The SOLIDWORKS FeatureManager design tree presents a convenient overview of a part, assembly, or drawings in the order the document was created. This provides a clear understanding of the construction process for a model or assembly and allows for detailed examination of different sheets and drawing views. Sometimes these design trees may become cluttered or difficult to navigate if there are a large number of sketches, planes, features, components, mates, etc. Fortunately, SOLIDWORKS provides numerous tricks to make sure users are able to maneuver around in the design tree.
Expanding the Feature Tree:
User can either expand the entire feature tree or just certain items within the tree. To expand the entire tree simply select the top item in feature tree and press the asterisk (*) key on the numeric keypad. Keep in mind that for large assemblies expanding the entire feature tree can take some time since every item down to the sketches will be exposed in the feature tree. If just a certain item from the feature tree needs to be expanded users can do this by easily double clicking on the item, highlighting it in the tree and selecting the plus (+) key on the numeric keypad, or clicking the arrow next to the item. This will only expand the top-level folders, to expand all items under a certain tree item you can highlight this single item and press the asterisk key.
Collapsing the Feature Tree:
Right click anywhere or on anything in the FeatureManager tab and select Collapse items to close expanded items in the tree. Even better, users can just push Shift and the C key together, so no mouse movement would even be required at all. Double clicking on any expanded items will collapse the item as well. Users have the option to click the arrow next to the item or to highlight an item and select the minus (-) key.
The Flyout Feature Tree
When a Property Manager is active, the flyout FeatureManager design tree automatically appears. Users can expand or collapse within the flyout feature tree in the following ways:
- Press C to expand or collapse the top-level assembly tree.
- Double click an item in the flyout Feature Manager design tree.
- Click the arrow next to the item in the flyout Feature Manager design tree.
Filter the Feature Tree
Next to the filter icon at the top of the feature tree users can search for keywords contained in the tree. Keywords can help find types of features, feature names, sketches, folders, and user-defined tags. When a filter is applied in an assembly users can also filter mates, custom properties, and choose to filter the graphics view, and hidden or suppressed components.
Whether it’s a seasoned SOLIDWORKS user or a beginner, utilizing these shortcuts will help anybody navigate the feature tree from top to bottom. Speaking of top to bottom users can press the Home key to jump to the top of the feature tree and the End key to jump to the bottom. If the entire manager pane is to be hidden, simply click F9. Try navigating through one of your feature trees to see how easy it is to manage any design and unlock the full potential of the SOLIDWORKS feature tree!
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