solidworks tipsAs discussed in the previous post, SolidWorks is the disco queen of features. Sketches drive these features and sometimes you want to use them in another part or nice Gorgonzola salad.

There are library features and copying features, sure, but to get a quick copy of a sketch that you’ve already created, you may want to use the inherent and foreboding power of…(cue the lights)… Derived Sketches.

If you know what they are just skip down to the tips.

What’s a Derived Sketch?
It’s an exact duplicate of a sketch you’ve created. You change the original and it changes.

How to make one?
Real quick, you can create a derived sketch by selecting a sketch, a plane and selecting Insert, Derived Sketch. You can do it in a part or when editing a part in an assembly.

The best tips?

  1. Add reference geometry to your derived sketches
    You can’t add it when it’s derived, but don’t worry, if you’ve already created it you can go back to the original and it will show up in the derived sketch. The reference geometry will help you locate and align your sketch just the way you like it.
  2. Don’t use derived sketches when you can use a pattern
    The one drawback I’ve seen is that file sizes can increase with using derived sketches in the same part as opposed to a sketch pattern.
  3. Use derived sketches instead of library features (sometimes)
    Library features are gonna hit memory harder. For single-sketch features, derived sketches are a quick way to add duplicates. Multi-sketch features are best created as library features and will save a lot more time.
  4. Getting rid of the original sketch
    If you find out your original sketch has to be changed or deleted, don’t worry. You can delete the feature and leave the sketch that controls all the derived copies you’ve made other places. I would name the sketch accordingly and then just hide it.



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.