Hidden Gems in SOLIDWORKS 2022 That Improve the User Experience
With every SOLIDWORKS annual update, we can expect a few new large enhancements alongside several minor enhancements that help the average user in their day-to-day work lives. In this article, we will take note of the larger enhancements but also focus on the smaller enhancements—the ones that mostly go unnoticed even though they can be a big help to the user.
User Interface Improvements
The Message Bar is a bar at the top of the main SOLIDWORKS window which will provide information about the open document. A user will see four different types of message bars including Information, Acknowledgement, Warning and Error. A message bar doesn’t go away on its own; the user must manually dismiss the message. The messages can warn that your changes will not be saved because it is not currently checked out from the vault, for example.
View Dismissed Messages
In the System Options, there has been a section to view dismissed warning messages for years. Prior to SOLIDWORKS 2022, you would see a message that is truncated from what the entire message was, as shown below.
In SOLIDWORKS 2022, you can now hover over the message to view what the entire original message was, giving the end user complete context of the error message.
Command Search in Shortcut Toolbar
If anyone has asked whether you use the ‘S’ key and you never knew what that meant, it is the Shortcut toolbar. In previous years, you would see one of the following menus pop up at your cursor when you hit the ‘S’ key. This great tool gives the end user the ability to quickly access tools without a lot of mouse travel. You could customize these toolbars in Tools > Customize.
In SOLIDWORKS 2022, you have a lot more functionality where the Command Search is now integrated into the shortcut toolbar. Users now just need to hit the ‘S’ key to activate the search toolbar and then start typing words to find a feature. With the Command Search there, you can now easily add items to the shortcut toolbar from the search function.
General Usability Enhancements
Hover to View Tooltips
Tooltips provide information about items in the System Options when importing mesh files.
To find these tooltips, go to Tools > Options > System Options > Import. Hover over the information icon to display the information.
Import Options Dialog Box
If you drag and drop a non-SOLIDWORKS file into a part file from Windows Explorer, a tooltip prompts you to hold the Alt key to access the Import Options dialog box for the file type. To access the dialog box, just drop the file into the part.
Command Manager Tab When Importing
The appropriate Command Manager tab opens when you import mesh models with file formats of STL, OBJ, OFF, PLY or PLY2. Also, if you import mesh models as solid or surface bodies, the Data Migration Command Manager will appear. If you were to import mesh files as graphic bodies, the Mesh Modeling Command Manager tab will appear. If the tabs do not appear automatically, a notification prompts the user to use the appropriate tab to edit the model.
Updated DXF/DWG Import Dialog
The DXF/DWG Import dialog displays the options in a more obvious location in the Tools > Options and has an updated user interface.
2D to 3D Toolbar Tooltip
A new tooltip will appear when importing a drawing into a part file which points out the 2D to 3D toolbar. The tooltip will disappear after clicking in the graphics area.
Tooltip on Align Toolbar
On the Align toolbar, a tooltip will show the user when the selected sketch entities are aligned. This will help the user align 2D files that are imported to use as references while creating 3D geometry. Previously, there was no such indication.
Updated Selection Sets
Selection sets were added to SOLIDWORKS a few years ago, and they help when you have to select several entities multiple times. However, you could only name the selection set. Now, users can add a comment inside the Feature Manager design tree.
There is now a new way to create selection sets while in a group box inside the Property Manager. When you select entities and they are populated in the group box, you can right click and select “Save Selection” to create the selection set. The selection set will then show up in the Feature Manager design tree as usual.
Change Display of Component Names and Descriptions
Traditionally in SOLIDWORKS Assemblies you will see various information after a component, such as the Configuration Name or Display State name.
In SOLIDWORKS 2022, there are some new options to change how this information is arranged so it looks less cluttered with all the information visible at once. To see information this way, click on the assembly or a component in the Feature Manager design tree and click on Tree Display > Component Name and Description.
A new menu will come up that allows the user to select what is shown in the Feature Manager design tree. This menu simplifies the process in which these items are removed, compared to previous versions of SOLIDWORKS.
When these items are selected, the only things that will show up in the tree is what is chosen above. The Component Name and Description replaces options that were previously available when looking at the Feature Manager Design Tree display, including:
- Show Component Names
- Show Component Description
- Show Component Configuration Names
- Show Component Configuration Descriptions
- Show Display State Names
- Do not show Configuration/Display State Names if only one exists
Quick Copy in the Measure Tool
In the Measure tool, a user can turn on the Quick Copy setting, allowing them to use it to copy a value within the Measure dialogue box for a value along with its units.
Better Matches with 3D Textures
If you use 3D Textures often, you will notice it will take a lot less time to refine the mesh and it will better match the detail in the textural appearance image. Also, the maximum element size allowed is now reduced in size.
While viewing your model in Shaded with Edges mode dynamically, silhouette edges will be rendered faster.
Updated System Options and Document Properties
There are several updates to the System Options and Document Properties that give the user additional functionality and efficiency. Rather than list them here, see click on this link: Options Updates
Show Bend Lines in Sheet Metal
Those who use the Sheet Metal features in SOLIDWORKS know that when the flat pattern is added to the drawing, the bend lines only show in the sketch. Now in SOLIDWORKS 2022 there is an option the show bend lines under the menu: View > Hide/Show > Bend Lines or Sketches
This is a big improvement because many users do not want sketches showing in their drawings, but do want bend lines to show as an aid to their fabricators.
More Enhancements to Come
Each year SOLIDWORKS adds many improvements to the software, and this article has shown a small amount of the more than 200 enhancements to SOLIDWORKS this year. If you would like to check out more enhancements to SOLIDWORKS 2022, you can view them for yourself here What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2022.
See more new enhancements in SOLIDWORKS 2022 with the ebook SOLIDWORKS 2022 Enhancements to Streamline and Accelerate Your Entire Product Development Process.