What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2022: User Experience Improvements
SOLIDWORKS is in its 30th year and shows no signs of slowing down. With the release of SOLIDWORKS 2022, the software has become even better. What started in 1993 as an easy-to-use CAD program on a Windows Desktop has become a powerhouse that provides a truly amazing user experience. Despite its power, SOLIDWORKS remains intuitive and easy to use.
Even after nearly three decades, the SOLIDWORKS user experience continues to improve with each release. Although the program has attained a different look and feel over the years, the DNA of SOLIDWORKS—ease of use—is still apparent. In fact, SOLIDWORKS may be easier to use than ever. Geometry can be created using fewer clicks, for example, letting engineers focus on designing.
In this article, we will take a look at many of the ways SOLIDWORKS 2022 has improved on the user experience.
New Super Shortcut Bar – S-Key & Command Search
The Command Search is a favorite tool for both new learners and SOLIDWORKS power users. The command search is a powerful tool that enables you to find any command.
Command Search used to be relegated to a far distant place, the extreme right-hand corner of the screen. As screens got bigger and bigger, the Command Search moved further and further away from the modeling focus.
With SOLIDWORKS 2022, the Command Search has been integrated into the S-key shortcut bar. This change combines two favorite usability features into one shortcut bar. Not only has the location of the command search been integrated into the shortcut bar, but so has the functionality. It should be called the New Super Shortcut Bar.
By pressing the S-key to launch the new shortcut bar, you can access all your usual custom commands created in the customization menu. You can also search for any command by typing in the command search to immediately launch it. You can find the menu location of a command by clicking the eyeball icon and SOLIDWORKS will show you where you can access it.
But most importantly, you can click the plus sign to add the command to the menu. This means you can customize the shortcut bar on the fly, directly next to where your mouse was. The new shortcut bar puts an incredible amount of power at your fingertips (or rather, your mouse pointer).
You read that right—double mirror. Many power users appreciate that you can now mirror about two planes or faces in a single mirror operation. It used to take two operations and now can be completed in one, saving time.
Imagine all the times you have something that has double symmetry—the four wheels of a car or the four corners to a structure, for example. Now the geometry can be created once and mirrored, all in one go. No more leveraging little-known tips or extraneous features to get this job done.
Introducing a New Shortcut Key
New to SOLIDWORKS 2022 is the Q key shortcut. It has been quite a few years since the last new shortcut key was added to SOLIDWORKS. The most recent was the D key, introduced in SOLIDWORKS 2016, which moves breadcrumbs directly to your mouse pointer. That was a great user experience enhancement.
Six years later, we get the Q key, which toggles the visibility of reference geometry on and off, including planes, coordinate systems and origins. This works even in the middle of creating features. You can clear up the clutter on your screen or get to work with your reference geometry in an instant. But it doesn’t stop there; you can now do more with your reference geometry than ever before.
Redesigned Coordinate Systems
Coordinate systems have been overhauled in SOLIDWORKS 2022—so much so that you might not even recognize them. The first thing you’ll notice are the extra details that indicate the added functionality you can now leverage from the coordinate systems.
Adding coordinate systems has also been improved. You can now define new coordinate systems with numeric inputs. This can speed up the process of adding precise locations for your geometry.
With coordinate systems added to your model, you can take advantage of the coordinate system in ways that will really speed up your design process. In SOLIDWORKS 2022, you can reference all parts of coordinate systems such as planes, axes and origins. For example, with one click you can sketch on the XY plane of the coordinate system as shown in the image. Or you can use the X-axis of the coordinate system as the axis for a revolve or another feature. SOLIDWORKS 2022 lets you leverage your geometry in more ways than ever before. This adds up to significant time savings after creating complicated geometry.
You’ll notice a refreshed look and feel to the Save reminder that pops up in the lower left corner of your screen. The new look better matches with the updated interface we’ve grown accustomed to with the latest version of SOLIDWORKS.
It is easy to dismiss or turn messages off in SOLIDWORKS. However, users should be advised that once messages are turned off, they are turned off for good—unless you manually turn them back on. This has been made easier in SOLIDWORKS 2022.
Previously, longer messages would be cut off, making it difficult to know exactly what it said. Now in SOLIDWORKS 2022, when you hover over the message, you will be able to read it in its entirety.
Think Less with Bubbles
One of the best useability enhancements of SOLIDWORKS 2022—helpful to newcomers and power users alike—is in the addition of bubbles to the system options. Bubbles have been added that appear throughout the system options and which offer more insight into what the settings and options do. Simply hover your mouse over these bubbles to read more about the options. You will be able to think less about the options and spend less time remembering what they do.
Over the last 30 years, the common thread woven throughout each version of SOLIDWORKS has been ease of use. Since 1995, the software has changed considerably. Users of SOLIDWORKS 1995 would hardly recognize SOLIDWORKS 2022. Yet despite all that is different, the same simple and intuitive user experience is apparent.
Learn about all the new SOLIDWORKS 2022 enhancements with the ebook SOLIDWORKS 2022 Enhancements to Streamline and Accelerate Your Entire Product Development Process.