SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD, Tech Tips

How to Control the Color of Dimensions in SOLIDWORKS

By Jonathan Sorocki on April 17, 2014

If you took any of our SOLIDWORKS classes or perhaps saw one of our YouTube videos, you may have noticed a discrepancy between the dimensions seen on other users’ drawings and your own. For instance, many students have noted that dimensions in drawings come in gray in some cases, and black or blue in others. This can be particularly frustrating if you have been able to bring in both colors separately without knowing. This blog will show you how to control the color of dimensions in a SOLIDWORKS drawing.

Importing Dimensions in a Drawing

There are two basic ways to import dimensions in a drawing: Smart Dimension or Model Items.

Dimensions in SOLIDWORKS

You will need to use your Smart Dimension tool to place what some call reference dimensions. These reference dimensions are also known as Non Imported (driven) dimensions. Almost certainly, these dimensions will be a confusing gray color. If you use Model Items, you can bring in dimensions marked for drawing and not marked for drawing as well as other locating dimensions and annotations. Almost always, these dimensions will come in black. However, some features may not be fully dimensioned.

Different Dimensions in SOLIDWORKS

One other significant reason that dimensions are gray is due to the layer properties. If you place dimensions on a separate layer so you can easily hide them, you may also affect the color. Look for the small color box on the layer dialog box. Is this color set to something other than black? If so, then you should expect all dimensions and lines assigned to that layer to follow that color scheme.

The last significant reason for dimensions appearing gray is if someone has simply changed the color of the individual dimension through the Line Color command on the Line Format Toolbar.

Now that we have identified what causes dimensions to be gray, let’s control the colors of these dimensions.

For starters, if you used Smart Dimension to bring in reference / non imported dimensions, go to System Options > Colors > Non-Imported (Driven) located here.

how to change dimension color in solidworks

Choose the Edit button and change the color to anything you would like. In this case, I changed them to a distinct red color.

If your layer has been set to gray, launch the Layers Properties dialog box from the Layers toolbar. Choose the colored square and pick another color. In this case, I chose blue.

Selecting Colors in SOLIDWORKS


To change any particular dimension, select the dimension, select Line Color and then choose an appropriate color. In this case, I chose green.

Adjusting Dimensions in SOLIDWORKS

I hope this has helped you determine and control the color of your dimensions in a SOLIDWORKS drawing! Check out our blogs for more SOLIDWORKS tips.

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