SolidWorks 2010 saw several cool interface improvements that may have been prematurely included. One of these was the Rapid Dimension Manipulator (or as I like to call it, the Dimension Pie; it’s just easier to say). The Dimension Pie appears at the mouse cursor location when the user inserts a dimension in a drawing view. It allows the user to quickly place dimensions along a chosen side at evenly spaced intervals.
Although the Dimension Pie does speed up certain dimensioning activities, it also burdens the user by being in the way a lot. This prevents the user from quickly making additional selections by requiring a mouse dance. In case you’ve not upgraded to SolidWorks 2010 yet, a mouse dance is when the user is forced to move the mouse cursor away from one location and to bring it back again just to dismiss some pop-up.
As I see it, the shape and size of the pie take up too much real estate on the view pane. The pie shape is just the right sort of shape to be equally annoying in almost every situation. In my opinion, a rectangular bar shape would’ve much less intrusive. Another problem is that there is no way to quickly banish the Dimension Pie or to turn it off completely.
As of right now, SolidWorks 2010 SP3 (and SP3.1, I presume) allows for the use of a registry key to turn off the Dimension Pie. If someone is interested, this key is posted somewhere in the SolidWorks Forums (search for “Rapid Dimension Manipulator”). I’m not providing that solution here because I just don’t like it. It requires the use to upgrade to SP3 and then to apply the registry key. A permanent solution is planned for SP4 anyway, so if you haven’t already upgraded, you may wish to wait a week or two.