I suppose you could call me a power user, anyway. I’ve been using SolidWorks for 18 years, I’m a CSWE and I use it day in and day out. I run the Seattle Area SolidWorks Power User Group, I’ve presented at user groups, SolidWorks World and at a SWUGN Summit. I’ve been writing this blog since 2006 and I’ve even written a few articles for industry magazines. I guess you could say I’ve gotten around a bit.

The New UI

This has been gone over a bit, so I’ll only touch on it briefly. The UI in SolidWorks 2016 has changed. Now is on bottom, then is on top.

Before n after

There are a number of reasons why the UI changed, most of them valid. Personally, I’m ok with it. There are aspects of it I don’t like and there are aspects I do like. When all is said and done, like it or not, it’s here to stay so you might as well get used to it.

Creepy eye

One of the first things that I noticed in SolidWorks 2016 is the “creepy eye”, a term coined on the SolidWorks forums.

Creepy eye 2 Creepy eye 1

These signify hide/show and may very well be the worst enhancement you’ll find in this latest version. They were actually even creepier in Beta, but have been updated to be less creepy. While I’m not sure what they could have done to improve the old hide/show icon (did it need to be improved?), I do know that I don’t really care for it, it just seems creepy odd. I figure I’d start with a negative; after this all I can do is go up, right?


Aside from the new behavior seen by the Smart Dimension Tool (dimensioning preselected entities), the next thing that you’ll notice is the Breadcrumbs display. Called ‘Selection Breadcrumbs’ by SolidWorks , this new functionality appears when you select a feature via the Feature Manager or in the graphics area.


While it defaults to the position shown in the illustration, hitting the ‘D’ key has it appear next to your cursor. This gives you a quick access to the feature’s bits and bobs by selecting them from the available icons on the breadcrumb display.

Parents and Children

As I was going about my business, I realized that I was missing something that I’d become accustomed to in 2015, the tracers that showed me a feature’s parents or what SOLIDWORKS referred to as “Dynamic Reference Visualization”. Not remembering ever turning it on in 2015, it took me a bit of searching before I found it by right clicking at the top of the feature manager.


That’s when I notice the second icon:


Selecting it gives you this when you select a feature in the tree:

Parents n children

This I like, mucho, more so than breadcrumbs. While you’d get a pop up letting you know what things you’d be blowing up if you chose to delete a feature, having it graphically represented is just so much more clear. *Golf clap*


  • Carlsbad CAD

    Great post, thanks

    • JeffMirisola

      Glad you liked it, Devon.