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3 Tips and Tricks for 2D Sketching in SOLIDWORKS

Solidworks 2D Drawing

2D sketching forms the foundation of any SOLIDWORKS design. It allows you to create precise and accurate profiles that serve as the building blocks for 3D models. Mastering 2D sketching techniques not only enhances your efficiency but also ensures better design outcomes.

In this blog post, we will explore three essential tips and tricks to improve your 2D sketching skills in SOLIDWORKS.

1. Utilize Sketch Constraints

What does it mean to constrain a Solidworks sketch?

To create a CAD model, it’s crucial to begin with well-defined sketches that form the basis for developing 3D geometry. Ensuring accuracy and preserving design intent rely on effective sketch constraints.

Sketch constraints involve adding dimensions or relations to specific elements within the two-dimensional shape. For instance, when aiming for a sharp right-angle corner, you have two options: dimensioning or adding relations.

Dimensioning involves precisely specifying that lines are 90 degrees apart, allowing explicit control over size and angular relationships. By adding dimensions, you achieve precise adjustments while maintaining design intent.

To fully define and easily adjust your sketch, apply constraints effectively. Select the relevant entities and establish relationships through constraints. Consider the order in which you apply constraints, as it impacts adjustability and behavior.

Pro tip: Make use of the “Fully Define Sketch” tool, which automatically applies constraints and dimensions to achieve a fully defined sketch. This time-saving feature ensures your sketch is ready for modifications and additional features.

By employing appropriate constraints in your sketches, you lay a solid foundation for accurate CAD modeling. These constraints enable precise adjustments, maintain design intent, and streamline the iterative design process.

2. Take Advantage of Sketch Relations

In addition to constraints, SOLIDWORKS offers sketch relations that define geometric connections between sketch entities. Sketch relations allow you to create relationships such as tangency, symmetry, and concentricity. They help you establish precise and predictable relationships between sketch elements.

When sketching, be attentive to the relations that form between entities. SOLIDWORKS automatically applies relations as you sketch, but you can also manually add or delete them as needed. Use sketch relations to maintain design intent, ensure symmetry, and enforce specific geometric requirements.

Pro tip: The “Add Relation” tool in the sketch command manager allows you to apply specific relations between entities. It provides a comprehensive list of available relations, making it easy to establish the desired connections.

3. Employ Smart Dimensioning Techniques

Accurate dimensioning is essential for conveying design intent and ensuring proper sizing of your sketches. SOLIDWORKS offers powerful dimensioning tools that simplify the process of adding and managing dimensions within the CAD Software.

Start by strategically placing dimensions that define critical distances and sizes within your sketch. Consider aligning dimensions with geometric features to maintain clarity and organization. SOLIDWORKS provides options to control dimension appearances, such as tolerances, text formatting, and precision settings, which can enhance the readability of your sketches.

Pro tip: Take advantage of SOLIDWORKS’ “Smart Dimension” tool, which automatically infers the intended dimensions based on the sketch geometry. This tool simplifies the dimensioning process and helps maintain consistency throughout your sketches.

Click Smart Dimension on the Dimensions/Relations toolbar, or click Tools > Dimensions > Smart. The default dimension type is Parallel.

Optionally, you can choose a different dimension type from the shortcut menu. Right-click the sketch, and select More Dimensions. Choose from Horizontal, Vertical, Ordinate, Horizontal Ordinate, or Vertical Ordinate. If you are editing a drawing view, you have additional choices of Baseline and Chamfer.


Mastering 2D sketching techniques is fundamental to creating accurate and well-defined designs in SOLIDWORKS. Using sketch constraints, relations, and smart dimensioning can help you sketch faster. It can also help you keep your design in mind. Additionally, it can help you create accurate and flexible sketches.

These three tips and tricks will enhance your overall sketching experience and empower you to create high-quality 2D profiles that serve as the foundation for your SOLIDWORKS models.

Have questions about these tips or anything else related to SOLIDWORKS? Reach out to our team!