SOLIDWORKS X-ray Vision with transparency

SOLIDWORKS that allows you to quickly view your entire model as transparent mode, like an X-ray of your assembly.

Top Level Transparency is an option within SOLIDWORKS that allows you to quickly view your entire model in a transparent mode. It’s like a quick-access x-ray of your model. You may need this to peer deep into the heart of your assembly. Perhaps you are trying to visually find an obscured part which is buried within your assembly. Even within an individual part, you may just want to see a particular set of features without a section view.

You don’t have to change the transparency of each and every component within your assembly or create special display state. Just turn this setting on, and then turn if off.

How to turn Top Level Transparency on

To turn it on, right mouse button click on the top line of your Feature Tree. Select the Top Level Transparency option from the shortcut bar or within the list of options of the right mouse button menu. Repeat to turn the mode off.

Although Top Level Transparency is a mode, it does directly affect the transparency of the assembly and components while active. This means the setting is persistent. If you turn this setting on for a component, when you open the associated assembly, that component will be transparent within the assembly. A component or assembly can also be saved with this mode active.

Besides Transparency, explore changes to Exploded Views

Another assembly tool that you may wish to explore in SOLIDWORKS might be Exploded View, which has seen a number of enhancements over the years. SOLIDWORKS 2015 introduced Radial Explode. Back in SOLIDWORKS 2013, you gained the ability to copy exploded views. More recently, you have the ability to autospace exploded components.

Each release of SOLIDOWORKS sees many enhancements for assemblies. Be sure to always review each year’s What’s New document.

All Uppercase, or how I learned to stop worrying about CAPS LOCK in SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS 2014 introduced the All Uppercase option for Note Annotations. Forgetting to use CAPS LOCK is no longer something to fear.

There was a dark time when one had to remember to turn on CAPS LOCK keyboard toggle while they created engineering drawing notes. This was problematic because if you forgot, you’d have to retype everything. If you were creating your general notes, that was a lot of retyping. Even if you remembered to use CAPS LOCK, you’d still have to find workarounds for file properties and certain custom properties that displayed the raw system value, where capitalization wasn’t possible. A light shined upon the world in 2013. That year, SOLIDWORKS 2014 introduced the All Uppercase option for Note Annotations.

All Uppercase turned off
All Uppercase turned on

However, unlike word processor applications, SOLIDWORKS is smart about how it capitalizes text.

  • Original text is preserved, so if you turn the setting off, your text returns to its original state.
  • The setting recognizes the value of file and custom properties and capitalizes these as well.
  • Where you would want the “mm” in the word “dimmer” to capitalize as “DIMMER”, you wouldn’t want the “mm” in “10 mm” to capitalize. So, along with the new functionality, SOLIDWORKS is smart enough to know the difference by using its Exclusion list.
Exclusion list

There is the ability to use the capitalization setting as a Document Property, meaning that any note you create will automatically use the All Uppercase setting. You still have local control for each note, of course.

All Uppercase Document Property
All Uppercase in PropertyManager

SOLIDWORKS 2018 introduced this functionality for Tables in SOLIDWORKS. You can change the setting for an entire table, a range of cells or individual cells.

All Uppercase in 2018

Finally, SOLIDWORKS 2020 introduced this functionality for Dimensions (including Hole Callouts).

All Uppercase in 2020

You have the ability to set All Uppercase document defaults differently for Notes, Tables and Dimensions, so if you want to automatically capitalize your notes, but not your dimensions or tables, you have that choice.

One more point; a tip:

  1. Select a note.
  2. Hold down SHIFT and press F3.
  3. While holding SHIFT, each time you press F3, you will toggle All Uppercase on and off for the selected note.
  4. This is the same keystroke as MS Word for switching between casing options.
SHIFT-F3 to toggle

3DEXPERIENCE WORLD 2020, a non-comprehensive look

So, technically and actually, everyone that attended 3DEXPERIENCE World 2020 has attended every 3DEXPERIENCE World conference! Isn’t that awesome? A fresh start! Or is it? SOLIDWORKS World‘s new skin, or something more?

What really changed? There is still a very heavy SOLIDWORKS focus, the 21st Model Mania, and the SOLIDWORKS Top Ten. The Partner Pavilion is now a bit different with a new name, 3DEXPERIENCE Playground. The number of breakout sessions continues to expand, including new 30 minute format (in addition to 60 and 90 minutes). General Sessions have returned to the morning to include product announcements, keynote speakers, SWUGN community updates, amazing customer stories, etc. Sunday had its Certification testing, SOLIDWORKS CAD Manager’s Boot Camp, and Reception. Monday saw yet another CSWE Event. Tuesday had the Special Offsite Event on Broadway in Downtown Nashville, complete with several live music acts. Even the unsanctioned CAD Monkey dinner roared to record attendance on Saturday.

