SOLIDWORKS How-To: Normal To Orientation Trick

Model Orientations

Last week a question came up during one of our classes regarding model orientation. The challenge was to orient a model normal to a face but not have the view orientation use default “Y” orientation for that face.

Using the Normal To Command

There’s actually a very simple solution once you know the trick. Simply put, select 2 faces instead of 1 face for the Normal To command! The first face selected will be the face rotated to normal and the second face will define the top of the view orientation.

For example, selecting the face of the model shown and choosing Normal To ends up with the following view orientation:

Face of the model shown and choosing Normal To
Face of the model shown and choosing Normal To

We can control the top of the view orientation with Normal To if we select the normal to face first, then CTRL-select a second face to designate the top for the orientation, as seen:

Select the normal to face first
Select the normal to face first

Here’s another example where we control which side is “up” for our Normal To view:

Example of Normal To view and upward facing
Example of Normal To view and upward facing

Neat trick isn’t it? This can be especially valuable when defining Named Views in a model to use in a drawing. I hope you find it useful in your day-to-day SOLIDWORKS routine!

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Meet the Author

John Setzer

John Setzer

John discovered his love of teaching early in life. He worked his way through college as a youth coach, umpire, and referee before earning his bachelor’s degree in Education. As Training Product Manager at GSC, he has been sharing his SOLIDWORKS wisdom with GSC customers ever since – over 20 years! As the only CSWE with a state certification in teaching, John is well-versed is teaching all types of learning styles.

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