SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD

Custom CommandManager Tabs: Optimize Your Workspace

By Stephen Choi on September 28, 2018

The CommandManager in SOLIDWORKS is a fantastic dock for tools that allows users to view all their available “commands” or actions at once under specific category tabs. These category tabs can be customized, allowing each to be added or removed as needed, whether it's Features, Sketch or any of the other groups.

Some may already know new tabs can be created from scratch, but how would that be beneficial? There are a few potential time-saving reasons:

  • If a new employee/student is learning SOLIDWORKS but only needs to know certain tools, you can use custom tabs to only show them what's important while avoiding distractions
  • You want to organize tabs by stage of workflow to keep commands in a chronological, clear manner
  • You have CAD experience with a different program and you want to set up SOLIDWORKS interface and toolbars to reflect how you are used to working 
  • You find yourself losing time by constantly searching through multiple tabs for just a handful of commands, you can create a tab that contains only those commands

Many users may find the predefined CommandManager tabs are sufficient. However, others that need to learn or work quickly can benefit from customization with this method.

Customizing Your CommandManager

To get started, right click on any of your currently open CommandManager tabs, and select “Customize CommandManager...”

Customize ComandManager drop-down menu

Notice that your CommandManager tabs will also display any potential add-ins in dark red. At the far-right end of the tabs region, select the tab that says, “New Tab” and then select “Empty Tab.” With the “Customize” window still open, go to the “Commands” tab. All available command categories will be displayed in a list to the left, and the corresponding buttons will appear to the right.

To create these gear designs from scratch, your engineer will need commands for both Sketch and Features, two of the categories listed on the left. We can go to these categories, click and hold the buttons and drag them to the newly created tab. If any commands are unclear, it can be selected on the right and the function of the tool is described in the description box below. This is what the process looks like.

Adding a category in the CommandManager

Make sure to organize your new CommandManager tab by dragging commands to rearrange them by right-clicking the first tool of a new section and selecting “Begin a Group.” You may also select to “Delete” a command, to display the text to the side, to make a medium sized button or underneath to make a large sized button. Flyout Toolbars open a mini menu of commands that can be added by going to the Flyout Toolbar category.

Flyout Toolbar CatgoryCustomized CommandManager Tabs Outcome

Now we know how to create CommandManager tabs, so let’s take a look at a possible outcome with an example: say there’s an engineer who works for a plastic gear manufacturer that needs to be able to churn out several sizes of several designs at a time, work either from a blueprint or based off a plastic gear assembly and create the mold for injection molding. Their custom CommandManager tab may look like this:

Custom CommandManager tabs

The engineer now has their entire process under one CommandManager tab and will not need to search the tabs for commands, thus all other tabs will be deactivated. Notice the varying button size based on clicking frequency and the dividing lines based on category. The engineer’s entire work process, from creating new parts/assemblies to mold creation to plastics injection simulation, is in a single tab.

Saving Your CommandManager Toolbar Layouts

You may want to save this tab and send it to other SOLIDWORKS users or have a backup on a server. Save it by clicking the options pulldown and selecting “Save/Restore Settings” to open the Copy Settings Wizard. Have “Save Settings” selected and press "Next." Only have the “Toolbar Layout” and “All Toolbars” selected for the CommandManager settings, but select others as needed. Once the location and name for the settings file is set, hit finish. The generated file can be stored and shared and reloaded into SOLIDWORKS by selecting “Restore Settings” in the first page of the Copy Settings Wizard. View the screenshots below to see the Wizard pages discussed.

Save/Restore Settings  Copy Settings Wizard  Save Settings to File

Now you know how to make your own CommandManager tabs! We hope this guide helps you get the job done in a quicker, smoother and simpler way.

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