How to master the SOLIDWORKS 2016 selection tools

Read on to find out an easy way to multi-select components using the large toolset available to you in SOLIDWORKS 2016…

As CAD users, we often need to select multiple components in a SOLIDWORKS assembly. This would normally involve ctrl + selecting items from your tree/graphics area, or windowing around a selection of components. You’ll be pleased to know there is an easier way to multi-select components using the large toolset available to you. You can find the command on the quick access toolbar at the top of the user interface highlighted in the image below:


If you look in this toolbar you are likely to already have ‘select’ and ‘Box selection’ switched on. You can change from box selection to lasso selection in this menu, or on the right click menu (Lasso selection allows you to select all entities around which you draw a free hand loop).

Here’s a full list of the commands and what they do.

Select All: Selects all shown components and highlights them in the FeatureManager design tree.

Volume Select: Selects components based on a temporary volume that you define. To use this tool draw a window in the graphics area, an adjustable cube will be created. If you have windowed left to right anything contained within the volume will be selected. If you have windowed right to left anything touching the volume will be selected (this behaviour is consistent with the normal select tool.


Select Suppressed: Selects all suppressed components and highlights them in the FeatureManager design tree.

Select Hidden: Selects all hidden components and highlights them in the FeatureManager design tree.

Select Mated To: Selects all components mated to the selected component.

Select Internal Components: Selects all components that are enclosed by other components, and highlights them in the FeatureManager design tree.

Please note: The command visibly checks the six orthogonal views of the assembly: top, bottom, front, back, right, and left. If a component is visible in one of these views, even if a single pixel of the component is visible, the component is not internal and the component is not selected.

Select By Size: Displays the Selected Components by Size dialog box, where you can specify a percentage of assembly size to select. Components smaller than the percentage you enter are selected.




Select By Views: Displays the Select Components by View dialog box, where you can select up to three views. Components that are visible from the views you select are selected. In the image we have chosen to select by the components that are visible in the front view. We are looking at the back of this model which is why the shaft, end cover and circlip are not selected.


Select Toolbox: Selects all Toolbox components in the assembly, or any component that has had the toolbox flag applied to it.

Advanced Select: Opens the Advanced Component Selection dialog box, where you can define and apply component search criteria. In this example we have selected from the pre-defined list under category 1 Custom Properties. Category 2 then becomes available allowing us to select the property we want to search on based on the custom properties already defined in the components of the assembly. We then type in the value we want to search for.

We can then add another rule to this, which can be an ‘And’ or ‘Or’ Statement. We have then defined under category 1 Component Status. Then from the pre-defined drop down list in value we have selected ‘resolved’.

We can continue to add rules to this if need be. We can also choose to save the search criteria for future use.


Understanding these select tools should hopefully make the selection of components in assemblies quicker and easier…


We hope you found that useful!

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