There’s lots of things that can make a team efficient – collaboration, coordination, communications, 24” monitors, donuts. But there’s one thing that can make a team of SolidWorks users take those first three things and spread them like a warm stick of butter.
It has to do with standardizing SolidWorks settings in your group. At the very least this will give everyone a starting point. Or if you have a socialistic engineering agenda you can make everyone use the same settings all the time. Let’s dance…
There’s 4 steps:
- Create a network folder
- Set your options
- Save your settings
- Force your will upon others
One note, before we start. You’ll need administrator privileges on your computer to do all this.
Create a network folder
Create an easily accessible network folder where you can keep and archive SolidWorks stuff. This is just good practice, whether it’s templates, block, or settings. Something like the following:
Set everything up
Set up your Options, Toolbars and Keyboard Shortcuts. When you change an option, assign a keyboard shortcut, or customize a menu, SolidWorks will cuddle those settings in its comforting arms and remember them the next time you start it up… unless you crashed SolidWorks while doing it, then it gets very angry and forgets the love. So, be sure to shut down properly.
For toolbars and keyboard shortcuts I like the minimalist approach – everything up top and the most used in the middle. Commands I have keyboard shortcuts for I don’t usually put on a toolbar. It also helps to keep the most used keyboard shortcuts on the left side of the keyboard so you can keep one hand on the mouse and one on the keyboard.
Save your settings
Prepare to embrace the power. After you’re happy with your settings and shut down, go to the SolidWorks Tools folder in Start, Programs, SolidWorks and select the Copy Settings Wizard. Follow the prompts and save it to the network location you set up. The file created has a .sldreg extension. It stores all the settings you so cleverly created. I usually give it a name like swset07.sldreg. Then, if I save a new one, I’ll move the original to an archive folder first and give it a revision just in case I need to revert.
Force your will upon others
Now the fun begins. All you need to do is double-click the .sldreg file you created on any computer with the same version of SolidWorks. This can be done by sending out a memo telling people how to do it, holding an all-hands meeting explaining it or waiting till everyone is gone and running it on their computer without them knowing. Now the engineering division is well oiled automaton wirring and clicking away.
This can actually bring efficiency to the group, particularly with a new implementation of SolidWorks where training will be done or when groups are working closely together on designs. It also helps the CAD Administrator when setting things up or repairing an installation.