In this beginner tutorial, you will find a step by step explanation on how to sketch, dimension and fully define a basic sketch with SolidWorks. Designing steps will be explained in detail through the modeling of the following example.


Time required: 45min
Difficulty: Beginner
Software: SolidWorks

Already know what to do and just want to do the exercise? Click here!

1. Open SolidWorks.

2. Click files on the main toolbar.

3. Click new  Create a new document to create a new document.

4. Choose part 4in the new tab and click OK. Now you can see your new part document.

5. Choose one of the main planes from the design tree (right hand side), and click sketch.

  • Chose top plane to continue.
  • If you click sketch Create a new sketch without choosing the plane, front plane will be used as a default plane for your sketch by SolidWorks.


  • To have a normal view on the selected plane, choose normal to  Normal to selected plane from the click options. You can also press space on your keyboard to see the orientation panel. Then choose normal to.

6. On the sketch tab, click on the line tool  Solidworks line tool. As you click on line tool your mouse pointer will look like this Mouse pointer with line tool

  • The line tool is one of the main sketch tools in SolidWorks which can be used to draw vertical, horizontal, straight angular and central lines.

7. Using the line tool, scroll your mouse around the origin  Originuntil the origin gets bold or the snap appears  Snapping. Click on origin and start to draw.

  • SolidWorks guides you through drawing by showing you sketch snaps and relations.
  • If you cannot see any snap or relations while sketching, turn on viewing your relations  Sketch Relations  by going to view -> sketch relations.
  • The great thing about snaps is you can hover with the yellow snaps, and they turn green as you fix them as relations. Keep in mind that there could be some color differences in different versions.

8. Hover with vertical snap to create a simple vertical line, then click.


9. Continue to draw the other lines, using horizontal and vertical snaps.


10. For the inclined line you don’t need to hover with any snap. Just draw a simple inclined line, click and continue.

  • Hover slowly and pay attention to dotted lines that appear to help you.



11. For configuring the dimensions of the model, click smart dimension Smart dimension, and click on your first line. Upon your click, the dimension will be displayed and a new modification tab will be opened. Enter the dimension number (mm) in the tab and press enter.

Modify sketching

  • Make sure that your unit system is set to MMGS by checking it in your unit system at bottom-left of the SolidWorks Window. If it is set to something else you should change it to MMGS, if you’re based in the US you can set it to IPS.


12. Configure the dimensions of the other lines, until your model turns black which symbolizes that it has been fully defined.


  • Usually, black and blue colors represent defined and undefined geometry in sketching mode, respectively.
  • Keep in mind that over defining adds extra constraints on the model, and it is undesirable.
  • If you over define your model, the lines will turn yellow and usually SolidWorks gives you a warning.

13. Exit your sketch by clicking on Exit sketch in Solidworks to keep your drawings.

  • Be aware that by pressing  Exit you exit the sketch mode and discard the changes that you’ve made.

14. Click file.

15. Click save.

  • Always save your work file when you first start it up and then try to save it in intervals of 5-10 minutes by clicking ctrl + s.

Exercise 1 – Create a sketch

  • Sketch the following on the front plane.


  • Pay attention to dotted lines, bold midpoints, snaps and relations.
  • Check your view tab to make sure that you can see most of the useful guide graphics.