solidworks tipsThe measure command is probably the single most used tool in the arsenal of SolidWorks Tools. But, if you’re slappin’ holes and fillets all over your models and someone ask you to measure a minimum distance between holes, what do you do?

I’ve seen some start a sketch and proceed to lay out lines and dimensions, but did you know you can get minimum and maximum measurements with the measure tool? It’s true.

Check this out. Say your manager asks you, “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” Well, I’m sorry, he’s gone a bit loopy, but this link may help you. On the other hand, if he asks you, “What is the minimum distance between that hole and that edge?” this tip you’re reading may help you. Here’s what to do.

Select the edges of the hole and the edge
As long as one or both of the edges you select is an Arc or Circle this will work.

Select the measure tool
Better yet, set up a shortcut key (Tools, Customize, Keyboard) to activate it. I use the M key. This cute little box pops up.


Choose your measurement
That command up to the left is what you want to use. It’s called the Circle/Arc Measurement. The default measurement is to the center of circles, but with this you can choose to measure minimum distance or maximum distance. See below.

What’s missing?
All the other combinations, that’s what. You can select minimum to minimum, but not min to max or center to max. For this you would have to start a sketch and get some points to select. Uhg, I know. It hasn’t been added (yet) in 2008 either. Keep hope alive and although it’s not perfect, it will give you a little more to work with.

Center to Center Measurement (default)

Min to Min Measurement

Max to Max Measurement


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.