Become an advanced master of selecting in SolidWorks

Ever dreamed about stuffing Google inside your SolidWorks menu for complete control on what you want highlighted in your Feature
Manager tree when working with assemblies?

“SolidWorks Advanced Select” a tool that could be nominated as one of the most underrated tools in this deliciously fun packed 3D modeling software . Seriously, it could save you hours of searching for components and features.

Cruise your white cursor in the tiny little black arrow next to your cursors twin at the top of SolidWorks menu bar. A drop down will appear where if you click this fancy “Advanced Select…” button at the bottom, a box pops up that seems a little like it could be related to the custom properties. Do not let that scare you at all :-).
This thing is pretty easy to use even if you are fairly new to SolidWorks. These dance step only contains a few taps at the top, and a couple of drop downs that is pretty self explanatory. But what a world of options we suddenly have at hand. It’s like you just got a much tighter grip on what is going on in your Feature Manager Tree.

So what are we after?…what is the end result?… Well this function has some pretty awesome tricks for you to search for things in your assemblies because you can customize the “ceiling fan” out of it.
Here is a few I came up with:

It could be selecting things in your assembly with a specific or a range of mass.
How about highlighting the components with errors? or a part with a vendor name in the title, or materials?
My favorite could be easily be special configurations.
I recommend that if you work with large assemblies you do you self a favor and make a “Simplified”configuration of your part. Simply turn off all the fancy stuff that might put heavy loads on your system resources. Suppress of fillets, maybe even features and holes that is not needed, and then when you are roaming in your big assembly you can use these “Simplified” configurations as a draft representation of not necessary high details of parts. Now tell me that is not a wonderful resources saving tip in itself.
But now lets turn the tip into magic…
How about we quickly set up an “Advanced Select” search for parts that contains these simplified configurations, so we quickly can find where to turn them on or off?
As you can see in the above picture we simply select from the drop down named Category 1, pick a Condition for then typing “simplified” in the value box. We are like 63% done already, easy right! Now we need to give it a name as it appears in our drop down. Type that in the field to the left of save icon. (Save icon is a disk…that is kind of funny we still using that as an icon. Should be a cloud or at least a thumb drive, don’t you think?)

Next jump over to the 2nd tap “Manage Searches”. Here we can check and un-check what we want to show up in our drop down box. I also need to add that if you double click on the a given number in this tap you can actually export your search. So now you could be nice and share your custom searches with your colleagues.

“Advanced Select” can be a real time saver, and the reason not that many uses it is because they don’t even know it exsist. You can set it up for a handful of searches in minutes…what’s not to love, so lets spread the word.

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