Building General Notes from the Bottom up

There’s many old rules in Drafting. Some rules have obsolesced since the popularization of CAD. Other rules are now less common, but still have value for those who employ them. One such rule states that notes and tables may be attached to the top or bottom of the drawing sheet. Numbered notes (such as General Notes) and tables that are attached to the top should be ordered from the top with ascending increments. Conversely, numbered notes and tables attached to the bottom should be ordered from the bottom with ascending increments.

For example, a BOM table attached to the top of a drawing would have the header and the lowest item number at the top of the table, and the highest item number at the bottom of the table.

Top Down BOM

Another example, a BOM table attached to the bottom of a drawing would have the header and the lowest item number at the bottom of the table, and the highest item number at the top of the table. SOLIDWORKS supported these two scenarios for tables since a long time ago. For more information, please see SOLDWORKS Help for tables.

Bottom Up BOM

SOLIDWORKS 2015 introduced the ability to support both scenarios for numbered notes, such as General Notes. This functionality is available via the Paragraph Properties dialog when you edit your annotation note.

Access Paragraph Properties


To set your note numbering to ascend from the bottom, check the Numbering setting and choose the Start from bottom radio button. Make sure to also pick your numbering Type and Format.

Once you select OK, your notes will now be numbered from the bottom.

General Notes From Bottom

In SOLIDWORKS, notes are typically aligned to the Top, so that when you press <ENTER> you create a new line under your text cursor position. However, now that your notes are flowing upwards, this will have the strange behavior of adding new material below your note.

Strange behavior for notes

This is particularly an issue if you are dropping-in individual notes from your Design Library. We got you covered with a setting that’s been in SOLIDWORKS for a very long time. In the note’s PropertyManager, change your alignment from Top to Bottom.

Align Bottom setting

When you add new notes, a line is created over your current text cursor position, instead of under. Bottom up General Notes can be built naturally, even when dropping them in from your Design Library.

Align Bottom setting working

Combining long-standing capabilities with newer functionality in SOLIDWORKS allows you to save time in your daily tasks when creating or revising drawings when applying these traditional drafting rules.


Matt Lorono

Matt Lorono

Product Definition Manager at SolidWorks Dassault Systemes
Applying two decades of engineering field experience to improve and create new SOLIDWORKS products
Matt Lorono
  • Brian Titus

    I can’t believe people still number from bottom up. Hopefully they learn to use the spell checker! Great article nonetheless.

    • fcsuper

      If notes are placed on the bottom, it makes it easier to edit the notes, and it it allows for easier review of changes because the whole note area doesn’t move to add a new note.

      • Brian Titus

        I’m not sure it’s “easier”. But as someone reads from the top of the page to the bottom, it’s much easier to go through the notes from top down rather than bottom up.

        • fcsuper

          I’m not sure about any difference of readability. Everyone is different, and different organizations have different rules. This tip shows that there are accommodations for that diversity. In some companies, the upper left is prime real estate for drawing views, and it just makes more sense to put the notes out of the way in the lower left. Other companies, maybe there isn’t even a lower left, per se, since they are using portrait. There is a wide variety of use cases. Of course, if a company is implementing MBD, this is no longer a consideration.

        • fcsuper

          Everyone is different, and there are different scenarios we are working to support. This tip isn’t for everyone. Do you have a favorite little change in recent releases?

  • Steve Reed

    Matthew, can you tell me how you are (1) inserting the Delta/Triangle (Insert Symbols?), and (2) having the line numbers justified/inline with each other vertically? Are you manually spacing them out?

    • fcsuper

      Everything in the image is possible with settings. Nothing is manually hacked. First, there was a period of time in which paragraphs didn’t line up well. Those issues has been fixed in recent versions of SW. Second (your “1”), you can add deltas (or any border type) to numbers if you used numbered paragraphs. This has been possible for a very long time in SW, but it is much easier in SW2015 to apply. Before, you’d need to double-click on the number to bring up the PropertyMaanger. Now, you only need to single click. A lot of this behavior has been improved and made easier to use in Paragraph Properties dialog (formerly called “Numbering and Bullets”) in SW2015.