While these SolidWorks speed moves are written for people who are preparing to take the SolidWorks CSWA (Certified SolidWorks Associate), SolidWorks CSWP (Certified SolidWorks Professional), CSWE (Certified SolidWorks Expert) or some other exam, they can (and should!) be used by anyone who wants to be fluidly proficient in SolidWorks.
These take practice. It will be slower at first, but after 2 weeks or less of constant usage you will be equal to your current speed. After 1 month, you will be faster. After 2 months, you will be significantly faster. After 6 months, you will impatiently push hot keys on people you see driving SolidWorks, just like how you press an imaginary gas-pedal when in the passenger seat next to your mother-in-law driving.
Before we give our favorite speed moves, here are 3 strong suggestions:
- Don’t try to do things in a test that you don’t do regularly in your job. Practice these until you are proficient.
- Force yourself to practice by going into Jedi Training Mode: Set this up by pressing [Ctrl+F1] to hide the Task Pane, [F9] to hide Feature Manager Tabs, and [F10] to hide Command Manager.
- If you find yourself NOT using hot keys, due to testing pressure, take a deep breath and slow down. A zebra can outrun a lion, but lions feast on zebras by surrounding them and having them exhaust themselves by running in circles. Don’t let a few lion-like questions put you in a frantic “zebra” mental state.
Speed Move #1
[S] – Shortcut-superman key. This shortcut key is genius and context sensitive. It will adjust depending on what type of file you are working on and what you are doing in that file (for example: making a sketch in part mode is different from inserting a part in a drawing).
Speed Move #2
Mouse Gestures – Mouse gestures are also context sensitive. Some people are better at using this in sketch mode than anywhere else. For those of you who don’t know how to activate mouse gestures, hold your right mouse button down and drag. You will see a circle with 4 or 8 different icons in a ring surrounding your mouse cursor. Simply sweep the cursor to one of the icons.
Speed Move #3
[Ctrl+8] – Orient normal to plane. Get away from using the view cube or the heads-up display. Both of those take multiple clicks.
Speed Move #4
[F] – Fit on screen.
Speed Move #5
[Ctrl+Tab] – Toggle between open files.
Speed Move #6
[Enter] – Repeat previous command.
Speed Move #7
Right mouse button (context sensitive) – This opens a good number of commands.
Speed Move #8
[Ctrl+ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] – Orientation. These seem difficult to remember at first but it makes sense if you think about it: [Control+1] – TOP, [Control+2] – BOTTOM, [Control+3] – RIGHT, etc.…
Speed Move #9
[A] – Toggle between an arc and a line in skech mode, or different “types” in sketch mode. For instance, a center point rectangle vs a corner rectangle.
Speed Move #10
Standard window hot keys [Ctrl+Z] – undo, [Ctrl+C] – copy, [Ctrl+V] – paste, [Ctrl+N] – new, [Ctrl+O] – open.
These are listed in order of our usage preferences. For example, use “Mouse Gestures” (#2) over “Right Mouse Button” (#7), so we suggest to learn them in that order. You can also check out our SolidWorks Aptitude Test and see where you rank within the community. Included questions come from the SolidWorks CSWA and SolidWorks CSWP exams.
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