Author: Jim Peltier, CSWE – Javelin Technologies
Let’s say you’ve created a feature in SOLIDWORKS that you really like. If you really like something, you want more of it; so rather than re-creating it, we are going to copy and paste it. Copying SOLIDWORKS features is as easy as copying text in a document or files in Windows Explorer. Let’s take a simple example:
Two methods of copying SOLIDWORKS features:
- The first is to hold down the CTRL key, then drag & drop the feature to where you want to copy it to.
- The second method is to use CTRL+C, then pick where you want it to paste to and use CTRL+V.
Behold the result:
I should point out that they are not parametrically linked. If I make a change to the original feature it has no effect on the newly copied feature. This works for Boss-Extrudes, Cut-Extrudes, Fillets and Chamfers,Revolves, and Hole Wizard Holes.
Copying from one part to another
But, perhaps more excitedly, I am not limited to using them in a single part file. I can copy them from one part file to another! If I want to use the CTRL+Drag method, I need to have both windows shown simultaneously (Window > Tile Horizontally, or Window > Tile Vertically):
In the screenshot I show CTRL+Drag, but you could also CTRL+C, then switch to the other part file, pick your target surface and CTRL+V.
Copying Assembly Features
Now you probably go to try this with assemblies, but realize that it doesn’t work exactly the same way, but it does still work, but with limited functionality:
Firstly, I can’t use CTRL+Drag to copy a feature in an assembly. CTRL+Drag already copies components within an assembly. I can, however, use CTRL+C and CTRL+V to copy certain features. I can’t copy a feature that adds material (such as Boss-Extrude), but I can do most of the other features. It adds them as Assembly Features, which is why it won’t allow Boss-Extrude. When it adds the assembly feature, by default it will not propagate to parts (although you can toggle the propagate feature to parts setting).
But wait, you can also move features
In addition to copying features, I can also move features using SHIFT+Drag & Drop or using CTRL+X, CTRL+V under the same circumstances as described above.