Solid Thinking: Check Your Drawings for Spelling Errors

14 Aug, 2005 By: Greg Jankowski Cadalyst

SolidWorks checks your drawings and drawing formats for misspellings.

I admit that I am horrible at spelling. I don't think I could write a document anymore without the ability to check the spelling before anyone sees the document -- a problem when creating drawings that are going to manufacturing or, more importantly, to a vendor or customer. It just looks unprofessional to have misspelled words in a document.

SolidWorks 2006 now can spell check a drawing document. The Spell Checker tool works in a similar manner to other applications that spell check.

Setting Up and Customizing the Dictionary
The first place to start is to set up, customize and share the dictionary used for the Spell Checker. A better way to set up the Spell Checker is to not change the default SolidWorks dictionary. The name and default location for the User Dictionary is shown in figure 1. This way, as SolidWorks adds more words to the dictionary, you get the updates with new service packs and versions of SolidWorks -- without affecting your custom additions.

Figure 1. The User Dictionaries dialog box.

For company specific words and phrases, create a new dictionary and share this one with other users on a common network drive. You can place both dictionaries in the same drive, but only modify the new dictionary. To share dictionaries with other users within your company, set the Spelling Folders option in Tools \ Options \ System Options \ File Locations to a common location on the network.

To create a new dictionary, click New on the User Dictionary dialog box. This dialog box is accessed from the Dictionaries button. The User Dictionaries dialog box options are:

• New -- Create a new dictionary. You would create a company specific dictionary. Give the dictionary a name that others will recognize and make sure they are pointing to the new dictionary.

• Add -- Add an existing dictionary to the list.

• Edit -- Add and remove words from the selected dictionary (figure 2).

• Remove -- Remove the selected dictionary from the list.

Figure 2. Add or remove words from a dictionary.

Checking for Errors
Now that your dictionaries are set up, customized and shared among your users, you are ready to start checking spelling in your drawings. The PropertyManager dialog box appears after choosing Spell from the Tools menu or by pressing the F7 function key. SolidWorks will then check the document for spelling errors.

Figure 3 shows the results of the spell check. The word "typical" is misspelled. The choices are standard for a spell checker (Ignore, Ignore All, Change, Change All, Add and Undo). The example shows the dimension value as DIM. Do not change or edit this value as this is driven from the geometry. The spell checker will not show this as a misspelled word. The misspelled text is also highlighted in the graphics area (figure 3).

Figure 3. Spelling Check PropertyManager dialog box.

Other common spell check options are available by clicking the More Options button within the Spelling Check PropertyManager dialog box. You can set options to ignore certain conditions like upper case letters, mixed case, numbers in words, and Internet and file names (figure 4). If you use these names often, add them to your custom dictionary.

Figure 4. Spelling Option dialog box.

Don't Forget the Drawing Formats
You can also check drawing formats for spelling. When checking a drawing, the underlying drawing format, which is carried over from the drawing template selected when the drawing was created, is not checked by default.

The best way to ensure there are no misspelled words within the drawing templates is to open the templates and right-click within the graphics windows and select Edit Sheet Format. Then spell check the template. When complete, right-click in the graphics area and select Edit Sheet, then save the template. All drawings created from the template will use the changed formats.

When creating a drawing format, links can be created from a text note to the value of a custom property. Linked text like $PRPSHEET:"Description" will show up as a spelling error and should not be changed.

Checking your drawings and drawing formats for misspellings is now an easy and straightforward process using the SolidWorks spell checker.

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