Kevin Chandler

CONTEKS: CONTExtual Keyboard Shortcuts for SolidWorks

Discussion created by Kevin Chandler on Jun 23, 2019
Latest reply on Jun 25, 2019 by Kevin Chandler

06/26/2019 UPDATE:Updated "CONTEKS Setup.exe" to include version number in the file name.

Added Always On Top (AOT) feature to CONTEKS Editor to allow the editor and SW to sit side by side when editing keyboard shortcuts (see the screen shot below).

The editor updates the AOT data in existing CONTEKS.ini files.

Existing ini files aren't overwritten when you run setup again so existing CONTEKS data isn't lost.

All other existing files are overwritten.

Version/change history has been added to the end of the Read Me.


06/25/2019 UPDATE:Updated "CONTEKS Setup.exe" to be able select drives other than the default C:\ for CONTEKS installation. No other CONTEKS files are changed and this update does not apply to existing installations.

Thank you to Artem Taturevych for the feedback.



CONTEKS (CONTExtual Keyboard Shortcuts) provides SolidWorks with keyboard shortcuts that get initiated for the current sketch, part, assembly or drawing context.
With the press of a CONTEKS Master key shortcut, such as Ctrl + M below, CONTEKS runs the assigned SolidWorks keyboard shortcut for that context:


First, I would like to thank Artem Taturevych of Central Innovation for sharing his CodeStack SolidWorks API tips that helped me figure out how to program AutoHotkey to connect to the API and determine the current SolidWorks.



To install all of the files necessary (see below) for CONTEKS, run the attached “CONTEKS Setup.exe”.


The Read Me PDF file, shown above installed with the other CONTEKS files, is the same PDF file attached here, separate from the attached setup exe so you can review CONTEKS before installing.


No modifications are made to your computer during (or after) CONTEKS installation.
CONTEKS does not alter your SolidWorks installation either, other than the keyboard shortcuts that you create.



CONTEKS is the name of the program, but it is also the name for the data: a combination of a Master key; an optional description and keyboard shortcuts for one or more of the SolidWorks contexts as shown in the first screen shot. CONTEKS reads its data and CONTEKS Editor stores its data in CONTEKS.ini.


CONTEKS (the data) are created and managed using CONTEKS Editor.


Create keyboard shortcuts in SolidWorks. Use the hard to reach, hard to remember keystroke combinations as you won’t be pressing these shortcuts and you won’t have to remember them.


Using CONTEKS Editor, a standalone program separate from CONTEKS, assign these SolidWorks keystrokes to the corresponding context under the appropriate Master key:

With the Always On Top (AOT) feature of CONTEKS Editor (v2.00+) turned on, CONTEKS Editor can be put next to SW's Customize dialog for easier keyboard shortcut coordination:


The Ctrl + M CONTEKS shown above is included with the installation.

Create the corresponding keyboard shortcuts in SolidWorks (or edit the CONTEKS assignments in CONTEKS Editor) to take CONTEKS for a quick test drive.


Once created, start CONTEKS (the program) and it monitors for the press of any of its Master keys.
When it detects a pressed Master key, for that Master key, CONTEKS initiates the SolidWorks keyboard shortcut that is associated to the sketch, part, assembly or drawing context active at that time.


If a keyboard shortcut isn’t assigned to the current SolidWorks context, then nothing happens.


Each CONTEKS has one parent Master key and five child elements.
The first child is an optional description field you can use to describe this CONTEKS.
The remaining child items are the SolidWorks keyboard shortcuts you wish to run for the associated SolidWorks context.
The SolidWorks keyboard shortcuts can be created before or after creating them in the CONTEKS Editor.


Every shortcut must be defined in the CONTEKS Editor and in SolidWorks before their use by CONTEKS.


There is no Save button. CONTEKS Editor writes all changes to CONTEKS.ini as they are made.
There is no Undo.


The CONTEKS Editor and CONTEKS can both be run at the same time.
However, since CONTEKS only reads its data when it first runs, any changes made after this, using CONTEKS Editor, won’t take affect until the next time CONTEKS starts.



How you assign your CONTEKS is entirely up to you and whichever keyboard shortcut assignments work best for how you use SolidWorks.


You can assign CONTEKS based on a common topic, such as for mirroring, as shown here and in the Read Me.


You can also assign CONTEKS to SolidWorks functions which have no commonality.
Because there are a limited number of readily reached keyboard shortcuts, CONTEKS allows you to “share” keyboard shortcuts, effectively expanding the number of SolidWorks functions that can be assigned to handy keyboard shortcuts.
As you will read below, all CONTEKS Master keys, along with their descriptions, display on the CONTEKS right-click menu.
So, if you create this “mixed” type of CONTEKS, word its description accordingly and you’ll have a ready reminder without having to open the CONTEKS Editor for a reminder.


You can assign CONTEKS to one SolidWorks function for one SolidWorks context.
This is what you do now, but with one major difference:
If you inadvertently press this keystroke in the wrong SolidWorks context, nothing happens to potentially derail your momentum with an incorrect command in an incorrect context.


See the attached Read Me file for more detailed information on CONTEKS and CONTEKS Editor.


I hope you find CONTEKS useful.


Please post any questions or suggestions and also report any errors you encounter.