One of the really cool new additions to SolidWorks 2009 is the ability to specify numeric input as you create lines, rectangles, circles and arcs. This new feature will greatly increase your ability to quickly add dimensions to sketches right on the fly as you go. This will allow you to focus more on your design and less time on hitting keystrokes or toolbar buttons to add dimensions after you create a sketch. To begin you need to enable this option in Tools>Options>System Options>Sketch, this picture below shows where in the sketch section the option is. The option is called “Enable on screen numeric input on entity creation”.
Once this option is checked you are ready to quickly add dimensions to your sketches on the fly. The following step by step instructions will show you how to use this tool
Step 1: Begin by starting a sketch on the Front Plane and select Center Rectangle and begin by centering it around the origin as shown below. Once you have the rectangle started you are ready to enter in your dimensions. Before you do this however be sure to check the box in the PropertyManager that says “Add dimensions” which is in the Options group box. I have entered in 2.5″ for the first length for this example.
Step 2: Once you have entered in the first dimension for the rectangle you can Tab over to the other dimension to input that one also. I have entered in 4.5″ for the second length for this example.
Step 3: Once you have entered in both dimensions hit Enter and your sketch should be fully defined and ready to be made a solid or surface.
This is great new functionality that was added for this release. Sometimes the new features don’t always need to be the BIG & FLASHY things that we often think of but instead little additions like this one is what will continue to keep SolidWorks at the top of the 3D CAD world.