17 Replies Latest reply on Apr 9, 2010 3:58 PM by Tom Spine

    Default end condition for Extrude features

    Tom Spine

      I’d like to get your input on a user interface complaint that we occasionally receive. I’m going to describe the issue here in this discussion thread, and am going to create a poll where you can vote your choice. Since the forum software has a poll feature, I’m curious to see how it will work out. I’m going to keep the poll open for about two weeks.


      The issue is about how the end condition of Extrude variants always defaults to Blind. This includes three commands that add material (Boss Extrude, Surface Extrude, and Sheet Metal Base Flange), and three that remove material (Cut Extrude, Simple Hole, and the "Hole" hole type in the Hole Wizard).

      As you might know, SolidWorks automatically remembers many PropertyManager settings and will re-use them the next time you access a feature. For example, if you use the Fillet command and choose a Variable Radius fillet type, the next time you use this command the fillet type will be automatically set to Variable Radius again.


      But this isn’t so with the end condition for the Extrude variants. They always default to Blind, no matter what you last selected. Here is an example of the input we occasionally get about this: "If you want to fix something that really irritates most users I’ve talked to change the default state of extruded cuts to THROUGH ALL instead of BLIND. Same goes for the HOLE WIZARD. Almost every time I make a hole I have to change the default to THROUGH ALL.  Please make THROUGH ALL the default. Please Please Please. That would save sooooo much time."

      So this brings up the question. Do we simply switch the default to Through All for the extrude variants that remove material? If we do that, should we leave Blind as the default for the extrude variants that add material, or perhaps we should change those to Mid Plane? Or do we change all of the extrude variants to remember your last used end condition (even if it was something like, say, Up To Vertex)? Or do we only remember your last setting if it was either Blind, Through All, or Mid Plane? (The thinking on this last suggestion is that you probably won't be doing something like Up To Vertex multiple times in a row. The downside is it might look unpredictable.) Or do we leave it all alone?

      It isn’t entirely clear what is best to do, so I’d like you all to help us decide. I’m really curious to see if a clear consensus emerges.

      Note that for this poll, I am only including the the "Hole" hole type in the Hole Wizard. That’s because Counterbore and Countersink hole types already default to Through All, while Straight Tap and Tapered Tap default to Blind. Legacy Hole will change its default value on the fly, depending on what you last did or viewed. I’m sure you will let me know if this is a can of worms we should sort out, but let’s limit the Hole Wizard consideration to the Hole hole type for right now.

      You will find the poll, ummm, I think on the Overview tab here in the User Interface category. Please vote, and we’ll discuss the results here in this thread. We can also discuss the options, and the Hole Wizard can of worms (see above) here too if you want.

      BTW, here the the five options I defined in the poll. You get to pick one of these five:


      • Don’t change anything! Leave the default end condition as Blind in all of the Extrude variants.
      • Change the default to Through All for material removal, but leave it as Blind for addition.
      • Change the default to Through All for material removal, and Mid Plane for material addition.
      • Just change to remember my last used end condition setting for each of these commands.
      • Remember my last setting, but only if it was Blind, Through All, or Mid Plane.


      Thanks in advance - I'm really looking forward to seeing what you all think!



        • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
          Deepak Gupta



          Instead of this, can we have some kinds of settings that can be done outside/inside SolidWorks (may be different options for part, assembly and drawing) and then user can change and import them in while working. The idea is to control some of the feature's end condition like you have mentioned and then there can be reset button for these for default values. Because one user may need Blind and other may need Through All.


          Just my 2 cents.

          • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
            Roger Curl

            Deepak's solution seems the best of both worlds to me. Failing that, it should remember the last condition.








            Couldn't find the poll!

            • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
              Jim Wilkinson

              Since it is a bit hard to find, here is where polls are listed in each category of the forum interface (user interface being the category where this poll is posted). Greg is going to be working on ways to make polls a bit more visible from other places too.



              • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
                Glenn Schroeder

                Deepak's suggestion sounds good, but given the five options you listed I vote for the second one, to set the default to Through All for material removal and leave it as Blind for adding material.  When I use the Extruded Cut function it is Through All probably 95% of the time.

                • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
                  Jerry Steiger



                  This is a bit of a tangent, but why do I get right click choices (Blind, Through All, Up to Next, Up to Vertex, Up to Surface, Offset from Surface, Up to Body, Mid Plane) on the First Direction, but not on the Second Direction?


                  The existence of the RMB choices on the First Direction means that I don't really care that much about what the default end condition is on that first choice. If I had the same RMB choices on the Second Direction then I probably wouldn't care at all what the defaults are.


                  Jerry Steiger

                    • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
                      Matthew Lorono



                      My choice isn't on your poll.  My awnwer is a combination of one of your responses and my own input.  My opinion is that the default should remember last used.  This is in line with other areas of SolidWorks.  HOWEVER, there should be a default default.  Here's what I mean.  There should be a setting in the document properties of the document itself (not in system options) that allows you to set the starting default end condition.  Then, if the user starting using different end conditions, there should be an option that allows them to remember this setting for forget the setting and use the document default the next time the command is invoked.


                      Matt Lorono

                      SolidWorks Legion

                      Twitter: fcsuper

                      • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
                        Tom Spine



                        SolidWorks removes the end condition choices from the right click menu when you turn on the second direction. With only the first direction, SolidWorks knows to apply the end condition to Direction 1. But once the second direction is turned on, SolidWorks doesn't know which direction to apply the end condition to.


                        We could have to have two sections in the the context menu - one listing the end conditions for Direction 1, and the other listing the end conditions for Direction 2 (once it is turned on). This would make the menu pretty long. Or we could put the end conditions in sub-menus (much like Zoom/Pan/Rotate has a sub-menu) whenever Direction 2 is turned on.


                        End Conditions.jpg



                          • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
                            Jerry Steiger



                            Thanks for the explanation. I guess I could live with either of the two choices, but in my normal work flow, it seems much simpler. When I pick an extrude feature, direction two is invariably turned off, so I pick a body, surface or vertex with a right mouse click and make my choice. Then I turn on direction 2. Can't SolidWorks understand that a RMB on a body, surface or vertex appliew to direction 2 now?


                            Jerry Steiger

                        • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
                          Dwight Livingston



                          I voted for don't change, but I do support a document option to change the default.



                          • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
                            C. Buchner

                            I would like the through all / midplane.  However, it does not look like change is winning.


                            A small step to help - maybe change the order in extrude so midplane is second in the drop down menu and through all is last.  I have never used through all for extrude.



                            • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
                              Robert Thomson

                              I think the reason there is no overwhelming vote for change is that we all do things differently.  There was no option for what I would really like to see but I voted for:

                            • Just change to remember my last used end condition setting for each of these commands.
                            • I would rather have a document option.
                            • Rob
                              • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
                                Wayne Tiffany

                                I have been trying to think about this as I work and I think I have to choose in this order:


                                "Let me set a system option for the default I want on my machine for each defined parameter you (SW) add."


                              • "Change the default to Through All for material removal, and Mid Plane for material addition."
                              • "Remember my last setting, but only if it was Blind, Through All, or Mid Plane."

                                I preach and do midplane extrude to generate a shape addition.  You never know when you may need that center so put it there from the start.  And holes are most generally through all for me.



                                • Re: Default end condition for Extrude features
                                  Tom Spine

                                  It's been at least two weeks since the Extrude End Condition poll (remember the poll?) was closed, and I have been remiss in not getting back to you all on the results and what we are thinking based on it.


                                  First, let's take a look at the poll votes. There were 76 votes in total, and they were distributed among all five of the choices:


                                  Don't change anything1824%
                                  Through All / Blind912%
                                  Through All / Mid Plane1013%
                                  Remember Last Used2736%
                                  Remember Blind, Through All, Mid Plane1216%


                                  Interesting results. I didn't have any expectations ahead of time, so I can't say I'm surprised at the results. I think I only would have been surprised had the vast majority voted for one of the choices. I thought all five choices had some amount of merit, so I find it pretty reasonable that all five received votes.


