Manufacturing

Web-Based Help Offers Answers for SolidWorks Users

13 Mar, 2010 By: Richard Doyle

Solid Thinking tutorial: The new help system introduced in SolidWorks 2010 includes improved search tools, simplified navigation, and up-to-date documentation.


Editor's note: This article courtesy of SolidWorks.

Among the new capabilities introduced in SolidWorks 2010 is a help system that displays documentation in a web-based view. Web-based documentation is available for SolidWorks, SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, and eDrawings. There are many advantages to this new help system; let's look at a few of them.

Search


More than a few SolidWorks users have found searching the help files to be a challenge. The new web-based help relies on better search technology, employing such tools as relevancy ranking, spelling correction, and guided navigation. The search results also return short descriptions that make it easier to find exactly what you are looking for.



Topic Navigation

Since the help files are web-based, the browser window provides enhanced navigation tools. Home, Next, and Previous topic buttons are available, and the "breadcrumb trails" at the top of the help topics make it easier to browse through the search results and return to where you started if the answer was not what you were looking for.


Navigation buttons and breadcrumb trails help users view other topics or return to where they started.


Staying Up to Date

Another advantage to SolidWorks web-based help is always having access to the most up-to-date documentation. In previous SolidWorks releases, the help file was a large compiled CHM file that had to be downloaded along with service pack updates. Web-based help files are always updated with the latest information available.

No Internet, No Problem

There's no need to worry about accessing SolidWorks help without an Internet connection; the compiled help files are still available locally. In fact, you are given the option of using web-based help or local help.



 

Providing Feedback to SolidWorks

Perhaps the most important change to the help documentation is the ability to provide immediate feedback to SolidWorks regarding the help documentation. A "Feedback on this topic" hyperlink at the top of each page opens a dialog box, so you can send your comments and suggestions directly to the folks responsible for updating and maintaining the help documentation.


Users can provide their feedback directly to the SolidWorks personnel responsible for the help documentation.

 
Tips for Using Web-Based Help

The web-based help files are very easy to navigate. The contents pane lists all of the available topics, with sub-topics listed below in a hierarchal view (click the + symbol to expand). To jump straight to the overview page of a particular topic (e.g., "User Interface"), simply click the topic in the contents pane. The main page will display with a list of the sub-topics. Clicking a sub-topic takes you to the help page. The breadcrumbs at the top of each page take you back through the pages you have visited.

Performing a search is easy. Enter a term in the search box and select Search. Search results are displayed with short descriptions to allow you to narrow the results further. Breadcrumb trails at the bottom of each description reflect the topic hierarchy. You can narrow the results even further via the guided navigation.

More Help Is Available

In addition to searching through the help documentation, there is an option on each search page to perform the same search in the SolidWorks Knowledge Base. Eventually, the search options will also include other resources, like the SolidWorks Discussion Forums.

The SolidWorks web-based documentation also includes many new tutorials, a glossary, and links to other SolidWorks resources.

Summary

Every SolidWorks user needs a little help now and then. Using the web-based help means that you'll always have the latest information, navigation will be vastly improved, and you will be able to find what you are looking for. Don't forget to send in your feedback if you find something missing or in need of attention — you'll be helping fellow SolidWorks users get the best help they can get when they need it.
 


About the Author: Richard Doyle


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