So you have been using SoidWorks for a while and you think you have an efficient system to get things done quickly, but you wonder if you really are using all the shortcuts that are available out there. Here is a quick list of my top 5 Time saving shortcuts for everyday use.
5. "F"- Zoom to fit. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen cases where a user, maybe even myself, has added a mate in an assembly or rotated a part and seemingly lost the entire thing. Sometimes we get a little overzealous with the scroll wheel... by using the "F" key your model will magically appear in the center of your screen.
4. Automatic tangent arc- this is something that is commonly used in many types of models. first, while active in the line command, click to place the first point of your first line. Then, click and release to place the second endpoint and automatically start the next line. At this point you may either hover over the previous endpoint, or type "a" for arc to activate the tangent arc command. Once the second point of the arc is placed, the line command automatically comes back.
3. Space bar- the spacebar will bring up all standard and named views such as Front, Top, Right, etc. The great thing is that this menu pops up on you screen wherever your mouse pointer is at the time the space bar is pressed. From here, you simply need to double click on the desired view.
2. The shortcut toolbar- This fully customizable toolbar is FANTASTIC! It is environment specific. So, when in a drawing you are presented with drawing related commands, when in a sketch you are presented with sketch related commands and so on... To activate this toolbar, simply type "S" for shortcut and an on-screen popup will appear next to you mouse pointer. To customize what appears here, right click within the toolbar and the only option will be to "customize".
1. This contest for number 1 and number 2 was a very close call, but Mouse Gestures prevailed. The main reason being that you can add the shortcut toolbar into the mouse gestures menu if you so desire. Mouse gestures are activated by holding down and moving your right mouse button (versions 2010 and later). A wheel will appear and you simply have to mouse over the command you desire to activate it. This is also environment specific, and may be customized through the customize dialog to include 4 or 8 divisions in the circle as well as the contents per environment.
The biggest reason to start using these shortcuts, is to eliminate the time your mouse pointer spends away from the model. You will be surprised the productivity increase you will see once you start training yourself to leverage these shortcuts.
Until next time...