What is Numerical Input and how does it work?

   By Robert Gemmell on December 29, 2022

Numerical Input – Extra Credit


This is a series best paired with our training courses. There are some topics where we like to expand or people often ask questions and there might not be time for our instructors to cover it, we encourage you to have a read through this series along with your course to get the most out of the experience!

Follow the link to learn more about the previous topic Instant2D.

Question: Is there a way to add dimensions as we sketch?

Absolutely, we can activate this option by going to System Options>Sketch>Enable on screen numeric input.  I also always check the box underneath “Create dimension only when value is added” so that if you want you can sketch normally as if it wasn’t enabled.

How it works:

As you create a line it will give you a dimension popup that you can just type your value into.

When creating a shape with multiple inputs they will all popup but the highlighted one is the active dimension.

You can toggle between popups with the Tab key.

If you don’t type a numerical value, one will not be added (*Because we selected that second option).

If you are creating a square and add the same dimension in both boxes, then SOLIDWORKS will maintain best dimensioning practice by switching from two dimensions so a single dimension with a geometric relation.

Follow up questions:

Question: When using numerical input, I can’t use the “A” shortcut to auto transition back and forth between arcs and lines, is there an alternative to this shortcut?

Yes, because typing “A” would now be looking for a global variable we need to use the alternative methods to get these transitions.

Switching from line to arc: Return the cursor to the last point and then move away again.

Switching from arc to line: Return the cursor to the last point and then click on that point.

Question: How does this work in a 3D sketch, isn’t Tab used for changing the sketch plane?

Great point, yes, it is. SOLIDWORKS has us covered though, if you are using a 3D sketch then we’ll use Shift+Tab instead of just Tab.

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Robert Gemmell

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