34 Replies Latest reply on Mar 27, 2012 3:26 PM by Mike Cole

    Sketch Numeric Input

    Robert Jost

      Hi Everyone,

       

      Rob from SolidWorks Product Definition here. 

       

      There is a system option for sketches in SolidWorks called “Enable on screen numeric input on entity creation”.  When enabled, this option displays dimensions as you sketch different entities, and allows you to enter a value for that dimension as you sketch.  This allows you to create your line or circle at the exact size you need it to be, without having to go back and enter a dimension value later. 

       

      My questions to everyone are:

       

      • How many of you are using this option?
      • Do you find it useful?

       

      Thanks,

      Rob

        • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
          Deepak Gupta

          Rob, I hardly think if anyone is not using this option as no one would love to do a work twice

           

          I misread your post as "Input dimension value". I never used this option as there was nothing mentioned on "Add dimension" option and now knowing about it, it'll be interesting to use it.

           

          So in case you planning to take it off, don't do that

          • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
            Mark Kaiser

            I found it annoying and I don't use it.  I don't want a dimension for every sketch entity I draw.  I only add dims after I've added relations, and I try to go with as few dims as possible.  To me, the option just clutters up my sketch (and yes, I do fully define sketches).

            • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
              Robert Jost

              Thanks for all the feedback everyone. 

               

              I’m going to put one more question out there, this time specifically regarding the “Add Dimension” checkbox. 

               

              Do you feel it’s needed?  For example, if you’re taking the time to enter a value, then I think we can assume you want a dimension there.  Let’s say you don’t enter a value, do you still want the dimension? 

               

              Thanks,

              Rob

                • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
                  Deepak Gupta

                  I don't see a reason to have a dimension if I don't enter a value as later also if I need a dimension, I can add it.

                  • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
                    Keith Parker

                    Rob - I feel that it is needed more than Numeric Input.  My suggestion is that Numeric Input could go and Add Dimension could take over.  That way, the functionality is immediate to the entity that's being created instead of it being a global functionality.

                     

                    I don't use Numeric Input as I'm often doing blue-sky sketching that I only constrain/dimension later.  I also find Numeric Input a sightly-annoying distraction.  However, the idea of switching on Add Dimension and having that give Numeric Input + a dimension is growing on me as I write.  Would still definitely want it local to the entity creation UI, not as a system or document option.

                     

                    Keith

                    • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
                      Wayne Matus

                      My personal feelings, no I do not need it. If I am going to turn on the option, Tools -> Options, I am going to want to add a dimension. If I want to just key in a value, I can do that in the property manager without the option. But it does not bother me with it being there.

                       

                      I still have not tested in 2012, but I would like to see it automatically add the constraint and not add the dimension if one of the two would over define it. In 2011 it will add the dimension and not the constraint even though you do get the graphical feedback.

                      • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
                        Kelvin Lamport

                        I find the Add Dimension option to be unecessary. I usually want my sketch elements to be dimensioned when I create them. Holding down the ALT key disables the dimension for the few times it is not wanted.

                         

                        Unlike the circles and lines, the dimensions for rectangles is not carried between sessions on my system. (Is that a Bug ?) That is annoying.

                          • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
                            Tom Strohscher

                            I like this auto dimension idea so I've been triing to use it every chance I get.  It is however frustrating with the over definition and it's basic function.

                             

                            I use the Alt key too often to bypass adding the dimensions.  It would be nice if the "Add Dimension" feature is off holding the alt key would add a dim.  If the "Add Dimension" feature was on holding the Alt key would not as a dim like it is now.  The Atl key should teperarally do the opposite.

                             

                            Better yet might be to set the feature based on the sketch enity.  I think a circle should always get a dia dim.  A radius sould always get a rad dim.  Slots and squares sould get them automatically.  But sketch lines most likly not.  This is when the over defining problems come in.

                            If you sketch lines at angles it tosses on dimensions you'll never use.  Most of the time I don't dimension the length of a line I dimension between lines or between other sketch items.  So I would like to turn the feature on for everything except lines.

                             

                            A cool feature to add would be to dimension the angle between lines as you draw them if they are not horizontal, veritcal, perpendicular or parallel.  If SW is adding another type of constraint then don't put the dimension.

                             

                            I've not used typing in the value but I will start to.  I'm so use to the number of clicks it takes to sketch I don't ever think about it.  So changing the habits will take a little effort.

                        • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
                          Tim Dunbar

                          Thanks for the link Kelvin. 

