SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD, Tech Tips

Working with Breadcrumbs in SOLIDWORKS

By Chris Mowatt on October 29, 2021

In this article, we're going to look at navigation and selection techniques specific to Breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs in SOLIDWORKS is a tool to help navigate an assembly and locate what you’re looking for quickly and efficiently. Another reason for using Breadcrumbs is to explore errors, access features, or access edit options. It’s a powerful selection tool that saves you time from digging through the FeatureManager Design Tree for the features that need editing or viewing a trail of the modeling structure by simply hovering over the graphic area. Let’s take a closer look at Breadcrumbs.

Introduced in 2016, a shortcut for Breadcrumbs is pressing the “D” key to make them appear at the mouse cursor. In 2019, SOLIDWORKS added an option to place Breadcrumbs at the cursor by default. What was traditionally found in the FeatureManager can now be set to appear right at your mouse cursor. 

SOLIDWORKS Breadcrumbs FeatureManagerIn the image to the left, I can see that I have some errors in my tree. When I click on one of the components shaded in red, the context menu and Breadcrumbs icons appear in the top left portion of the graphics window. The Breadcrumbs icons also appear when I click on a component within the graphics window.

SOLIDWORKS Breadcrumbs edit featureIn the image to the right, I’ve selected the face of a component. I can see the feature that created the face as well as the sketch for the feature. I can right-click on any of the Breadcrumbs icons and get the associated context options that we would if we were right-clicking in the FeatureManager. If we click on a Breadcrumb icon closer to the part, we can see the related mates to that part. If there is an error such as a bad mate, needs a new reference, or it’s just over-defining, I can decide as to how I want to fix these mates. In this example, we're just going to go ahead and delete it. For components that are mated, we can always access this folder which only appears in Assemblies beneath the component. This shows the assembly mates that have been mated to this part. I can come in and right-click and delete the mate if that's going to be the resolution.

SOLIDWORKS Breadcrumbs access sketchesAnother reason for using this tool, we can open a part file and use it for accessing sketches. So again, you hit the “D” key and breadcrumbs will appear. I can click on the sketch; I can edit that sketch as needed. Very easy to do and very easy to access. This is an example of Breadcrumbs in two different environments.

The improved feedback and convenient access to information can save you time locating parts of subassemblies. By cutting down mouse time, users can speed up selection and command execution and have a more efficient workflow. Simply stated, Breadcrumbs creates an overall better user experience.

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