Sketching Enhancements in SOLIDWORKS 2017

Sketching Enhancements in SOLIDWORKS 2017
Posted in: Mechanical Design
February 22, 2017

It's time for the new version of SOLIDWORKS! There are always many great enhancements, but I’m always excited to see what SOLIDWORKS implements to the tools that we all use the most. In this article, I’m going to cover the top enhancements now in sketching.

The first enhancement I want to highlight is the right mouse click menu has been greatly improved. I’m going to create the base feature for a part. While in sketch mode, when you right-click in the graphics area and select Sketch Entities, the sketch tools are nicely laid out and grouped into similar sections. This makes it easy to quickly activate the sketch tools you’re looking for.

Sketch Entities


So I sketched the geometry that I wanted, but I didn’t take the time fully define it with dimensions (sketch relations were added, but are hidden in the image below). Let’s say I wanted to move my sketch to a different location. So I can click and drag the profile, right? If you’ve ever done this before, you know that doing so would significantly skew and distort your sketch. You would have to select all sketch geometry to use the Move tool to drag sketch contours.

Sketch Contours


This brings up the next enhancement I want to show you: Shaded Sketch Contours. This option can be enabled by clicking Tools > Sketch Settings > Shaded sketch contours. With this option on, you’ll notice a few things as you sketch. The first profile you create will be shaded, indicating you have a closed contour right from the get go. If you click and drag within the shaded region, you can easily move under defined sketch geometry. What a huge time saver!

Here are some advantages of the Shaded Sketch Contours option:

  • You can select the shaded region to move the sketch around without it distorting.
  • You can visually tell if your profile is closed.
  • You can create nested contours and activate the Contour Selection tool by pressing ALT

To illustrate the last point, I sketched some additional geometry. By holding ALT, I can select the contour I want to use for a feature.

Select Sketch Contour


Upon making your selection, you’ll notice a shortcut pop up by your cursor to create an Extruded Boss/Base.

Extrude Pop-Up
Extrude Boss/Base


These are just some of the exciting enhancements with the release of SOLIDWORKS 2017. Check out our blog and YouTube channel for more “What’s New” information and thanks for reading!


February 22, 2017
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