Shortcut Menu Customization
In part 1 we looked at mouse gestures and keyboard shortcuts and how they can make our modelling process quicker and more efficient. In part 2, we will look at a few other customization that can further improve our workflow, we will focus on altering menus to allow easy access to our commonly used palette of tools and options.
Heads Up Display and Command Manager
The Heads Up Display is the little menu that appears just at the top of the graphics area and deals mainly with views and view settings. Its packed full of handy functions but there are a few tweaks that make life just that little bit easier. I like to put a “normal to” button on here, giving me even quicker access. To add a command to this display go to Tools> Customize…. And click on the commands tab, and you’ll find every command icon from SOLIDWORKS, simply drag the icon you want onto the heads up display, if you put something in by mistake drag it back onto the dialog window or into the graphics area to drop it back in.
Similar actions can be taken to add additional feature icons to the command manager tabs, simply drag an icon from the menu onto the appropriate tab and the icon will stick, it is also a good idea to remove any icons from the command manager that you seldom use, thus streamlining your command manager down to the features you actually use.
It is also little known that you can add new tabs or menus to the command manager, allowing you to create a bespoke tab.
Right Click on the CommandManager Tabs and click Customize CommandManager…
Click Add Tab and select new tab (or you could at this point dock any other toolbar to the CommandManager by selecting it)
Give your new tab a name and start to drag the required features onto the tab.
Right mouse click menus
As SOLIDWORKS Users we are used to the right click menus popping up but it’s fair to say that these menus are massive meaning it can often take a while to find what you need, having a spring clean of these menus to remove the unwanted options could save a couple of seconds of searching. Expand the menu and click “customize menu” at the very bottom, you can now activate or deactivate options as required.
The context sensitive toolbar that appears at the top of this list is also a good way of reducing unwanted mouse movement (the subject of part 1 of this blog) this can be customized to bring frequent commands and options closer to the mouse when you right or left click on your model, again it can be customized to your liking (right click in the toolbox and click customize), bringing common commands to the mouse pointer.
The final bit of functionality I want to highlight is the shortcut toolbar, this appears when you press the S key on your keyboard, it pops up a small toolbar near where you are working showing a number of common functions you might use. Similar to mouse gestures it varies depending on your environment (Sketch, Part, Assembly or Drawing) and can be customized to have common functions close to where you are working. (I’ve even seen an applications engineer use a mouse gesture to activate this menu so he doesn’t have to go near his keyboard!)
The SOLIDWORKS interface is designed to be customized in a way that it works with the users workflow not against it. Efficiency is a hugely important part of the modern design process; with lead times and design cycles getting ever shorter anything that saves time is important as it gives you more time to do what your good at – design!