You Can't Pick Your Family But You Can Pick Your Filters

Selection Filters are not the most widely known feature in SOLIDWORKS, but if you are familiar with this tool then you may know how helpful it can be. For those of you unfamiliar with this tool, its main purpose is to only allow specific entities to be selected.  For example, if you are trying to select a tricky edge, click the edge filter, and you will only be able to select edges in your model. Anything else you click on, like a face for example, will be ignored.

How is this helpful? Have you ever tried to select a face, edge or vertex in SOLIDWORKS, but just as it highlighted, your mouse would move slightly and a different item gets selected? This annoyance can be avoided by using Selection Filters.

The Selection Filter toolbar is activated like any other toolbar inside SOLIDWORKS (View>Toolbars), but F5 is the keyboard shortcut to activate this tool.

Selection filters are toggle buttons in SOLIDWORKS.  When the icon is “pressed,” you are filtering just that selection. To disable it, click the icon again. You can activate multiple selections at once.  As you can see in the screenshot below, I have activated vertices, as well as edges.

Don’t forget, you can hover over the icons to get a tooltip.

Cursor feedback works with Selection Filters as well to let you know that a filter is active. As seen in the next image, my cursor has a “funnel” next to it.

Have you ever seen this cursor feedback before when not using Selection Filters? Some Selection Filters have their own keyboard shortcuts. By default, “V” is the shortcut for vertices, “E” is for edges and “X” is for faces. Activating the filter by the shortcuts is most likely the cause of this.

When you are done with your selections, be sure to turn the filters back off. Otherwise, you will not be able to select anything else. F6 will clear all filters.

Selection Filters are also a very handy tool for fillets. Turn on your edge filter, and “box select” an entire region of edges for the fillets instead of manually selecting each one.

Selection Filters may not be the flashiest of SOLIDWORKS’ tools, but they will surely make day-to-day selections a lot easier.

If you have any questions regarding Selection Filters, please do not hesitate to contact us. So... good luck and Happy Selecting!