My Presentations

As usual, I have two (or more) presentations. My breakout session on Monday called MBD and Me was actually standing-room only attendance. There was a lot of interest in Model Based Definition. My other session was a Hands-on session for new and improved tools for Drawing Views in the past 7 years. As per the usual when I presented similar sessions on the past, attendees would yell out in amazement after being shown one or more new tools or enhancements that have been implemented years ago that they somehow missed. I love those moments, but also slightly sadden that well-established SOLIDWORKS users aren’t catching everything they need from each year’s What’s New documents.

Nashville

Nashville may have been unusually chilly (even for winter), but that didn’t stop it from being beautiful and interesting.

My Instagram Videos from SOLIDWORKS 2019

Here’s my videos from Instagram from SOLIDWORKS World 2019. Nothing new to add, other than bringing them over for posterity.

Here’s my videos from Instagram from SOLIDWORKS World 2019. Nothing new to add, other than bringing them over for posterity. It appears that both uploading and download videos with Instagram involves significant compression, so the quality of the videos is “potato”, and not actually a result of my tool used to record these (my phone).

        

Blast from the Past at SOLIDWORKS World 2016 (video snippets from Instagram)

I’m manually adding my SOLIDWORKS World 2016 Instagram videos here for posterity.

Instagram recently gave users the ability to download their data in compliance with new European regulations. Since videos typically don’t come over during automated crossposting, I’m manually adding them here for posterity. There’s no new message other than SOLIDWORKS World 2016 had a lot going on, just like every other SOLIDWORKS World conference. The videos have potato quality. This is apparently from multiple Instagram compressions (both in upload and in the subsequent download too).

        

SOLIDWORKS World Drawings Top Ten implementation to-date (2011-2013)

SOLIDWORKS World Top Ten list for drawings – review for 2011 thorugh 2013; including implemetnatation rates and release years.

A few years ago, I reviewed SOLIDWORKS World Top Ten lists specifically for Drawing ideas. These articles not only showed a unique view of the Top Ten that is typically unavailable, but it also provided implementation status (implemented or not). It’s time to update those statuses.

2011

  1. Ability to Filter BOMs
  2. Print Selection – make it more like cropping a picture
  3. On drawings: add function to allow users to apply capitalization of text, implemented in SW2014 for notes and SW2018 for tables.
  4. Assign watermark function to drawing sheets, implemented in SW2013.
  5. Allow Multiple Exploded Views per Configuration, implemented in SW2013.
  6. More control over angle dimensions, implemented in SW2015.
  7. On drawings: Allow option for resizing of drawing view outline
  8. Directly editing notes with properties in Drawing, implemented before SW2013.
  9. Broken-out Section in Section, Detail and Alternate Positions Views, implemented in SW2018.
  10. Better line selection in drawings, implemented in SW2014 .

2012

  1. Address Shaded with Edges Bleed Thru issue, implemented in SW2014 for parts, assemblies and drawings.
  2. Dimensions should stay where you place them, existing behavior in SOLIDWORKS. See previous article for additional information.
  3. Don’t show hidden lines in section views and broken-out sections, half implemented in SW2013. See previous article for additional information.
  4. Don’t re-size center marks with scale of drawing view or sheet, implemented in SW2016.
  5. Allow multiple exploded views per configuration, implemented in SolidWorks 2013.
  6. Drawings: make intersection selectable when dimensioning drawings, implemented in SOLIDWORKS 2014.
  7. Ability to create a “purchased” component BOM and “manufactured” component BOM 
  8. Drawings: Revision Cloud, implemented in SolidWorks 2013.
  9. Dashes should not be allowed at the end of a line
  10. Parts as references in drawing views; see previous article for additional information.

2013

  1. Create auxiliary line for dimensioning angles, implemented in SW2015.
  2. Perimeter Dimension or Total Length Dimension
  3. Allow mirroring of drawing views in the drawing, implemented in SW2017.
  4. Isometric view break, implemented in SW2016 (via Model Break View shown on drawings in the same fashion as Exploded Views).
  5. Ability to create half dimensions (Option to change any dimension line to foreshortened), implemented in SW2016.
  6. On drawings, zoom to fit should ignore view bounding boxes, implemented in SW2015 with Zoom to Sheet tool.
  7. Don’t re-size center marks with scale of drawing view or sheet, implemented in SW2016.
  8. Ability to create Alternate position view on sectioned/broken-out section view, implemented in SW2018.
  9. Make an easy interface to modify format of hole callouts (without having to edit calloutformat.txt)
  10. Projected view of a break view should have option ‘align breaks with parent’ enabled by default, implemented prior to SW2018.

In looking at these Drawings Top Ten idea lists, there’s about 75% implementation rate for the years 2011 thru 2013 as of SW2019. As time allows, Top Tens from later years may be shown in future articles.