This article first appeared in the
Winter 2017 issue of The Record.
At Dassault Systèmes, we believe that for a creative discipline to progress, it must move with the times.
With this in mind, the recent release of SOLIDWORKS 2018 sees us fully embracing pen and touch technology. It allows modern design teams to continue to work with the creative flourish they always have, but in a contemporary and efficient way in keeping with today’s world of work.
SOLIDWORKS 2018 – a series of four new 3D design solutions – allows users to design in increasingly intuitive ways with pen and touch tools. These are tailored for their needs and allow users to increase levels of productivity.
The new sketch ink tools in SOLIDWORKS 2018 means users no longer need to preselect tools for creating sketch entities. They simply draw what they want, and our powerful ink analysis tools will convert their pen strokes to usable sketch entities.
The shape recognition tools in SOLIDWORKS 2018 will help convert ink strokes into shapes like rectangles and circles, all while snapping sketch lines to horizontal or vertical, and snapping endpoints together. Circles drawn concentrically will also snap together. And, if a line is drawn in the wrong place, the eraser on the bottom of the pen makes it easy to delete mistakes.
SOLIDWORKS 2018 also has a new ‘touch mode’, which optimises the user interface for touch interactions. In touch mode, the user will see a docked toolbar along the edge of the screen that provides easy access to common commands users will need. We’ve also made it easier to select items in the graphics area when using a finger or pen.
Dassault Systèmes has partnered closely with teams at Microsoft to implement Windows Ink in SOLIDWORKS 2018. We are one of the first Microsoft Partners to use the Windows Ink analysis tools in a Win32 Desktop application, and have worked closely with the Windows Ink team to provide feedback about the application programming interface.
We’ve also thought a lot about CAD workflows. Entering exact values is simple in touch mode using the SOLIDWORKS onscreen numeric keypad. Touching any spin-box enabled input field displays a number pad for fast entry of numeric values on touch.
Detailed selection is aided by the touch magnifier tool. Users simply press with a single finger and hold their finger still, a magnified selection tool with cross-hair pointer appears that contains a zoomable window.
Moving forwards, a future service pack of SOLIDWORKS 2018 will also incorporate view manipulation controls using the Surface Dial.
Kevin Berni is user experience design senior manager SOLIDWORKS at Dassault Systèmes. For more information visit launch.solidworks.com