Final Five Favorite Features of SOLIDWORKS 2024

It feels like Christmas! And for SOLIDWORKS users, this means the latest version of SOLIDWORKS is due to be released. And everyone is wondering: What new improvements or new features will we get this year?

I have been fortunate enough to get my hands on the prerelease of next year’s version, and had a chance to look at some of the features that I’ve been hearing about.

Over the course of three articles, this one being the last, I review some of the new features of SOLIDWORKS 2024. For this final article, I will focus on the new drawing features.

Each feature will get a small description of how to use it, as well as a final review. Each feature will receive a rating of 1 to 5 “Trains.”

Reattach Dangling Dimensions

Every SOLIDWORKS user has been in a situation where the 3D model has changed and as a result your dimension becomes dangling, which means it can no longer find its original attached location.

What does it do?

While it was possible to reattach the dimension by dragging it into place, it may be troublesome to do so. In SOLIDWORKS 2024, it has become much easier to reattach dangling dimensions. You can do it with just two clicks.

How to use it?

When you have a dimension that is dangling, as seen above, simply right click on it and select reattach.

After the reattach command is activated, you can see the “unattached points” marked with red.

The point you are currently working in has a little red X.

As you can see in the animation below, once you have attached the first dimension, the other attachment point becomes active and you can attach that one, as well.

Do we need it?

This can be a huge time-saver, because we no longer must drag the dimension into place. It is simple and intuitive to use, which is why I am giving it 5 trains.

Keep Link Property Dialog Box Open

When creating a custom property link from model to Drawing in SOLIDWORKS, a surefire way to get the correct properties is by selecting them with the property Dialog box.

What does it do?

In previous versions, the dialog box closed whenever you had created one property link, and you had to reopen it to add another value to the annotation.

For instance, if you wanted to add the value “description” and “number” to a certain note, you first had to add description and press OK and then open the dialog box again and select the number.

However, in SOLIDWORKS 2024 the dialog box stays open until you decide to close it.

How to use it?

With a text annotation activated, press the “Link to property” button. Select the first property you want to add and press “Add.”

Select the other property you want to add and either press Add if you want to add more, or just click OK if you only want to add that property.

The end result is a dynamic textbox that updates as you change the custom properties.

Do we need it?

Working with support, I know many companies who use multiple properties in their description. While you can do this within a single line on the model, it’s a very good solution when setting up your link to properties in a text.

This will get 4 out of 5 trains.

Overridden Dimensions

In SOLIDWORKS, you might find it useful to overwrite a dimension manually on a drawing. However, when opening the drawing after a couple of months, it can be difficult to see which dimension has been changed.

In SOLIDWORKS 2024 it has become a lot easier to find your changed dimension.

What does it do?

This new feature gives your changed dimension a specific color which makes it stand out compared to the other dimensions.

How to use it?

It is already active by default. To test it simply select a dimension and press “override dimension.” Change it and you can see the dimension has changed.

You can, of course, set the color yourself. Simply go to Options > System Options > Colors.

Within the color scheme, you can find the line “Drawing, overridden dimensions.”
If you want this rule to apply to drawings pre-SOLIDWORKS 2024, you have to reload your drafting standard.

Pro Tip: If you decide to use the original value again, simply right click on the dimension and press “Restore Original Value.”

Do we need it?

This feature has its merits, especially with older drawings, as it makes it a lot easier to find dimensions that have been changed manually. In my previous employment, I would often find myself searching for old dimensions that had been changed.

Out of sheer nostalgia, I am giving this 5 out of 5 trains.

Highlight Referenced Elements

This turned out to be a favorite of mine once I got to know it. When selecting a dimension, you can see where it is referenced. This means that you can see if it is a point-to-point selection.

How to use it?

This is a document setting, which means that you want to add it to your template.

Go to Tools > Options > Document Properties > Detailing.

In this pane, you will find a checkmark for “Highlight associated elements on reference dimension selection.”

With that checkmark set, you can see the first measurement selected is the bottom line for my measurement.

And in the second measurement, I selected the two vertical lines.

And then, with the third dimension I selected two points.

Do we need it?

As I wrote earlier, I really like this feature as it can help you find out how you have dimensioned your model.

This feature is also rated 5 out of 5 trains.

Keeping Chain Dimensions Colinear

A lot of users have requested this one, as most users of the chain dimensions prefer their arrows to be colinear.

What does it do?

This is a purely cosmetic change but a great addition nonetheless.  It ensures that your chain dimension is colinear at all times, no matter how small the space is.

How to use it?

This is a document setting. Go to Options > Document Properties > Dimension > Linear > Chain Dimensions

You actually have two options. To avoid having the text and the arrowheads overlap, you can put a check mark in “offset text automatically when space is limited.” If you are using the ANSI or ISO drafting standard, this checkmark is added automatically in your options. However, if you want to ensure that the arrowheads do not overlap, you can make a decision on what should be done.

Under “When Arrowheads overlap substitute arrowhead termination automatically with” you can select either Points or Oblique Strokes.

If you are using the ISO drafting standard, this checkmark is added automatically in your options.

The result is as you can see below.

Do we need it?

It is a great addition to the options for the chain dimensions and I know quite a few people who will be very pleased with it. You still have the option to use the chain dimension as you want to, and you are not chained down (see what I did there?) to only one option.

This is why I am giving this new feature 5 out of 5 trains.

I really like all these additions to the drawing and sketching environment. There is no absolute favorite. They are all good ways to create drawings, spot errors and troubleshoot.

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