SOLIDWORKS In-Context Assembly Display Techniques

Article by James Swackhammer updated October 28, 2020


Remember playing hide and seek with your friends? I played that game with my friends for hours until our moms yelled out the door to get our behinds in the house for bed time. Playing hide and seek with your SOLIDWORKS assembly parts while editing in-context can help you design too.

Taking a look at my engine block in the image below, I need to design parts in-context around it. I’m going to start off slow with the main bearing caps. Using the top down assembly method I will Insert Component and choose a new part.

I want to choose this face to start on, but look what happens when I choose that face…

Selecting an Assembly Face

Selecting a model face

The engine block goes completely transparent with hundreds of lines everywhere:

Transparent model display

Transparent model display

Assembly Transparency for in Context Edit

This makes it quite hard to work with and figure out which entities I want to copy. We can change this to have as much transparency as we want. This is located in the Options > System Options > Display > Assembly Transparency for in Context Edit.

Assembly Transparency Option

Assembly Transparency Option

Hide Parts or Make them Transparent

With my part mostly complete I need to match up the holes. Easiest way is to do a Convert Entities inside a sketch. When I’m inside the sketch I need to hide the part I’m currently working on to see the holes. How does one do that? When editing in context you can’t hide the part you are working on and can only hide the other parts. If you exit the edit in context, hide the part then the edit option is gone.

Part Selected

Part Selected

You can do this one of two ways;

  1. You can expand the design tree menu and make the part transparent, or right-click on the part to change transparency.
  2. The second way to do this is to hide the top feature in the part.
Part Transparency

Applying Transparency to the Part

I prefer the second method of hiding so I’m not confused with the other edges. I’m sure we have all selected the incorrect edges/faces/vertex and had to delete or restart the command. Completely hiding the part/feature helps.

Hiding the top feature

Hiding the top feature

Assemblies can be quite challenging so I recommending checking outing locating virtual components and assembly mate shortcuts for some more tips.

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James Swackhammer

James is a SOLIDWORKS Technical Support Application Expert based in the Javelin Oakville head office