldn’t blame you if you hadn’t noticed — it was a subtle change to the interface, but it was more user-friendly than the old “Select Subassembly” command. However, with SOLIDWORKS 2017, I now have access to the Front, Top, and Right reference planes of the component, as well as the Origin via the breadcrumbs. Behold:

New Breadcrumbs in SOLIDWORKS 2017

New Breadcrumbs in SOLIDWORKS 2017

As you can see, by selecting the component, then picking the Part from the breadcrumb menu, I have access to the Front, Top, and Right planes of the part, as well as the Origin if I need it. No more expanding the feature tree to hunt for those planes, I can bring the planes to me. I can also hide/show planes, or initiate a sketch by clicking on the planes in the breadcrumb menu

I’m so excited about that enhancement, that I almost forgot to mention the other enhancements to the breadcrumbs menu (yes, there’s more). Take a look at the previous image. You probably noticed the planes because I pointed them out with a red box and a big arrow, but you might have also noticed the list of mates above the breadcrumbs menu. Alright, I’ll give you another look, except I’ve added another mate to over-define the assembly because I’m feeling mischievous.

Mate Breadcrumbs

Mate Breadcrumbs

As you can see, all my mates for this component are listed, errors are indicated as well. Again, no need to go to the feature tree. What happens if I hover over the mate? Yep, you guessed it: SOLIDWORKS will highlight the faces in the graphics area. You probably also correctly guessed that I can edit or suppress a mate by using these icons as well.

SOLIDWORKS 2017 Resources

Access our resources page to get everything you need to learn what’s new in SOLIDWORKS 2017, including tech tips, demonstrations, and upcoming product webinars.


SOLIDWORKS 2017 Resources

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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).