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Essential SOLIDWORKS Hotkeys and Shortcuts

SOLIDWORKS has hundreds of built-in commands. Many widely used commands are already configured to be launched using hotkeys or shortcuts throughout the user interface, and nearly every other command can be set to be launched using a variety of shortcut options. This article will focus on essential default shortcuts to help you spend more time designing and less time hunting down commands. 

A Quick Look at SOLIDWORKS Shortcut Customization

SOLIDWORKS shortcut customization can be accessed in the SOLIDWORKS Customize dialog by selecting Tools > Customize, and then selecting the desired tab. 


The “S”-key is a popular shortcut which automatically launches customizable shortcut bars depending on if you are working in a part, assembly, drawing, or sketch. for parts, assemblies, drawings, and sketches. These shortcut bars can be customized to include any relevant tool for the specific file type of sketch. 

This article will focus on essential default shortcuts to help you spend more time designing and less time hunting down commands.

Mouse Gestures are a MUST for anyone who wants to be more productive in SOLIDWORKS. You can add 2, 4, 8, or even 12 commends to the circular Mouse Gesture flyout right at your mouse. Simple right-click in the graphics area and then swipe in a direction through a command to launch it. 

Essential SOLIDWORKS Hotkeys and Shortcuts (2)

Standard Windows Shortcuts

Let’s get the simple ones out of the way. These standard Windows shortcuts have the same functionality when used in SOLIDWORKS. 


    • Ctrl + O for File, Open 
    • Ctrl + S for File, Save 
    • Ctrl + Z for Edit, Undo 
    • Ctrl + Y for Edit, Redo 
    • Ctrl + C for Copy 
    • Ctrl + X for Cut 
    • Ctrl + V for Paste 
    • Alt + <specified numeric value> Inserts standard Windows symbols: 
        • Alt + 0176 Inserts a degree º symbol 
        • Alt + 0216 Inserts a diameter Ø symbol 
        • Alt + 234 Inserts a Ω symbol  
        • Search the internet for full lists of “Alt codes” 

General SOLIDWORKS Shortcuts

    • A key while using a command switches the object type. For example, pressing A while sketching a rectangle will cycle through the various rectangle types in the PropertyManager. 
    • D key brings the Confirmation Corner and Breadcrumbs popup dialogs right to your mouse location. 
    • F Zooms to fit. 
    • Alt + middle mouse button click Zooms to fit. 
    • G Magnifying Glass. 
    • Alt + middle mouse wheel Shows a section view when using the Magnifying Glass. 
    • R key displays the SOLIDWORKS Welcome dialog and the Recent file list. 
    • Shift + R Displays relations. 
    • Ctrl + W Closes files. 
    • Z Zooms the model out. 
    • Shift + Z Zooms the model in. 
    • Ctrl + Tab displays the Open Document dialog. Continue holding Ctrl and then press Tab to cycle through the list, highlight, and then switch to any of the open documents. 
    • Ctrl + R rebuilds (guide to rebuild types) 
    • Ctrl + Q Complete Rebuild (guide to rebuild types) 
    • Enter repeats the last command. 
    • Alt + arrow keys Rotates the model 90° 
    • Alt + click shows a hidden body or component when hovering over the body or component. 
    • Spacebar Opens the View Selector and Orientation dialog box. 

Standard Selection Shortcuts

    • Ctrl + click Lets you select multiples sequential entities. Hold Ctrl and keep selecting. 
    • Shift + click Lets you select everything in between the first and second click in the FeatureManager Design Tree. 
    • Shift + click while in the graphics area selects a transparent face on a component. Hover over a transparent face then Shift + Click. 
    • Left to right box select Selects everything in the box. 
    • Right to left box select Selects everything the box touches/crosses. 

Move Shortcuts

    • Ctrl + drag the middle mouse button to Pan the model. 
    • Shift + drag has different functions depending on where used: 
        • Sketches – move a set of sketch entities. 
        • Parts – moves a feature. 
        • Drawings – moves the selected drawing view and any related views together as if they are one entity. Or, moves a dimension to a different view. 

Dimension Shortcuts

    • Alt + click Turns off automatic alignment when you place dimensions and annotations. 
    • Alt + drag Moves an annotation independently from the group in which it is contained. 
    • Ctrl + drag Creates additional leaders on a note when you Ctrl + drag a leader’s arrowhead. 
    • Shift + click Snaps a dimension to the max or min location when dimensioning arcs and circles with the Smart Dimension tool. 

Sketching shortcuts

    • Ctrl + drag Suppresses inference lines when dragging an endpoint. 
    • Pressing Ctrl while sketching turns off automatic sketch relations while holding Ctrl. 
    • Shift + click Turns on snapping. 
    • Shift + drag When sketching a line, the line snaps to specific lengths. 
    • Tab Changes the XYZ plane when sketching in a 3D sketch 

Assembly shortcuts

    • Alt + drag 
        • While mating, creates a SmartMate when you Alt + drag a component. 
        • To reordering components. When moving a component in the FeatureManager Design Tree, ensures that the component remains at the same level in the tree and prevents it from being moved into a subassembly. 
    • Alt + Ctrl drag Copies the component and creates a SmartMate 
    • Ctrl + drag 
        • Copies a component when you Ctrl + drag it. 
        • In an assembly with preselected components, this shortcut inverts the selection when you Ctrl + drag a selection box. 
        • Creates a part instead of a configuration when you drag a Toolbox component into an assembly. 
    • Tab 
        • Hide/Show. Hides all components below the pointer. 
        • While Inserting a Component. Rotates the component 90º. 
    • Shift + Tab 
        • Hide/Show. Shows all components below the pointer. 
        • While Inserting a Component. Rotates the component -90º. 
    • Ctrl + Shift + Tab Temporarily displays all hidden components as transparent and lets you select which ones to show. 

Useful Windows Shortcuts

Below are a few Windows shortcuts that can be used anywhere on your computer to access commonly used commands. 


Windows + d Minimizes all open windows to the Taskbar to show the Desktop. 

Windows + e Opens a new File Explorer window (wow!) 

Windows + v Opens the clipboard history. 

Windows + x Opens the apps panel (power user menu) 

Windows + <press a number> Opens the application in that numbered slot on your task bar. For example, if File Explorer is pinned to your Taskbar in the first position, pressing Windows + 1 will open File Explorer. 

Ctrl + Shift + Esc Opens the Task Manager. 

Middle mouse click on any program in the taskbar to open another instance of that program. 

Shift + right mouse button click on any .exe for options to run that program as a different Windows user. 

Other Useful Shortcuts

In an internet browser, Ctrl + Shift + del to open the clear history dialog. 

In Excel, Ctrl + arrow keys Moves to the beginning or end of rows or columns. 

In Excel, Ctrl + Shift + arrow keys Highlights an entire row or column. 

If you attend an MLC training class, you’ll get this printable SOLIDWORKS keyboard shortcut sheet that provides a quick and easy reference.  Register for an upcoming Essentials class today!

Technical Support

Get help from our team by Calling us at 800-364-1652 x 2. You can also get assistance by clicking the Technical Support button or the Email Our Experts button below. 

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