Tinndahl’s Tips for SOLIDWORKS Customization

One of the main advantages of SOLIDWORKS is the ability to customize your entire workspace.

In this article I will show how you can customize your work experience and make it easier for you to work smarter, not harder.

Customizing Your Layout

When it comes to your workspace, there are many different options and no right answers. Everyone has their own preferences. As a SOLIDWORKS technical specialist, I have seen many different layouts. Here are two extremes.

First, a work screen with all toolbars and shortcuts visible. This layout does make the actual workspace much smaller, but all the buttons are within your view.

Second, here is a workspace that relies entirely on shortcuts. Of course, this view takes some getting used to. It is all a matter of taste.

I am sure that there are different opinions on what is best and how you get the most efficient workflow. Who am I to judge?

Here’s how to customize your workspace and what tools you have at your disposal.

To access the tools, you need to have a file open. Then right click on the toolbar and press “Customize…” or go to “Tools” and “Customize.”

Or you can use the shortcut as shown below:

Either way, you get a series of tabs that you can access to customize your work experience.


The main function of this tab is to turn your different toolbars on and off (A) but you can also (to a certain degree) determine the look of the toolbar (B) and (C).

If you are just starting out in SOLIDWORKS, or if you are a little rusty, you can turn on the tool tips (D).

If you hover over a feature, you will get a small explanation on how to use the feature. This can be quite helpful if you are a new user.

The context toolbar (E) is a toolbar that appears whenever you click somewhere in your workspace. This toolbar is populated by the most common commands and actions for your selection. These commands vary depending on what you have selected.

For instance, if you select a face, the menu looks different than when you select an edge.

Finally, you can also select the location of the quick access tools (F).

The quick access tools are your “New,” “Open,” “Save” etc. You can either have them shown on the menu bar…

…or within the command manager.

Once you are satisfied with your toolbars, you can lock the toolbars to prevent further editing (G). Locking will prevent you from accidently moving the toolbars.

Shortcut Bars

The shortcut key (S) is your best friend when it comes to customizing your workflow.

This tab lets you customize it to your needs.

There are different menus in the S key depending on if you are using parts, assemblies, drawings or sketches.

If you want to add a specific shortcut to, for instance, your sketch toolbar, select it (1) and search for the shortcut. Then drag it to the menu.

Another way of adding shortcuts to the S-key is by simply pressing “S” and in the bottom of the menu there will be a search bar.

Search for a specific menu item and when you find it, you can add it by pressing the plus sign. To remove it, open the customization menu.


The “Commands” pane is used to customize your toolbars.

Find the command that you want to use either by searching for it (1) or locating it using the menu (2).

Once you have found the command you want, hold down the left mouse button and drag it to one of the standard toolbars or to your own customized toolbar.

If you want to remove a command from the toolbar you can hold down the left mouse button and drag it out of the toolbar. It will be deleted from the toolbar.


The “Menus” tab is where you can put your own special touch on the top menu of SOLIDWORKS.

You can move the commands (and rename them) as you wish.  It is also possible to create your own commands and move the existing commands to different sub-commands. For example, if you wanted to change the location of the fillet command, you can find it in Insert > Features > Fillet/round.

After you select the menu, you get a few options:

You can decide which menu it is to appear in…

 …and where in the menu it is to appear.

If I want to rename the menu, I can also do it here.

Keyboard Tab

The keyboard tab is probably the most used tab. Its function is mostly self-explanatory: search for a specific command (1) and set up a keyboard shortcut (2).

If you need to print the list (3), you can copy it to your clipboard (4) and insert it into a Word document.

It is not possible to attach the same keyboard shortcut to two commands.

Mouse Gestures

Mouse gestures are very powerful shortcuts that put 12 more shortcuts on your right mouse button.

In order to get started with mouse gestures, you need to enable them, which can be done within this Tab (1). Mouse gestures are enabled by default.

Next, select the number of gestures you want available (2). You can select 2 vertical, 2 horizontal, 4 (default), 8 and 12.

After enabling mouse gestures and deciding on the number, you can customize them to suit your workflow.

You can search for a specific command. For example, take Fillet and drag it to the “Part” gesture guide.

You can only drag a command to a guide that is relevant for that command. For example, you cannot drag “Fillet” to the “Drawing” Gesture guide.

To use the mouse gestures, hold down the right mouse button and make the gesture that corresponds to the command you assigned. For example, if you assigned the Fillet command to a the top gesture, make that motion with your mouse while holding down the right mouse button.

The Fillet command should then appear, allowing you to adjust the parameters and execute the command.

Lennart is a Software Specialist, with 17 years of experience with SOLIDWORKS. He has given presentations at 3DEXPERIENCE World, written articles for the SOLIDWORKS tech blog and is a regular contributor at the 3DEXPERIENCE EDU forum. In 2023, he became an Elite Application Engineer and is constantly working to improve his Knowledge of SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE. He is also the creator of the LinkedIn series, “Tinndahl’s Tip from the Train” as well as “3DEXPERIENCE Made Simple.” Currently he works at PLMgroup in Denmark, helping SOLIDWORKS Users “Work Smarter, Not Harder.”

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