SolidWorks Navigation - 9 Model Orientation Shortcuts

SolidWorks Navigation - 9 Model Orientation Shortcuts
Posted in: Mechanical Design
April 2, 2014

SolidWorks navigation in the graphics area can sometimes be a challenge. There are some very useful clicks to help you see your model exactly the way you want! Check out the list below:

1.       [Space Bar]: Hitting the space bar brings up the Orientation dialog, so you can select on the view you wish to see.

SolidWorks Navigation - model orientation shortcuts - space bar

2.       [Ctrl+Space Bar]: This allows you to see the View Selector cube! Then you can select the cube face for the orientation in which you wish to see your model.

SolidWorks Navigation - model orientation shortcuts - ctrl+space bar

 3.       Reference Triad: You can click on the reference triad, in the lower left-hand corner of the graphics area,  to see your Front/Back, Left/Right, and Top/Bottom views.

SolidWorks Navigation - model orientation shortcuts - reference triad

a.      Clicking once on the red 'X' gets you the Right view, clicking again will spin the model 180 degrees to get you the Left view.

b.      Clicking once on the green 'Y' gets you the Top view, clicking again gets you the Bottom view.

c.       Clicking once on the blue 'Z' gets you the Front view, clicking again gets you the Back view.

d.      Alt+Clicking on X, Y, or Z rotates the model around that axis at set angle increments (Tools->Options->View->View Rotation->Arrow Keys).

e.      Shift+Clicking on X, Y, or Z rotates the model around that axis at 90 degree increments.

 4.      Select a face, then use the Normal To: This allows you to look normal to any face you had selected., i.e. the face will be parallel to your display screen.

SolidWorks Navigation - model orientation shortcuts - select face, normal to

Note:  You can specify the exact orientation by pre-selecting two faces before hitting the Normal To button.  The first face that is clicked will orientate to be normal to your screen; the second face will be facing in the up, or top direction.

5.       [Ctrl+MMB] (Middle Mouse Button): this allows you to pan your part/assembly across your screen. To get this motion hold Ctrl+MMB and move mouse in the direction you wish to pan the part. In a drawing you only need your MMB to pan the drawing across the screen.

6.       [Alt+MMB]: Rotates, or “rolls” the part in 2D around a vector normal to your screen. Move your mouse around in a circular motion to get this behavior.

7.       Rotate about a Vertex, edge, or face: Middle Mouse Button (MMB)-click a vertex, edge, or face (to define the entity to which you want to constrain it); then hold down the wheel and drag as you usually do to get the motion desired motion.   This is great for spinning a wheel, swinging a door, etc.

8.       Shift+MMB: Zooms the part In and Out. You need to hold Shift+MMB and by moving the mouse up, you zoom in, and by moving it down, you zoom out.

SolidWorks Navigation - model orientation shortcuts - shift + mmb

9.       [G] key:  Brings up magnifying glass so you can zoom in to a smaller, local area within the glass circle.

As you can see, there are numerous ways to navigate the world of SolidWorks! I hope you’re more successful in saving time and maneuvering your part around with these tips on model orientation commands.

April 2, 2014
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Greg Fox
July 19, 2016
What are the Angle Orientations, relative to the three standard planes? What is the 3D protractor for the space. For example, if the front plane is normal to the screen, and you an object's right side clockwise are you moving form 0 degrees out from the screen. Are the numbers positive or negative, or is say 359, 57, 56, or 1, 2, 3 degrees etc. The reason I ask, is to figure out the angle orientation of helices starting at different angles when sketches are on different planes. Another words, If you start on the front plane, what angle is the helix starting at? Hope this makes sense.
Amy Surprenant
August 3, 2016
Hi Greg, Please see this image for reference: For further clarification please contact your reseller. It should following standard orientation of graphing.

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