Learn how the lowly Shift key, used all by itself, can be your best friend when working with sketches and assemblies in Onshape.

Chances are you already know about Onshape’s keyboard shortcuts and likely have your favorites. 

However, don’t miss out on these two uses for the Shift key! In this Tech Tip, you will learn how the Shift key can make your life easier when assembling parts and creating sketches.

The Shift Key is Your Friend!

Onshape makes certain assumptions in sketches and assemblies. When sketching, Onshape assumes that you want to “snap” sketched entities to existing geometry. When assembling components, Onshape automatically “finds” locations for implicit Mate Connectors. This is referred to as “inferencing”.  While these are useful behaviors, sometimes they get in the way.

Locking Mate Inferencing

In the example below, the required location for the Mate Connector is at the midpoint of the hole axis, but mate inferencing wants to switch from the cylindrical face to the circular edge when the cursor is moved toward the axis midpoint.

You can use the Shift key to lock the mate inference to the cylindrical face. Once the cylindrical face is highlighted, simply hold down the Shift key to lock mate inferencing to that face. Now only the Mate Connector points on the cylindrical face are shown, like in the image below:

Suppressing Sketch Inferencing

Sometimes you need to sketch in a “crowded” environment where there are many edges, vertices, planes, and other sketch entities. Onshape will infer references to this geometry. 

While this is useful much of the time, there are times when it can be counterproductive, like in the example below where a rectangle needs to be sketched from the upper-right corner of the part to the lower left. 

Onshape wants to infer constraints to the edges of the holes:

When you want to prevent Onshape from making any inferences while sketching, just hold the Shift key to temporarily suppress inferencing. In the example below, you can see that holding the Shift key down while sketching the rectangle suppresses inferencing, allowing the sketch to be completed without the need to zoom in.

This Tech Tip helped you learn how to use the Shift key to be more productive in Onshape. Watch the video below to see the Shift key in action:

Interested in learning more Onshape Tech Tips? You can review the most recent technical blogs here.