Hide / Show Components Quickly in SolidWorks 2012

3DVision TechnologiesToday, Josh Spencer from 3DVision Technology posted an awesome reminder/tip of a new feature that is included in SolidWorks 2012 on the 3DVision Technologies Blog.

In SolidWorks 2012, you now have the ability to quickly hide components using the “Tab” key and to quickly show components using “Shift + Tab”.  This is a feature that SolidWorks users fell in love with while using 3DVIA Composer.

In order to give credit where it is due,  please check out Josh’s blog post here on how this new feature really works!

SolidWorks 2012: Command Search

This new feature could POSSIBLY be the best new enhancement that comes packaged in SolidWorks 2012.  Have you ever had that moment when you were designing the next best thing since sliced bread and knew that command that you needed but couldn’t find it?  I have, well everything except for the next best thing since sliced bread.

Starting with SolidWorks 2012, the nightmares about this situation should cease because of the new Command Search tool.  So where the heck is it and how does it work?  Unfortunately, there is no search tool to find the Command Search tool but it is actually quite easy to get to.

Where – In the upper right hand corner of your SolidWorks window is the search bar that previously housed the SolidWorks Help, Knowledge Base, Community Forum, and Files and Models search options.  Now there is also a Commands search option that you can select (see image below).

Command Search in Search Bar

How – Simply select the Commands search option and then start typing the name of the command you are looking for.

Command Search Functionality

One of the really cool features of this I think is that no matter what the search bar has selected, as soon as you launch your Shortcut Bar, the search bar will automatically switch to the Commands option.

Also, what about when you want to customize a toolbar and you can’t seem to find the tool you need?  The Command search still is functional even when you have the Customize window active.  As you can see in the image below, all of the commands will be grayed out BUT you can still drag and drop them onto a toolbar as you normally would from the Customize window.

Use Command Search to Customize Shortcut Bar

This is an AWESOME new tool.  The one future enhancement I would really like to see however is a way to get this option closer to the Shortcut Bar when you activate it.  This would require a lot let mouse movement in order to use it.  But, baby steps for now and these are great steps.

Awesome job SolidWorks development team!

SolidWorks 2012: Unit Switcher

This enhancement was previewed last January at SolidWorks World 2011 and I remember sitting there thinking, yes, finally!

As a user that deals a lot with customer data or creating models using our customers 2D drawing, units are always something that I seem to switch back and forth between a lot.  In SolidWorks 2012, this will be a lot easier.  In the bottom ride hand corner of the Status Bar, you will see a button (located next to the Help button) that shows what your current units are set to.  Now, with a simple click in the Status Bar, you will be able to quickly change your units and/or have access to the status units screen in Tools > Options.

Unit Switcher

If the new Recent Documents enhancement was a homerun by the SolidWorks developers, this would be a 3 run homerun.  The 1 thing that would make this a grand slam would be to add units as an option to be added to a keyboard shortcut (without a macro).  Either way, this is a great enhancement that will be very,very useful!

SolidWorks 2012: Cap Colors in Sections

Not only is SolidWorks 2012 packed with eye popping changes, it also includes some more subtle additions that will be very helpful in your daily design work.

This is the category that todays enhancement falls into.  In previous releases, SolidWorks has offered a nice visual style when creating section views that allows you to color code or cap your sections.  The image below shows this workflow however, you will notice 1 additional KEY option in the Property Manager.

Keep Section View Cap Colors Property Manager

In SolidWorks 2012, you will notice a checkbox that allows you to keep your cap color.  What does this mean, well now when you hit the Accept check mark, your cap colors will stay on your model as shown in the image below.

Keep Section View Cap Colors Capped

Like I said at the beginning, this is not one of those WHOA enhancements, but it is a very functional enhancement that I think all users will come to love. 

SolidWorks 2012: Multi Screen Support

Yesterday I posted about the Recent Documents enhancement that has been incorporated into SolidWorks 2012.

Today’s enhancement might even be a little bit better.  SolidWorks 2012 now comes with multi screen support.  This is an enhancement that users have been clamoring for since the introduction of multiple screens.  As you can see in the image below, there are now 2 additional buttons that are located next to the window minimize, maximize, and close buttons.  These 2 buttons serve primarily 2 functions.

The first function is if you are running multi screens, by clicking 1 of the buttons it will move that window whichever direction you tell it too.  This is hard to show in an image, but trust me, it works.

