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Why are SOLIDWORKS Dimensions Yellow?

Monday March 20, 2023 at 12:30pm

Dimensions in SOLIDWORKS sketches will usually turn a shade of yellow when they are missing at least one reference.

These references are positional information for dimensions and are required to create accurate parametric features.

We refer to these yellow or khaki dimensions as dangling dimensions.


Dangling dimensions are dimensions that have lost a reference. This might be to a sketch entity, model edge, vertex, or face.

This often happens when a sketch or dimension references a different sketch or model entity – something that influences the sketch you’re editing.

If at any point a referenced sketch entity, model edge, vertex, or face is changed while the current sketch exists, then SOLIDWORKS will attempt to update the current sketch and any dimensions that reference the other, referenced sketch.

When working parametrically, the current sketch should update all those references and dimensions with no problems.

However, if any of those referenced entities are removed or replaced, then the references are lost, causing dimensions to dangle.


Fortunately dangling dimensions are easy to fix, and we have a few ways to manage them.

Dangling dimensions are always accompanied by a warning on the sketch. Clicking on the sketch or our What’s Wrong dialog will tell us what’s happening and how to resolve the issue.

We can then edit the affected sketch and repair the dimensions by:

  • deleting the dangling dimension and redefining a new one
  • dragging the red square at the base of the dangling dimension onto a new reference

When making design changes, if you often find dimensions are dangling, then it might be worth considering if there is a more efficient way of defining your sketches to ensure they update with each change.

If you have a SOLIDWORKS subscription, our Technical Support team can help you assess your sketches and design intent, and offer solutions to get you designing more efficiently.

Our expert SOLIDWORKS Engineers are only a phone call or email away. Contact the team on 01926 333777 or via


Admittedly, this is unlikely… but it’s not impossible!

If you’ve been through your sketches with a fine toothcomb and they are still yellow despite there being no dangling dimensions, then it’s time to double check your SOLIDWORKS settings.

SOLIDWORKS has a vast array of customisation available, from toolbars and menus to fonts and colours, so there can be lots of places to check when things don't look quite right.

Head to the Options cog and check in on Colors.

Dimensions, Imported (Driving) should be black. If it’s yellow – then there’s your issue!

When working with multiple users across a variety of projects, sometimes these colours are modified to make SOLIDWORKS more accessible, so it’s helpful to know how to change them or even reset SOLIDWORKS to default.

Take the Next Steps...

Learn how to save your SOLIDWORKS settings and how to restore the default SOLIDWORKS settings.

This quick video guide will run you through the process.

If you want to enhance your SOLIDWORKS skills, then sign up to our CPD-accredited training courses.

Whether you’re a beginner or are intimately familiar with CAD, our friendly and expert trainers are ready to help you get the most out of SOLIDWORKS, either online or in a classroom local to you.

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