How to customize SOLIDWORKS to increase efficiency

SOLIDWORKS has always been highly customizable, including keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures and almost everything else! Setting SOLIDWORKS up how you like it allows for a more streamlined and much more efficient design process.

Using the right mouse button (RMB) on the command manager generates a selection box where you can customise the various sections. Alternatively, the same command is available under: ‘Tools > Options’.

Customization 1: Shortcut bars

By default, the ‘S’ key is used to display a user defined set of commands next to the cursor for each of the following modes; part, assembly, drawing and sketch as seen below. There is a vast library of commands to choose from and the shortcut bar can be edited just by simply dragging and dropping the necessary commands into the bar on the right hand side. The ‘S’ key is also used to activate the command search.


SOLIDWORKS customize 3

Customization 2: Mouse gestures

Mouse gesture customization allows you to choose either 4 or 8 gestures (see below). These can then be assigned to various commands by selecting the relevant gesture from the command drop down list.



Tip: For maximum customization, you could always link one of the mouse gestures to the shortcut bar command, which can be found by typing in ‘shortcut’. (Which enables you user to only use one hand, and have an infinite number of commands on one gesture!)

Once these have been assigned, when working within a document all the user has to do is hold down the RMB and move the mouse in a direction (as assigned) and the relevant command will pop up.

Customization 3: Keyboard shortcuts

This is very similar to mouse gestures, however instead of selecting a gesture, the user specifies a keyboard selection next to a relevant command. These are controlled globally and not at each level, i.e. part/assemly, etc. There are a number of keyboard shortcuts already defined within the install, which can be re-assigned if the “Reset to Defaults” command is selected, as seen in here.


SOLIDWORKS Customisation 6


Customization 4: Menus

The drop down lists are also customizable. Here you can choose which commands appear.
SOLIDWORKS Customisation 8

SOLIDWORKS Customisation 7
Custom menu example.



Customization 5: Toolbars

It used to be common practice for a user to have all of their most commonly used commands ‘to hand’ within the interface for swifter modelling. These can be enabled/disabled via the toolbars tab. The main limitation with this is the reduction of the working environment.

This is a false economy, because of the ability to use all of the other customizable areas in order to obtain the same results whilst not affecting the working area.

The icon size is also adjustable to three different sizes as seen below.


SOLIDWORKS Customisation 9SOLIDWORKS Customisation 10

Customization 6: Drag and drop

Dragging and dropping commands in a specified location enables the user to really customize their design process for their particular needs. They can be dragged from the customize command window onto the interface or just within the interface itself. This enables such things as the heads-up view toolbar and command manager to be rearranged. It is as simple as it sounds!


Customization 7: Reset to defaults

If you’ve changed any of the above and want to start from scratch, you can easily reset shortcut and interface (menu) customization. Additionally if a print of the various customization would be useful then this can be obtained via the show all command, as seen here.


SOLIDWORKS Customisation 11

Customization 8: Copy settings wizard

When upgrading to another version of the software or moving to another machine, to save the user starting all over again with their customization, SOLIDWORKS have provided a separate tool called the ‘Copy Settings Wizard’ within the install allowing these customization to be transferred. This can be found within ‘All Programs-SOLIDWORKS Tools’. It is a very simple program which can be seen below. Always ensure that the current settings are saved before attempting to uninstall the software! Failure to do so will result in all of the settings being lost!


SOLIDWORKS Customisation 12


We hope you found that useful!

Have you seen our blog archive where we have posted plenty of helpful articles? We also have a fantastic video library filled with easy-to-follow videos on a number of topics inspired by other SOLIDWORKS users – take a look.

Also, don’t forget to follow us on twitter for daily bite-sized SOLIDWORKS tips, tricks and videos.


Innova Systems
We specialise in the supply, technical support and training of SOLIDWORKS software. Based in Cambridge we have a central location to service a UK wide customer base. We offer the skills and experience to help you develop new products using SOLIDWORKS - empowering smarter, faster and more cost effective design. We've been recognised by SOLIDWORKS Corporation for providing the highest rated customer support in Northern Europe in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Email: / Telephone: 01223 200690.
Innova Systems
Innova Systems

Latest posts by Innova Systems (see all)