solidworks tipsAnd when I say snot, I mean all that messy undefined-ness. That is some nasty stuff and can make your part sick I tell you. Sick, sick, sick. There is one thing that can help you though.

One Command to dimension them all, One Command to relate them, One Command to bind them all and in the sketch confine them.

What could this strange and mysterious command be?
Let me fill ya in. Some of you may remember a command, back in the ’06 days, called “Constrain All” that allowed you to add a bunch of relations to an undefined sketch. Well, in SolidWorks 2007 they removed it and added the “Fully Define Sketch” command to give you ultimate power over those that do not dimension things. It’s superior in many ways.

How can I use it to defeat evil?
Ah yeah. Time to slap that sketch up side the face. Like I said in that brilliant title, you can do it in two easy steps, but first, let me show ya what happens.

Let say you import a sketch of a sheet metal bracket and it’s completely undefined, like so.
undefined bracket

Now this is unacceptable. You’ll want to fully define it so it loads faster and you can make changes easier. The command you want is located in Tools, Dimensions, Fully Define Sketch… and, when selected, brings up a property manager.
fully defined sketch manager
Nice huh. You have a lot of options here, but if you have a completely undefined sketch and the above options set you’ll end up with a completely defined and happy sketch.
fully defined bracket
Now, some may think the dimensions look a little messy. I prefer to keep the ordinates in this situation because I can clean them up pretty quick and then use the same dimensions in the drawing.

Now, to do it in two steps…
I set the “Fully Define Sketch” command to a quick key, B. Then when I’m in a sketch I do these two things…

  1. hit the B key
  2. hit the Enter key

That’s it. This comes in handy to get dimensions on a sketch quick. Three types of sketches this will be the most useful for are:

  • Imported sketches
  • Conceptual sketches
  • Cleaning up sketches

It may not get the dimension exactly the way you want, but if you do any of the above repeatedly through the day, you’ll find it will save you time and give you options for getting those sketches locked down. Right on.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.