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Essential SOLIDWORKS keyboard shortcuts

Article by Jamie Hill, CSWE, last updated on June 30, 2017

This is going to be a debatable list, as many different people have many different workflows and habits they are accustomed to. I will however try and walk the centerline, and tell you about some of the time saving SOLIDWORKS keyboard shortcuts that everyone should be able to appreciate.

The S Key

Let’s start off with my favorite: the “S”-key, learn more about the SOLIDWORKS Shortcut bar for shortcut bars, :

SOLIDWORKS keyboard shortcuts Customize window

Customize window

This shortcut toolbar has 4 modes: part editing, assembly, drawing, and sketch. All of which can be customized with pretty much any command you can think of.

The D Key

Next is the “D”-key: It brings the Confirmation Corner AND Breadcrumbs right to your mouse.

The rest of the shortcuts I’ve grouped into categories for easy reference.

Standard Windows shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + O for File, Open
  • Ctrl + S for File, Save
  • Ctrl + Z for Edit, Undo
  • Ctrl + C for Copy
  • Ctrl + V for Paste
  • Alt + specified values Inserts standard Windows symbols:
    • Alt + 0176. Inserts a degree º symbol
    • Alt + 0216. Inserts a diameter Ø symbol
    • Alt + 0181. Inserts a µ symbol

User interface shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + Q Complete Rebuild
  • Ctrl + Tab Moves among open documents
  • Enter Repeats the last command

Display shortcuts:

  • Alt + arrow keys Rotates the model parallel to the viewing plane
  • Alt + drag the middle mouse button Rotates the model parallel to the viewing plane
  • Shift + arrow keys Rotates the model 90º
  • Shift + Z Zooms the model in.
  • Z Zooms the model out.
  • F Zooms to fit.
  • Alt + click Shows a hidden body or component when you hover over the body or component
  • G Magnifying Glass
  • Alt + middle mouse wheel Shows a section view when using the magnifying glass
  • Spacebar Opens the View Selector and Orientation dialog box

Selection shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + click Lets you select multiple entities
  • Shift Lets you select a transparent face on a part
  • Shift + click Selects everything within the two selected items in the FeatureManager design tree

Move shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + drag the middle mouse button Pans a model
  • Shift + drag
    • Sketches. Moves a set of sketch entities.
    • Parts. Moves a feature.
    • Drawings. Moves the selected drawing view and any related views together as if they are one entity. You can also move a dimension to a different view.

Dimension shortcuts:

  • Alt + click Turns off automatic alignment when you place dimensions and annotations
  • Alt + drag Moves an annotation independently from the group in which it is contained
  • Ctrl + drag Creates additional leaders on a note when you Ctrl + drag a leader’s arrowhead
  • Shift + click Snaps a dimension to the max or min location when dimensioning arcs and circles with the Smart Dimension tool

Sketching shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + drag Suppresses inference lines when dragging an endpoint
  • Pressing Ctrl while sketching turns off automatic sketch relations
  • Shift + click Turns on snapping
  • Shift + drag When sketching a line, the line snaps to specific lengths
  • Tab Changes the XYZ plane when sketching in a 3D sketch

Assembly shortcuts:

  • Alt + drag
    • Mates. Creates a SmartMate when you Alt + drag a component
    • Reordering components. When moving a component in the FeatureManager design tree, ensures that the component remains at the same level in the tree and prevents it from being moved into a subassembly
  • Alt + Ctrl drag Copies the component and creates a SmartMate
  • Ctrl + drag
    • Copies a component when you Ctrl + drag it
    • Selection. In an assembly with preselected components, inverts the selection when you Ctrl + drag a selection box
    • Toolbox. Creates a part instead of a configuration when you drag a Toolbox component into an assembly
  • Tab
    • Hide/Show. Hides all components below the pointer
    • While Inserting a Component. Rotates the component 90º
  • Shift + Tab
    • Hide/Show. Shows all components below the pointer
    • While Inserting a Component. Rotates the component -90º
  • Ctrl + Shift + Tab Temporarily displays all hidden components as transparent and lets you select which ones to show

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Jamie Hill, CSWE

Jamie is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert working in the Javelin Oakville, Ontario, Canada office.

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