30 Replies Latest reply on Nov 8, 2010 6:53 PM by Tom Helsley

    Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?

    Dave Lelonek

      Hello All,

       

      I really love SolidWorks, the more I use it the more I like it. In so many ways I feel the software is very well throughout and very intuitive.

       

      OK, here comes one thing I don't like - the measure tool.

       

      I really thought I just did not understand how this worked until I just got of the phone with my VAR and they confirmed the issues I am having.

       

      I have been designing for 20 years and in every package I have used, I always have had the ability to measure anything. In SW, I can't get a distance from and intersection to another

       

      Please someone tell me I am crazy and this tool is useful?

       

      Also, what if I simply want to get a distance between two cursor positions? I really feel this tool needs a tremendous amount of work.

       

      I would appreciate any schooling on this tool from the users that know it much better.

       

      Thanks.

        • Re: Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?
          Matt Wallace

          David Lelonek from AMT, man, I know you from somewhere....

           

          I am not getting your issue.  You can select points, edges, faces, axes, ..., most anything I can think of, and the measure tool gives lots of information, and can do it in dual units.  What is it not doing for you?  At most, you might have to create some reference geometry or a sketch to have something to select.

          • Re: Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?
            Tom Helsley
            Yeah, the measure tool is pretty limited.  There have been many times when I wanted to measure between two parts and not necessarily the min, max or center distances.  Most of those cases, I had to create som sketches, add some points, etc.. It sucks!  A few other times, the geometry I was measuring was so irregular that SolidWorks picked the wrong min distance place to measure.  Ugh!!!
            • Re: Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?
              Paul Mihala

              'Also, what if I simply want to get a distance between two cursor positions?'

              I think it should definately be able to do this, sometimes you just want a rough dimension where theres no points or lines to select and you can't unless you draw some lines in to measure to. It defeats the purpose of using the tool then as its supposed to be a 'quick use' tool i believe.

                • Re: Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?
                  Mark Larson

                  I cannot begin to count the number of times somebody has "measured" a distance that turned out to be wrong

                  if it's wrong, it's not a measurement

                  and any tool that gives a wrong measurement in this day and age is severley lacking

                   

                  when I want to absolutely positively know the distance I create  a sketch and use dim to find the distance

                  takes the guesswork out of the lame measurement tool

                  and if you have to create geometry to get a measurement in the tool, might as well use sketch and be sure of the results

                   

                  OP is correct, measure tool is lame, not up to the quality of the rest of the software

                    • Re: Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?
                      Dave Lelonek

                      Hey Everyone,

                       

                      Does anyone know if this tool has been improved in SW 2011?

                       

                      Thanks and Have a great day!

                        • Re: Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?
                          Dale Dunn

                          In 08 or 09 the measure tool finally gained the ability to show dual units, and some other enhancements. What it can actually measure has not been materially enhanced.

                          • Re: Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?
                            Greg Hynd

                            Apparently the measure tool is improved in 2011. dont ask me how, though!

                              • Re: Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?
                                Tom Spine

                                Yes, we did make some changes to the measure tool in 2011. These changes improved the ability to use the measure tool at the same time as other commands. As Mike McLaughlin said a couple of posts back, it is no longer "modal."

                                 

                                Prior to 2011, selections didn't play nice if you had the measure tool open and then started another command. For example, if you had the measure tool open and then you started the Fillet command, you were pretty much stuck -- you had to dismiss the measure tool in order to make any selections for the Fillet PropertyManager.

                                 

                                But starting in 2011, you can have the measure tool open, and then start other commands, and move back and forth. Taking my fillet example again, you can have the measure tool open and you can start the Fillet command. Now you can give selection to the measure tool and make measurements. And you can then move selection back to the Fillet PropertyManager and make selections there. Both the measure tool and a PropertyManager can be active at the same time, and selections in both places will work.

                                 

                                One detail to note about this change is that we introduced a new "Measure Highlight" system color (Tools > Options > System Options > Colors) in order to allow measure tool selections to be visually distince from PropertyManager selections.

