How to change a SOLIDWORKS Bend Note angle to be Complementary or Inside

Article by Bryan Sprange, CSWE updated May 30, 2018


What is a complementary angle?

What am I referring to with changing the bend note angle to be complementary? Unfortunately, this won’t mean that your flat patterns will praise how great of a designer you are, but it certainly could help impress the manufacturing department! Check out the image below describing the difference between the supplementary and complementary angles as measured on a bent sheet metal part

SOLIDWORKS displays the Supplementary angle by default

Explaination of Supplementary and Complementary angles

Why would I change the Bend Note?

If your shop is using a European manufactured brake, it may require the bend angle to be input as the complimentary value, or in other words, the angle measured from inside the bend. By default, SOLIDWORKS uses the supplementary angle (outside measure) when detailing a flat pattern with bend notes. The great news is that there are multiple ways to adjust this setting either for one time, or permanently.

Change the Bend Note for a Drawing View

The first, and easiest way will change all of the bend notes in selected flat pattern drawing views.

In the Bend Notes section of the property manager, select the <bend-angle> text, and then click on the complementary angle button. This will replace the supplementary angle with the complementary measure for all bend notes in the selected drawing views.

Change the Bend Note for a Drawing View

Update the Bend Notes section for a drawing view to change all Bend Notes in that view


If individual bend notes need to be adjusted, double clicking the note will bring up the defining text which can be adjusted in the same way.

Adjusting individual Bend Note contents is also possible

Set it at the System Level

If you always want your bend angles to be Complementary, then this can be set at the system level by editing the bendnoteformat.txt file found in the installation directory.

Reference the SOLIDWORKS online help file topic which will adjust this setting permanently.

What else can be customized?!

If you’re curious about other settings that can be adjusted, or if you’ve been trying to figure out how to change a setting inside SOLIDWORKS, then search the Javelin Blog, attend one of Javelin’s training courses in your area or online, or simply contact us to see how we can help!

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Bryan Sprange, CSWE

Bryan Sprange is a Technical Solutions Expert at Javelin located in Winnipeg, MB., Canada. He has previously worked in the Aerospace industry as a Designer, and a Manufacturing Engineering Planner. Additionally, he has used many different CAD packages ranging from AutoCAD to CATIA. Bryan has a background in Mechanical Engineering Technology, and enjoys using all of the SOLIDWORKS features to their limits to find new and interesting ways to be efficient and accurate when helping customers with their designs.