The other function is if you are only running 1 screen, those 2 additional buttons allow you to easily tile 2 windows to your screen similar to the Windows 7 functionality when you tile windows to the left side and/or right side or your screen.  This is what the image below shows.

Multiple Screen Support

This enhancement is only capable of handling 2 screens currently.  I would say that this enhancement proves that SolidWorks is listening to its users.  Again, nice job SolidWorks developers!

SolidWorks 2012: Recent Documents

One of the most interesting things to me when beta arrives for each major release of SolidWorks is what enhancement have been made to the User Interface.  SolidWorks 2012 does not offer a lot of enhancements to the UI but the ones that they do are awesome in my eyes.

The Recent Documents command has been around for a while now but the enhancements made in 2012 are game changers in my eyes.  One of the features in Microsoft Office 2010 that I like the most is the ability to pin Recent Documents that you use a lot so that you have quick access to them without crowding your desktop with shortcuts.

SolidWorks 2012 also now allows you to pin Recent Documents which will be extremely nice when it comes to commonly used files.  The Recent Documents window can be launched by using the “R” keyboard shortcut (default).  As you can see in the image below this window now allows you to not only pin Recent Documents but it also allow you to quickly open the folder that the file resides in.  Quick and easy access to a project.

Recent Documents Keyboard Shortcut

But it doesn’t end there.  Your Recent Document can also be accessed using the File dropdown menu as shown in the image below.  You will notice that your pinned documents are carried over there as well with the option to show the file in its folder here as well.

Recent Documents File Menu

I think that this enhancement is a homerun and will increase the usage of the Recent Documents tool by many users.  Nice job SolidWorks developers!

SolidWorks 2012: Quick Overview

Splash Screen

Design That Drives Your Business!

This seems to be the rallying cry behind SolidWorks 2012.  The embargo has been lifted so we are officially allowed to talk, write, tweet, etc. about the 20th, yes 20th, release of SolidWorks.

This year SolidWorks is again loaded with over 200 enhancements.  The focus of these enhancements can be broken down into 4 main themes.

This year the themes are:

  1. Automates Design Functions That Drive Your Business
  2. Improved Performance and Quality for a More Continuous Workflow
  3. Enables Fundamental Changes to Your Product Development Process
  4. Extensive Support for Project Collaboration and Team Connectivity

As in years past, there was again a focus on performance and quality (#2) but it doesn’t seem to have been as big of a focus as the last few years.  SolidWorks 2011 I felt was and is a tremendous release in regards to performance and I see SolidWorks now getting back to launching software with more visible enhancements as opposed to behind the scenes enhancements.

Over the next few weeks I will be covering some of the BIGGER enhancements (in my eyes) right here.  But to get your mouth watering for these juicy posts, here is the OFFICIAL press release from Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corporation that mentions some of the enhancement highlights from this release.

SolidWorks 2012 Delivers Design Solutions to Drive Business

20th Release of Leading CAD Software Provides More than 200 New Functions to Community

CONCORD, Mass., USA, Sept. 7, 2010 – Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. (DS SolidWorks) today unveiled SolidWorks® 2012, a comprehensive 3D design solution that enables users to work more efficiently and have the data they need to make better design decisions throughout the product development process. Benefits take shape throughout SolidWorks 2012 through a variety of improvements in areas such as assembly and drawing capabilities, built-in simulation, design costing, routing, image and animation creation and product data management that will positively impact design teams each and every day.

Empowering innovation and design team productivity are at the center of over 200 enhancements in SolidWorks 2012, most of which will help designers:

  • Automate the design functions they use most often;
  • Improve performance and quality for a more streamlined workflow;
  • Fundamentally change product development processes for faster designs;
  • Extend support for collaboration and team connectivity for creativity and efficiency.

“SolidWorks 2012 focuses on the areas that will help our customers drive their businesses to higher productivity and profitability,” said Austin O’Malley, executive vice president, R&D, DS SolidWorks. “It also marks the 20th release of our CAD software, remaining true to the mission of helping users transform innovation into business success. We are excited to see the passion and enthusiasm from our customers, and rewarded when that passion is channeled into great designs.”

“SolidWorks continues to listen to the people within its user community,” said Scott Maro, Maro & Associates. “What I appreciate about this is that the executives and product development teams are more in touch with what is happening in the community than I see with any other organization. Research and Development teams are always listening, asking us great questions and providing alpha testing not only internally but also at the user conference, which is a fantastic forum. The result is more than 90 percent of the features were prioritized by users as ‘SolidWorks continues to listen.’”

