On the Edge: Solid Edge Shortcuts

6 Jul, 2006 By: Russell Brook

Reduce repetitive tasks like view manipulation, editing and model navigation using built-in Solid Edge shortcut menus and keystrokes to be much more productive.

Shortcuts are accessed in a variety of ways, and after you are familiar with them, they are the quickest way to achieve your tasks. Some shortcuts are always
Figure 1. The Solid Edge Menu shows some shortcuts.
available, such as File Open (Ctrl + O), and others are context sensitive. Context-sensitive shortcuts sometimes appear grayed out or are unavailable until the shortcut choice is relevant. Shortcuts are also available using a combination of both mouse and keyboard -- typically used for manipulating your views, zoom, rotate, pan and even changing your view perspective.

In this month's article, I'll review the different types of shortcuts available, how to access them and where to find them. The examples in this article are just a small sample. To find a full list of shortcuts, press F1 in Solid Edge and search for Shortcut.

Menu Shortcuts
Like other Windows applications, Solid Edge uses standard keyboard shortcuts. Menu shortcuts are used in all true Windows applications and are invoked using a combination of special keys and usually a letter or number. For example, Ctrl + S will quickly save your current file. As do many Microsoft applications,

Figure 2. A shortcut menu is available with a right-click.
Solid Edge uses keystrokes to perform similar tasks. If you look closely at the menus on Windows applications, commands with a keyboard shortcut have the key combinations adjacent to the command (figure 1).

Another way to access menu commands is to use the Alt key followed by a letter. The corresponding letter to press is underlined in the command name. For example, pressing Alt + S also saves your current file. By taking notice of the key combinations or Alt options, you will reduce mouse miles and fly through often-used commands with speed and efficiency.

Example Shortcuts
New	Ctrl + N
Open	Ctrl + O
Close	Ctrl + F4
Save	Ctrl + S
Print	Ctrl + P
Exit	Alt + F4

RMB Shortcuts
Apart from the standard Windows shortcut keystrokes, Solid Edge incorporates other ways to speed up your everyday tasks. RMB (right mouse button) shortcuts in menus are context sensitive, which means your choices vary depending on whether you are working on a part, assembly, drawing, etc. By right-clicking on a part in the assembly pathfinder, Solid Edge will give you a choice of tasks to do -- navigating your assembly tree; capturing part placement relationships; choosing which parts are hidden or visible, active or inactive; plus many other options, including finding out where a part is used or creating a drawing directly from the active part or assembly (figure 2).

Selection Choices
Solid Edge provides many methods for selecting components that make working with your assemblies easier by hiding and showing components or choosing to activate or deactivate parts to free up system resources. The Solid Edge selection toolbar has some pretty nifty tools for selecting everything with a range box, visible parts only, parts below a determined size or similar parts in other subassemblies (figure 3).

Figure 3. The Solid Edge Smart selection toolbar.

Combine these selection techniques to quickly set up your display configuration. You also are able to have more control by using shortcut keys to further refine your selection. To select components within a range, select the first component in the range, then while holding the Shift key, select the last component. Solid Edge will select everything in between. If you try the same thing holding the Ctrl key, you can add components to the selection, and if they already belong to a selection, you can remove them (figure 4). There are options to Show Only (selected parts) or to Hide/Show Parts (selected parts). The Show Only option allows you to invert your selection. These methods work throughout Solid Edge whether you are working on a drawing, a part, an assembly or sheetmetal component.

Figure 4. Use the Shift and Ctrl keys to make selections.

Other useful shortcut key examples
Cancel            Esc
Next Control      Tab
Elements          Select more than one element 
                  Shift + (click elements)
Drop select set   Esc

Keyboard Shortcuts
One of the big benefits of working in 3D is that you can see and visualize the whole design as you are building it. One key element of working in 3D is manipulating your views. Solid Edge provides icons to rotate your viewpoint, pan and zoom around your models. Other methods quickly look at a model from a predefined angle such as the top view, side view or return to the default isometric view.

View manipulation examples
Zoom In           Ctrl + Up Arrow or roll the mouse wheel
Zoom Out          Ctrl + Down Arrow or
                  roll the mouse wheel
Refresh           F5
Previous View     Alt + F5
Next View         Ctrl + F6
Clipping On/Off   Ctrl + D
Top View          Ctrl + T
Bottom View       Ctrl + B
Front View        Ctrl + F
Right View        Ctrl + R
Left View         Ctrl + L
ISO View          Ctrl + I or F8

Mouse and Keyboard Combination Shortcuts
As well as the many static viewing tools, Solid Edge also provides mouse and keyboard combinations that help you visualize your designs dynamically to quickly zoom, rotate, pan or even change perspective on your design. For example, holding Shift + RMB and moving your mouse will rotate your model (figure 5). Other useful examples are listed below. Mastering these keyboard and mouse combinations frees you up to focus on your design and means you do not have to interrupt a command if you need to change or rotate a view mid-command.


Figure 5. Use Ctrl + Shift keys and roll the middle wheel to quickly change your perspective on 3D models.

Ctrl + Shift keys and roll the middle 
     wheel it changes the perspective
Ctrl + RMB and move the mouse, zoom in and out
Shift + RMB and move the mouse will rotate your model
Ctrl + Shift + RMB to pan your model.

Shortcuts will save you a lot of time and effort; Solid Edge has lots of them, and they are most effective when you have them memorized (and the menus contain shortcut prompts). The best advice I can give you is to choose a few that you will find useful and remember them, soon they will become second nature. Then you can easily add more to you repertoire as you go. Whatever your selection tasks, using shortcut keys provides speedy precision selections techniques and speeds your design times.

See you On the Edge next month.

About the Author: Russell Brook

Russell Brook

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