Making a Precise Move

I am always on a mission to find the fastest way to do things in SOLIDWORKS. One of the workflows that had me questioning my technique, was how I moved or rotated a component with a specific value inside an assembly. In the past, I would go into the move component command, select delta XYZ, and type in a value. However, being spoiled by all the heads-up interaction that SOLIDWORKS provides, I set out to see if there was a more efficient way.


After further investigation, I remembered the ability to move components in assembly using the triad. This can be found when you right-click on a component and select Move with Triad. This tool definitely could be invoked with very little movement of the mouse.

There were still two things I didn’t like about this approach, though. First, I have to find the command in the long right-click menu. Second, moving the component precisely using the resulting ruler takes A LOT of precise zooming to adjust the ruler increments.

So my next step was to make accessing the triad faster and easier. To do this, I setup a hotkey for the command. This can be found under the Tool menu -> Customize and selecting the Keyboard tab.

The fastest way to find it is to use the Search for box. I searched for “Move with Triad” and found nothing… so I typed in triad, and voila!

The actual command is called “Show Triad Manipulator.” I set this to the keyboard shortcut U. Now I can access the triad in one key stroke versus three clicks!


I have now removed one of the barriers to using this command more often. However, I still can’t move components in a very precise translation or rotation. That is when I right-clicked on the triad and found this.


When you make a selection from this menu, the software remembers it. Now the translate Delta XYZ box shows every time I hit my keyboard shortcut U. If I want to rotate by a delta XYZ or translate from the origin, all I have to do is right-click on the triad and select from the very short menu.

The resulting box is live and values can be entered directly without leaving the area.



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