Navigating the SolidWorks User Interface

SolidWorks helps you move through the design cycle easily. With a customizable user interface, each team member team can create their own convenient and efficient SolidWorks environment.


Since most 2D CAD programs and SolidWorks are applications in the Microsoft Windows® environment, tool buttons, toolbars, and the general appearance of the windows look similar. However, many aspects of the environment differ.


Command Manager

This Command Manager appears in a part document. When you click a tab below the Command Manager, it updates to show that toolbar. For example, if you click the Sketch tab, the Sketch toolbar appears.

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Tool Bars

All toolbars are available in the familiar Microsoft Windows style. You can show, hide, and customize them. The Heads-up View toolbar is a transparent toolbar in each viewport that provides all the common tools necessary for manipulating the view.

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Keyboard Shortcuts

Shortcuts in SolidWorks are either accelerator keys or keyboard shortcuts.

Accelerator keys are available for every menu item and are indicated by underlined letters. They cannot be customized.

  • To display the underlined letters on the main menu, press Alt.
  • To access a menu, press Alt plus the underlined letter; for example Alt+F for the File menu.
  • To execute a command, press the underlined letter; for example, Alt+F, then C

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Background Color

SolidWorks uses a blue gradient background in its graphics area. Although you can change the background color in SolidWorks, you will find that blue works best with shaded models and the various colors that indicate status.

NOTE: You can also drag scenes onto models from the Task Pane’s Appearances tab, under Scenes, to change the background color and model look. You can also click Apply Scene from the Heads-up View toolbar and select a scene.

Through customizable, interactive menus and smart pointers, your team can quickly and conveniently navigate the SolidWorks environment. With SolidWorks on your team, the user interface works for you so you can design products easily.