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How to Make Better Drawings in SOLIDWORKS

Monday May 15, 2023 at 8:00am

The answer is layers.

Layers are a fantastic and easy way of controlling the appearance of different SOLIDWORKS drawing elements: whether that be colour, visibility, line thickness or style.

They help to elevate your drawings to the next level, improving readability and making it easier to apply edits across a drawing, without having to click a thousand text boxes.

The most efficient way to use layers is by incorporating them into your drawing templates. So let’s show you how to set up layers in a SOLIDWORKS drawing.

Open a new drawing with the default template.

Layers are set up and controlled via the Layer Toolbar, which can be turned on in the View menu > Toolbars > Layer.

In the toolbar, the dropdown menu is used to specify an active layer to which new annotations will be assigned.

The Layer Properties button is used to create and manage the layers.

  1. Controls visibility of layers.
  2. Controls if layers are allowed to print.
  3. Allows selected entities to move to a new layer.

To allow SOLIDWORKS to auto-assign different drawing elements to their correct layers, Document Properties need to be set.

Access Document Properties under the System Options cog.

Everything other than DimXpert and Virtual Sharps under the Drafting Standard header can be configured to be automatically assigned to a specific layer when inserted into a drawing.

The Layer drop-down is typically found on the right-hand side.

Choose your desired layers for each annotation type within their drop-down menus and click OK.

Before saving the template or inserting any new entities, ensure the active layer is set to -Per Standard- to assign new entities and drawing elements to the layers specified within the Document Properties.

You can then save the document as a drawing template (.drwdot) under the Save As menu. For more information on setting up and creating drawing templates, find a SOLIDWORKS training course near you, or attend one online.

To change which layer an existing entity belongs to, select the entities in question, right-click and select Change Layer.

The layer can also be changed via the Property Manager after making a selection.

Layers can also be set for components, whether in a drawing of a part or an assembly – as long as it can be selected, the layer can be changed.

Take the Next Steps...

With a SOLIDWORKS subscription you gain access to our expert SOLIDWORKS Technical Support team.

So if your issue persists and you find your workflow disrupted by repeated SOLIDWORKS crashes, then give us a call on 01926 333 777 or drop an email to and one of our expert engineers will be in contact.

To help diagnose your issue, we may ask for an Rx recording of the issue. Check out this walkthrough to learn how to create an Rx without video that captures your system information and can be sent to our Technical Support team.

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