First off, SOLIDWORKS is made specifically for Windows. When the first release of SOLIDWORKS came out in 1995, it was designed to be fully compliant with Windows. This is beneficial to anyone who is proficient in Windows File Explorer as it means you already have an understanding and a skillset that is relevant in SOLIDWORKS. One of the fundamental aspects of a common Windows function is drag and drop and copy and paste in SOLIDWORKS.
Copy and Paste SOLIDWORKS Items
What can we copy and paste in SOLIDWORKS? Just about everything! In SOLIDWORKS you can copy and paste:
- Parts within an Assembly
- Assemblies within an Assembly
- Drawing Views and Drawings
It’s very robust. We can copy these items within the same, document to document, and we can even do our initial selection from the feature tree or from the graphics area. The takeaway is if you think you can get some sort of Windows actions with copy and paste or drag and drop, try it! Chances are you will get something that you may work the same way as Windows.
Drag and Drop in SOLIDWORKS
The cousin of copy and paste is drag and drop. The key is that you must press and hold the <Control> key as you drag. In this example, as we hold the <Control> key, we can click on a fillet within the assembly and drop it on a different edge in the same assembly to get a new fillet. Notice that we can also do this from the feature tree as well.
As we are holding the <Control> key, we can click on the filet in the feature tree and drag it to the assembly. As soon as we touch a relevant reference in the model and release the mouse button, you’ll notice that we get the opportunity to apply the filet there as well. Can we do this in multiple documents? Sure can! In this video, I will show you how to do that by applying a 3mm from a part file to a part that’s currently being edited in an assembly file.
Create Drawing View with Copy and Paste
Lastly, we can also create drawing views if we wish. For example, if we:
- Pick the top of a feature tree for a component and select Edit > Copy
- Then go to a drawing and select Edit > Paste
- SOLIDWORKS has now inserted, or pasted, a copy of that component in a model view in the drawing.
Similar functions can be done between drawing views such as copying drawing views from sheet to sheet using the same protocol that we know and love – Edit > Copy > Edit Paste.
Drag and Drop a Reference Plane
One final trick has to do with a super-easy way to create new reference planes. The requirement is that you must have a reference plane visible on your screen. If we want a copy of this reference plane and want the new reference plane to be parallel, just press and hold the <Control> key and click and drag on the perimeter, or the border, of a reference plane, it automatically invokes the reference plane tool with the offset option selected so that you can key in the exact distance you need.
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