Technical Tip: The Shortcut Bar (“S” Key)

This blog post is the sixth in a series of technical tips about the SolidWorks User Interface. Call the series "Everything you wanted to know about —–, but were afraid to ask". The first few posts will be about the various types of toolbars available in the system. This post is about the SolidWorks Shortcut Bar ("S" Key).

The Shortcut Toolbar ("S" Key)

The Shortcut Bar is a user customizable toolbar that was introduced in SolidWorks 2008. The intention of the Shortcut Bar is to allow users access to commonly used commands in different "environments" with very little mouse movement. There are four versions of the Shortcut Bar, one each for parts, assemblies, drawings, and sketches (the default Shortcut Bar for each environment are shown below):


To invoke the Shortcut Bar, simply hit the S key and the Shortcut Bar will popup right next to the mouse. The Shortcut Bar disappears as soon as you select a command from it or click anywhere else in the SolidWorks application window. The keyboard shortcut used to invoke the Shortcut Bar can be redefined in the Others category in Tools, Customize, Keyboard if desired.

To customize what commands are on the Shortcut Bar, when the Shortcut Bar is up, choose Customize from the right mouse button shortcut menu on the Shortcut Bar as shown below:


The Customize dialog will open to the Commands tab and you can customize buttons on/off of the Shortcut Bar like any other toolbar. When the Customize dialog is up, you can also resize the shape of the Shortcut Bar by dragging any one of the edges. Repeat the procedure in each of the document modes to customize the four versions of the Shortcut Bar.

The Shortcut Bar is a good interface for users who want access to many commands with little mouse movement, yet don't want to have to memorize many individual keyboard shortcuts. Many power users have adopted the Shortcut Bar as their primary interface to accessing commands, hiding the CommandManager and regular toolbars so they have a very large area for their model display.

If users see anything I have missed about the Shortcut Bar in this blog post, please comment and I will try to update the blog.

The last topic in the series about toolbars will be:

  • Context Toolbars


Jim Wilkinson

Jim Wilkinson

Jim Wilkinson

Jim is Vice President, User Experience Architecture at Dassault Systemès SolidWorks Corporation