Kevin Chandler

Windows key+E to start either SolidWorks Explorer or Windows Explorer (your choice keypress, default to either)

Discussion created by Kevin Chandler on Jul 20, 2018

I've been looking to increase my usage of SolidWorks Explorer, but from years of using the Windows key+E to open Windows Explorer, I've developed the habit of using Windows Explorer too much for SolidWorks files and have missed out on the benefits SolidWorks Explorer offers.


So I wrote a utility that starts either SolidWorks Explorer or Windows Explorer using the keyboard shortcut: Windows+E.


I can choose to start either program each time I press the shortcut and I can also set either program to be the default program for Windows+E.

You can assign a keyboard shortcut to SolidWorks Explorer in SolidWorks, but SolidWorks has to be running for it to work and also, SolidWorks won't let you assign Windows+E.

This utility works regardless of whether SolidWorks is running.


The utility works by intercepting Windows+E and it starts a delay timer (you can control the amount of delay).

Before the timer expires, you press the "E" key (with Windows+E released, the "E" is not case sensitive, so "E" or "e" works) and SolidWorks Explorer starts.

If you don't press "E" before the timer expires (or you press any other key), the default action of Windows+E occurs and Windows Explorer is started instead.


There are several settings, the most important of which is your version and path to SolidWorks Explorer.

To make it easy to point to your SW Explorer file, this utility uses an INI file for the customizable settings.

No installation is required for this utility. The only requirement is that the INI file must be in the same folder as the utility's EXE file.


To use, just run the EXE file (after editing your settings in the INI file).

A dialog box bog is displayed, showing your settings. You can click OK to close or let it close itself after 15 seconds.

To stop the utility, right-click the green icon in your Notification Area and click Exit.

If you need to make changes to your settings, you must stop and restart the utility for any INI changes to take affect.


This is the default (attached) INI file (comments begin with a semi-colon):



;Full path & name to SolidWorks Explorer (no quotes)
SWExplorerPathFileName=C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS Explorer\SOLIDWORKS Explorer 2018\solidworksexplorer.exe
;Delay (seconds) before default Win+E action (0.25 minimum value)
;Window+E key defaults to SW Explorer (0=No, 1=Yes)
;Open SW Explorer window maximized (0=No, 1=Yes)


The settings you can configure for your setup are (edit only to the right of the equal signs):


"SWExplorerPathFileName" is where you store your SW Explorer path and file name.

As you can see, it's SW version specific.

Find your SW Explorer EXE file and edit accordingly


"DelayTime" is the amount of delay time before the timer expires and the default Windows+E action occurs.

Adjust this delay to balance your typing speed versus your patience on waiting for the default action.

(This is why I selected "E" as the second function key: to reduce finger travel time so this value can be kept relatively lower.)


"SWExplorerIsDefaultWinE" allows you to swap the default action (timer expired) of Windows+E, so either Windows Explorer is the default (0) or SW Explorer is the default (1).


"StartSWExplorerMaximized" allows you to start SW Explorer maximized instead of the minimal rounded rectangle.

SW Explorer may remember a maximize once used, so resetting to zero, may not get back the rounded rectangle on startup.


I hope you find this utility useful and that it increases your productivity as a result of what SolidWorks Explorer has to offer.