Automated Design Functions for Productivity

SolidWorks software helps engineering and design teams  streamline their design processes simply by removing one or two steps, profoundly impacting usability and productivity. SolidWorks 2012 offers improvements in the areas of:

· Drawings – New tools help create better-looking and more-accurate drawings in order to cut down on the revision process and help users detail designs faster. For example, changed dimensions are automatically highlighted and show previous values to help with revisions. Sequential balloon ordering and magnetic lines automatically help order and position balloons, allowing users to spend less time detailing and aligning drawings.

· Sustainability – SolidWorks Sustainability’s new, advanced user interface means users can more accurately model products with “what if” scenarios and better support unique and custom materials. Users can also closely model processes with parameters such as recycled content and duration of use. Also, access to the latest SolidWorks Sustainability supplemental materials will be instant and continuous as they become available.


Continuous Workflow Through Improved Performance and Quality

SolidWorks 2012 makes the design experience flow more naturally, and without disruptions — meaning faster designs with fewer errors based on features such as:

· Large design review – Allows instant opening and review of massive assemblies or any individual component with walkthroughs, sectioning and measuring without the need for a high-powered computer or any special file preparation.

· Feature freeze – Eliminates unwanted feature rebuilds by locking all features above the “freeze” bar, speeding up the design of complex models where rebuilding of specific features isn’t needed. Features can also be unfrozen at any point.

· Equation editor – New equation capabilities allow users to create equations faster and understand order more easily, providing new levels of flexibility and productivity.


Significant Improvements to Overall Product Development Processes

SolidWorks 2012 increases productivity and streamlines the overall customer product development processes with:

· Design costing – A flexible tool that automates manufacturing cost calculations for sheet metal and machined parts. Designers can make more informed decisions based on cost throughout the design process and continually model new scenarios for instant up-to-the-minute manufacturing estimates.

  • Sheet metal – Design from scratch or convert customer 3D parts to sheet metal with new tools that provide control over the unique challenges of working with sheet metal — such as precise control of edge flanges, including up-to-vertex end conditions. Designs can be automatically flattened and documented for manufacturing, with export to CNC and manufacturing equipment.

· Simulation – SolidWorks Simulation includes enhanced motion optimization that automatically uses motion study results to create sensors and refine complex and time-intensive machine aspects such as motor size, bearing loads and range of travel. Users can optimize designs in a fraction of the time as they refine inputs and immediately see changes to restraints or goals.

Extends Support for Collaboration and Team Connectivity

As manufacturing becomes more global, design collaboration between disparate teams is now more important than ever. SolidWorks 2012 brings teams of all sizes together through:

· Integrated search, customization, and wider support with SolidWorks Enterprise PDM – Now integrated into the Windows® Explorer, designers have easy access to favorite searches and a full search tool. Users can also customize the Windows Explorer UI to get faster access to the information they need. In addition, SolidWorks Enterprise PDM has new support for Office 2010 and an x64 web client.

· Life-like experience with 3DVIA ComposerTM – Designers can take more control over their renderings for a more realistic appearance. Enhancements include the easy addition of part-to-part shadows, ambient occlusion and shadows to 2D panels with precise control. A glow effect can also be added to highlight specific areas of interest.

For more information about SolidWorks 2012, including video demonstrations, visit: http://www.solidworks.com/Launch2012_PR

Availability and Pricing
SolidWorks 2012 is available worldwide through SolidWorks authorized resellers. Contact a SolidWorks authorized reseller for pricing. To locate one in your region, visit: http://www.solidworks.com/locateVAR/

Share with a Friend

Do you have colleagues that would benefit from SolidWorks 2012?  Encourage them to attend one of our live seminars: (include link to VAR seminars).

Or feel free to share via twitter with these suggested Tweets:

· @Solidworks 2012 is now available! Check out a local reseller event to learn more: www.solidworkslaunch.com

· Interested in moving to 3D CAD? Check out @SolidWorks 2012! www.solidworkslaunch.com

· Want to see your ideas go quickly from design to development? Check out @SolidWorks 2012! www.solidworkslaunch.com

About Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp., a Dassault Systèmes S.A. subsidiary, is a world leader in 3D solutions that help millions of engineers and designers succeed through innovation. Our products deliver an intuitive experience in product design, simulation, publishing, data management, and environmental impact assessment. For the latest news, information, or an online demonstration, visit our Web site (www.solidworks.com) or call 1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America, call +1-978-371-5000).

