Yes, it happens to all of us. We’re cruising along with the mouse, clickin’ this way and that, and typing some notes with the keyboard. Life is simple. Then, we take our hand off the keyboard for a sip of coffee or a little stretch and… suddenly our finger shoots straight into our eye with a repeated jabbing motion and 2 hours of work are lost as you regain your sight.

A sad state of affairs my friend. We need to get back to keeping that hand on the keyboard. So, while engineer restraining systems are still being developed, here’s a few keyboard tricks you can use in SolidWorks to make sure you won’t be tempted to take your hand off the keyboard and risk permanent ocular impairment.

We’re going to have keyboards with us for a while longer I imagine, and using some of the buttons can just make modeling things go a lot faster. Here’s my favorite.

Hold down Ctrl, while sketching or after selecting an point to disable automatic relations
Hold down Ctrl, before selecting a sketch or feature to drag and copy a sketch or feature

Hold down Shift, while sketching some entities to increment in .05 increments
Hold down Shift, to move an unconstrained feature or group of sketch entities
Hold down Shift, to toggle selection through transparent objects, (better performance)

Hit Alt, to toggle the flyout menu in SolidWorks 2008
Hold down Alt, to move a part/assembly below an assembly in the FeatureManager

Hmm, but are there only seven?! What tricks do you have?


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.