SolidWorks Tip: Context Toolbar in Sketches

January 12, 2008 2 Comments »
SolidWorks Tip:  Context Toolbar in Sketches

SolidWorks 2008 brought about many changes in the user interface.  One of the additions to the UI that has spurred some comments from users (both positive and negative) has been the Context Toolbar.  The Context Toolbar appears when you right click OR left click on certain entities within the software.  (The right click options consists of the Context Toolbar in combination with the “normal” right click menu.)  It is context sensitive in that the tools available in the toolbar depend entirely upon what type of entity you select.  One of the disappointments with this toolbar is that you cannot customize it.  I will say though that SolidWorks did a good job of picking the features to be included.

Context_toolbar_sketchThe left click Context Toolbar is one that has seen some Cheers and Jeers in some of the online discussion forums.  It took me a little time to get used to it at first, but I am finding myself using it quite often now.  One of the really great applications of this Context Toolbar occurs when you are adding Relations to sketch entities.  I have devised 3 different instance behaviors to show today.  You will want to view the video to fully understand the descriptions of each instance below.

  1. Ctrl selection of individual entities does popup the Context Toolbar but only AFTER you release the Ctrl key.  I did find a few instances where I released the Ctrl key too quickly and the Context Toolbar did not appear.  (Refer to the trick described in #3 below on how to get the Context Toolbar back up.)
  2. Window selection to the left (selects all entities touching the window) immediately pops up the Context Toolbar without the user having to wait on anything.  This is the method I use most often when possible!
  3. When using Ctrl selection in a similar method as #1, the Context Toolbar will disappear if you move too far away from the selected entities.  You CAN bring it back by moving the cursor back to close proximity of the selected entities then push the Ctrl key one time.  This trick does work for #2 as well but it seems that the required position of your cursor for the toolbar to appear is a little unpredictable.  If your cursor isn’t close enough to the entities you will see the Context Toolbar flash on/off quickly on the screen.  This gives you an idea on where your cursor needs to be.

In case you missed the first link, HERE IS A VIDEO that demonstrates the instance behaviors.

Stay tuned….more to come!

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