About Dassault Systèmes

As a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, Dassault Systèmes brings value to more than 100,000 customers in 80 countries. A pioneer in the 3D software market since 1981, Dassault Systèmes develops and markets PLM application software and services that support industrial processes and provide a 3D vision of the entire lifecycle of products from conception to maintenance to recycling. The Dassault Systèmes portfolio consists of CATIA for designing the virtual product – SolidWorks for 3D mechanical design – DELMIA for virtual production – SIMULIA for virtual testing – ENOVIA for global collaborative lifecycle management, and 3DVIA for online 3D lifelike experiences. Dassault Systèmes’ shares are listed on Euronext Paris (#13065, DSY.PA). For more information, visit http://www.3ds.com/.

SolidWorks is a registered trademark of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation and 3DVIA Composer is a trademark of Dassault Systèmes in the US and other countries. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective owners. © 2011 Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.

beta test now to turn off the heat later

Summer is in full swing here in West Michigan this week with the temperatures supposedly sustaining in the upper 90’s all week.  Some of you are probably thinking that it would be nice to have a cool down to those temps but here in West Michigan, people are freaking out.  I would say 90% of the items on my Facebook newsfeed have to deal with how hot it is.

The launch and release of a new version of SolidWorks can usually make CAD Admins feel the heat no matter what the weather is like outside.  If you are a CAD Admin, I am sure you know what I am talking about.  You will here comments like…”2011 worked better than this” or “how come this is different in 2012” or “we should have waited longer to launch 2012”.  At times these comments are valid, however, more often than not, a little research done up front can eliminate 95% of these snide remarks.

How to Turn on the Air Conditioning?

Every year SolidWorks offers all of their current subscription customers the opportunity to beta test the next release of the software.  This is a great opportunity for you, whether you are the CAD Admin, a power user, or just a user to test out the normal functions that you do every day.  This way, when you are ready to launch the next version to the masses at your company you have developed a comfort level that the software will or will not function properly in your unique design environment.

How to Beta Test?

Simple – click on this link and sign up!  SolidWorks 2012 Beta

Also, take note that on that same website there is some other really useful information such as Beta Testing Tips and the current Beta 2012 Leaderboard.  Leaderboard?  That’s right…while you are doing yourself a favor by testing out the software before it gets released to the masses, you can also when some sweet prizes which are listed here.

So there you go!  Get out of the sauna and start beta testing today!

#sww11 solidworks 2012 preview

solidworks world 2011_header

One of the highlights every year at SolidWorks WORLD is the preview of the next release of the software.  This is usually done by a funny skit from the Product Marketing team at SolidWorks and this year did not disappoint.

HPIM3082

CAD COPS, CAD COPS..WHATCHA GONNA DO WHEN THEY COME FOR YOU!

Now that I have been back to work for just over a week I have had some time to digest all of the new features in SolidWorks 2012 that were previewed during the Wednesday morning General Session.  Please keep in mind that not all of these features actually make it to the actual initial release but for the most part they do.  Here are the enhancements that you can look for in SolidWorks 2012.

  • Performance
    • Clear the file from memory when closed
  • Administration
    • Complete uninstall
    • Uninstall via an admin image
  • UI
    • The ability to pin documents in recent files
    • Unit switcher on the status bar
    • Command search
    • Dual monitor support
  • Parts
    • Feature freeze
  • Sheet Metal
    • Parallel to base flange
    • Form tool rotation
    • Ignore faces when unfolding
  • Equations
    • Equation editor
    • Different variables available via dropdowns
    • Automatic solve order
  • Assemblies
    • Tab key to hide components
    • Additional motion sensors including actuator loads and bearing loads
  • Drawings
    • Exploded views available in view pallete
    • Create BOM’s without pre-selecting views
    • Sequential ballooning
    • Magnet lines to line up balloons
    • Automatic reuse of view labels
    • Add center marks at any time
  • 3dvia Composer
    • Per pixel lighting and ambient inclusion
    • BOM highlights
    • Custom compass
  • Costing Tool
    • Sheet metal costing including templates for suppliers
    • Cost reports
    • Template editor

I will be selecting some of my favorites from these in the upcoming weeks and give you my reaction to them.  Ricky Jordan from www.rickyjordan.com has a great write up and some great pictures of the new features listed above.  Make sure you go check out his SolidWorks 2012 Sneak Peak post.