About Face

Using Face Selection in SolidWorks is Faster and Better!

There’s an important moral lesson my parents taught me, and I try to teach my kids: “Doing what’s right, and doing what’s easy, are seldom the same thing.” In the case of selecting Faces instead of Edges in SolidWorks, doing what’s right and doing what’s easy are the same thing!

Several SolidWorks commands – Fillet, Chamfer, Offset, Convert Entities, to name a few – allow the selection of model Faces instead of just individual Edges. This makes it much faster and easier to apply those commands to create your model (much less clicking). And there’s an added benefit!

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When you select a Face as the input to a Feature or Sketch Tool, SolidWorks remembers that selection and will forever Rebuild based on that selection. This makes models very robust to even dramatic topological changes, since although the number or shape of edges may change, the internal identity of the Face itself is retained and reused by SolidWorks.

Depending on the command, when you select a Face, SolidWorks will automatically select either all the Edges of that Face, or all the outside Edges of that Face.

In situations where you don’t want to use all the Edges, you can use Select Loop to pick a subset of Edges. Select Loop is found in the Right Mouse Button menu on an Edge. You can toggle the yellow arrow to pick which Face you want to use to define the Loop for that Edge. You can also often pre-select a Loop by Ctrl-selecting a Face plus one its Edges.

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In this example, you can see how by making use of Face/Loop selection for Chamfer, Offset, Fillet, and Shell, this entire part rebuilds perfectly even after deleting the rectangle in the very first sketch and sketching a completely different profile (the star, in honor of today’s holiday).

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See? Selecting Faces and Loops in SolidWorks is faster, easier, and the right thing to do! How often is that true?

This concept and other best practices are covered in CAPINC’s Essentials Course.

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