                                  But how to interpret those results? Well, three things stike me:

                                  1. About 75% of the poll respondents voted for something other than the current behavior.
                                  2. "Remember Last Used" (which is consistent with how many other PropertyManager settings work) was the choice with the most votes.
                                  3. "Remember Blind, Through All, Mid Plane" is really a variant of "Remember Last Used" (a variant with exceptions). Combining those two choices accounts for more than 50% of the responses.


                                  So given this, my current intent is to change to the "remember last used" type of behavior. Just to be clear, this means changing to remember the last used end condition per each extrude type and direction. Each of these end conditions will be remembered independently of the others:

                                  • Boss Extrude - Direction 1
                                  • Boss Extrude - Direction 2
                                  • Cut Extrude - Direction 1
                                  • Cut Extrude - Direction 2
                                  • Surface Extrude - Direction 1
                                  • Surface Extrude - Direction 2
                                  • Sheet Metal Base Flange - Direction 1
                                  • Sheet Metal Base Flange - Direction 2
                                  • Simple Hole - Direction 1
                                  • Hole Wizard Hole
                                  • Hole Wizard Legacy Hole


                                  In addition, these end conditions will be remembered across sessions. This will make these settings consistent with other SolidWorks PropertyManager settings.


                                  In addition to the poll, there were a good number of write in comments, both in this thread and in the poll. I sorted through and categorized them, and my summary looks like this:

                                  CommentNumber Supporting
                                  Document option, possibly with a "reset button" in the PM8
                                  System option2
                                  "Save this setting as default" button (implies doc or system option as well)1
                                  Add RMB choices for Second Direction3
                                  Automatically use same type (and distance) when Second Direction is turned on1
                                  Change order so Mid Plane is second, and Through All is last1
                                  Make it "heads up"1


                                  Here I will admit to some amount of surprise at the number of "option" comments. But as the comments rolled in I started to see why a document option approach was attracting so many supporting comments (i.e., the ability to set up different templates for different types of work). What gives me pause, however, is the slippery slope issue. If we were to introduce a document option for the eleven extrude end conditions listed above, where does it stop? Does it put us on a path to have doucment (or system) options for every feature? If we have a document option for the end condition type, do we need to include a depth option for Blind end conditions? How big/messy will that Options UI end up? And what about Reset buttons, and/or "Make this my default" buttons? There's a potential for a whole lot of new UI in a whole lot of PropertyManagers. Are there usability or learnability implications? Don't get me wrong, I'm not dismissing the ideas outright. I'm just saying that the implications might be larger than they first appear, so instead of rushing in half-*** (Matt? You listening?), I'd rather take these suggestions under advisement for further investigation and fleshing out.


                                  On the other hand, the suggestion for adding Direction 2 choices to the RMB menu immediately hit me like an "of course" slap upside the head. I think I might have first seen this in a response posted by Tom Helsley. In keeping with a "minimize mouse travel" approach, it makes a lot of sense to be able to (1) reverse Direction 1, and (2) turn on/off Direction 2 from the RMB menu. And so part 2 of my current intention can be seen in this image:

                                  End Conditions RMB.jpg

                                  Here are the changes of note:

                                  • Clear Selections has been moved from being with the Direction 1 end conditions and grouped with Select Other. In the current implementation, Clear Selections is grouped with OK and Cancel when Direction 2 is turned on.
                                  • Sub-sections with RMB title bars have been created for Direction 1 and Direction 2. Both subsections are always displayed.
                                  • Menu checkmarks are used to show the current setting for Direction 1 and for Direction 2. These act like radio button settings within each set. For example, if the user changes from Blind to Through All for Direction 1, then the checkmark next to Blind is removed, and a checkmark appears next to Through All.
                                  • The Redraw command has been removed.


                                  So, to summarize (before this gets any longer):

                                  • Thank you to everyone who responded to the poll and/or contributed comments!
                                  • Pending all the usual caveats (development time, QA testing, so on), we are planning on changing the default to remember the last used end condition for each of the extrude variants and directions.
                                  • Pending all the usual caveats, we are planning on changing the RMB menu to support changing Direction 1, as well as setting Direction 2.
                                  • The idea of creating a document (or system) option is on the docket for further research and investigation.