Two of the Most Under-Appreciated Tools in the SOLIDWORKS Sketcher

When teaching a SOLIDWORKS Essentials Class, my favorite day is typically the day we go over Lesson 8, Editing: Repairs. Some may argue that this is a difficult lesson and we should spend our time making models, not fixing broken ones.

My argument against that (and what I tell my students) is, you can’t assume every model you come across will be created with good design intent, or that the designer had any clue about what they were doing. (Not everyone using SOLIDWORKS has been through a formal training class) I make a similar argument about bike safety with my kids. I trust YOU, I just don’t trust everyone else! But I digress.

Back to Lesson 8 and, in my opinion, the most under-appreciated tools in the SOLIDWORKS sketcher. When opening the file for the lesson, we are greeted by the following FeatureManager Tree, and dialog.

Overwhelming, I know. But through the course of the lesson, we work through the problems and end up with a fully-functioning model.

Many of the issues are problems with the sketches. Rather than leaving you to fend for yourself, SOLIDWORKS gives us some pretty neat tools:

One of the errors that you see is: “The sketch cannot be used for a feature because an endpoint is wrongly shared by multiple entities”.  This is the perfect time to use the first tool.

  1. Check Sketch for Feature. This tool gives a list of all the features we would want to use a sketch for, and tells us what the requirements of that type of sketch are. For example, when extruding for a base extrude it requires a Closed Contour (multiple/disjoint supported) this helps identify where the problematic areas are within the sketch.

When you click “check”, it will show you if there are any problems with the sketch.

If it finds a problem, like an open gap, or overlapping geometry, it will point it out using the Magnifying glass tool.

For this simple sketch, it wouldn’t have taken too long to find a problem manually, but for sketches with much more complexity, this tool is a huge time saver!


  1. SketchXpert. On the other side of the spectrum, when you accidentally overdefine a sketch, SketchXpert will diagnose the sketch and actually show you different ways to resolve it. This is one of my favorite sketch tools in SOLIDWORKS. How many times have you been happily sketching along, then all of a sudden:

By clicking the “Over Defined” message at the bottom of your screen (on the status bar), it will bring up the SketchXpert Tool.

The diagnose button will run through a list of solutions which remove conflicting relations and allows you to choose which solution set is best! Sometimes good, sometimes, unexpected.

Scroll through the solutions until you find an acceptable one, click accept, and you can continue your design.


I love introducing these two features to students, but you don’t have to be a novice to enjoy the benefits of these great tools. Everyone runs into a sketch problem here and there, but don’t worry, SOLIDWORKS has your back!

Thanks for reading, and happy modelling!

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