                           

                          I thought this was new to 2012 because I always had the "enable on screen....." on, must have just missed this.  I would like the dimension to be added without having to check the "add dimension" box.  Only reason I say this is because I've checked the add dimension box on for all of my sketches and I come in today and start sketching and the box is unchecked.  It seems like this option resets with a new session.  As long as I don't shut down my solidworks the box stays checked, but when I restart solidworks it becomes unchecked.  So I'm for adding the dim with this option, or adding a global option.

                          • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
                            Robert Jost

                            Thanks everyone for the feedback!

                             

                            Tom, noted on your enhancements regarding the Tab Key and constraining while dimensioning.  Also, the "add dimension" checkbox is available on a "per entity" basis, so you can turn it on for rectangles and off for lines.  As the others have pointed out, its session specific.  I'm looking into this right now actually and have another question:

                             

                            If this setting was remembered between sessions, do you think users would forget this setting is on, and find themselves wondering why rectangles auto-dimension and circles do not?  Lets say one forgets that setting is on, two days later they sketch a rectangle for a concept, and find themselves having to go back and delete the dimensions they didn't want.  If we change the behavior of this setting, I just want to make sure it wouldn't cause more frustration than good.

                             

                            Thanks,

                            Rob

                              • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
                                Tim Dunbar

                                If by default the add dimension is off and then the user turned it on.  I don't think they would forget why their rectangle is getting dimensioned and not their circle a few days later.  I myself dimension 99% of my sketches because I like fully defined sketches and i find it easier to change a sketch at the model level just by double clicking on the model.

                                • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
                                  Kelvin Lamport

                                  Consistency is the key. If the option is changed make sure it affects all elements equally. Currently the Add Dimensions option for rectangles is not remembered between sessions (on my system anyway). It is remembered for lines and circles. There is no option either way for the polygon's inscribed or subscribed circle ... and there should be, BTW.

                                  • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
                                    Tom Strohscher

                                    I hope you are refering to 2012 and not 2011.

                                    Because my 2011sSP4 seems to work opposite to what you are all describing.

                                     

                                    My computer does remember what the setting is when I close the part, close SW and then start a new part.

                                    If it was last turned on when I wa sketching a line it is on when I come back into SW.  If it's off when I last sketched a line it's off when I restart SW and start a new part.

                                     

                                    It also does not make a difference if I am sketching a circle, rectangle, line or any other sketch enity.  The add dim check apply to all.

                                     

                                    If I sketch a circle with the add dim on I get a dim.  Go to sketch a line and the add dim is on.  I turn it off and draw my line.  Go into a circle again and the add dim check if off.

                                     

                                    The check is not specific to each sketch item.

                                  • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
                                    Jesse Cotterman

                                    Hey Rob,

                                     

                                    Jesse here, from Boa Technology.  How's it going?

                                     

                                    I came across your post when I was actually looking for a way to disable this feature.  It's a feature I never use, and didn't know existed until recently.  Disable isn't exactly the right word - I figured that out.  I was actually looking for a way to remove it's icon from the sketch context menu.

                                     

                                    In 2012, it's added to the sketch context menu that appears when you right click.  I'd LOVE to have the ability to customize the icons at the top of the context menu and remove the Sketch Numeric Input icon, because I don't use it, and it looks similar enough to the smart dimension icon that having them side-by-side on the icon bar can be a bit confusing.

                                     

                                    To be fair, I did give it a chance - when it was added to the context icons, I figured it must be important, so I tried it out.  I found it awkward to use, and that it didn't really fit with my workflow.  I typically layout some lines about where I want them, then go back and dimension them all...

                                     

                                    Anyway, customizing the sketch context icon bar to get rid of this icon (and maybe remove/add a couple others) would be a great software add.

                                     

                                    Thanks for listening,

                                    jesse

                                      • Re: Sketch Numeric Input
                                        Mike Cole

                                        Robert,

                                         

                                        It's called the Alt Key if you don't want a dimension created With Enable On Screen Input users can hold down the Alt key and Dimensions will not be created while sketching entities. I find this comes to the rescue most times..

                                        I would like to have more control over the input in terms of X,Y locations or Angle Length like UGNX did several years ago when they implemented this functionality.

                                         

                                        The Enable onscreen input was implemented in 2009 release and I have been using it since.

                                        The only flaw with the functionality is that you cannot choose to disable or enable dimensions after you start sketching the entity like you can with construction option for lines. I do know you've put it in the dimension dialog of sketch in 2012 so it no longer needs to be enabled/disabled from system options.

                                         

                                        Maybe for the easier auto add option you can have SolidWorks add a Dim if enter key is pressed but if for a rectangle D1 is entered then Tab and D2 is entered then Enter key is pressed you'd get the correct size but only the second dimension.

                                         

                                        Michael