                                 

                                I am eager to hear suggestions for how the measure tool could be improved, though. I'd love input and feedback here, and could potentially use your input for an "improve the measure tool" future project...  Thanks!

                                 

                                Tom Spine

                                SolidWorks User Experience

                                  • Re: Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?
                                    Dave Lelonek

                                    Tom,

                                     

                                    I greatly appreciate your reply. As far as suggestions on how to improve this tool, how much time do you have?

                                     

                                    First, measuring cursor positions would be a big benifit as well as the ability to snap projections from edges, etc. I am still learning NX, but if you would like to do a goto meeting I would be happy to show you how NX measure works. Also, I am sure you could teach me a few things I don't know about this tool.

                                     

                                    Contact me if you are interested and we can setup a time.

                                     

                                    Thanks.

                                    • Re: Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?
                                      Tom Helsley

                                      Wow, non-modal measure dialog box would've been a great thing to put into the What's New document. Could you elaborate on the color options?  I noticed some changes in the list of items, but I didn't understand what the new items were related to... and the help didn't help.

                                        • Re: Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?
                                          Tom Spine

                                          Tom - you are absolutely right. This should have been in the What's New. It's entirely my fault that I overlooked getting this info into Documentation's hands. <insert picture of me shaking my head here, accompanied by a dope slap!>

                                           

                                          Here's a little bit of info about the color options that may help...

                                           

                                          In Tools > Options > Systems Options > Colors, there are 4 "selected item" system colors, named Selected Item 1, Selected Item 2, Selected Item 3, and Selected Item 4:

                                          System Colors.png

                                          These colors are used in PropertyManagers (PMs) and in the graphics area to distinguish different selections. An example is the Plane PM, where each of the the three potential references will have its own color. In the Plane example, the new plane preview is shown using Selected Item 1 color, the First Reference uses Selected Item 2, and so on. The selection in the graphics area is created with the corresponding selected item color.

                                          plane pm.png

                                          At this point it might be important to point out that all of these colors can be customized in the Options dialog. You can switch between different color schemes, and can create your own as well.

                                           

                                          Also, if a PropertyManager happens to need more than 4 different selections, I think the system will just cycle back through them again. However, I am not aware of any PMs that actually do need more than 4. Oh, I do know that is at least one PM that does have four -- but I can't think of it off the time of my head. That's bothering me now - I know there is one, but I just can't remember! PMs that use two and three colors are quite common.

                                           

                                          Prior to 2011, the Measure Tool used Selected Item 1 color. In making it modeless, though, that wouldn't do -- there would be a color conflict between what might be selected in a PM and what was selected for the Measure Tool. At first, I played around with the idea of just using Selected Item 4 color for the Measure Tool selections. I mean, what are the chances of someone using the all-so-rare PM that has 4 colored selections and then using the Measure Tool at the same time? But in the interest of avoiding any problems, in the end we decided to introduce the Measure Highlight color as a new named system color - and thus not have any conflicts between selection color highlighting and measure color highlighting. Out of the box, I defined the Measure Highlight color as straight up green (RGB 0, 255, 0).

                                           

                                          Here's an example showing Face <1> highlighted with Selected Item 1 color, Face <2> highlighted with Selected Item 2 color, and the edge between those two faces highlighted with Measure Highlight color:

                                          measure color.png

                                          Hope this helps.

                                           

                                          --Tom

                                            • Re: Measure Tool, please tell me it's gonna get better?
                                              Tom Helsley

                                              Thanks, for the very thorough explanation, Tom.  Now, if you could copy and paste that into the help database, the help would be much more helpful (how many more times can I put help in this sentence?? ).

                                               

                                              One other thing, sorry for changing the subject slightly, but since were talking about selections and colors, would it be possible to get that RealView selection glow without

                                              RealView turned on?  I really like that glow because my selections really stand out and don't get visually confused with the other colors in my assemblies.  Occaisionally, somebody will color their model the same as my selection color, and then I can't tell what I'm selecting.  Most of the time I don't want to use, or one of my computer's graphics cards doesn't support RealView.  I've got a lot of folks here who have been saying the same thing to me.