2010 – Mouse Gestures

donutSolidWorks 2010 is kind of modest in the interface changes department. Thankfully. One of the things they added was what some folks were calling “marking menus”, or command donuts or mouse gesture. Drag the RMB slightly, and this ring appears. The usage is meant to be just make a quick RMB drag going up and the view changes to the Top view. RMB drag right for the Right view. This is what SolidWorks is talking about when they talk about “touch support”. These gestures work great with tablets. There is also supposedly “multi-touch support”, which means zoom, pan, rotate, fit, and roll, but I don’t have a multi-touch device handy at the moment. Neither does anyone you know, probably.

This interface is customizable, using either 4 or 8 segments. You can use the Tools, Customize dialog to put whatever commands on the donut you want.


So does this get used or just sit there? Dunno. I might use it. It seems to have some advantages over the S key, in that it doesn’t require 2 clicks, but it can’t handle as wide a range of commands as S key either. The best use is probably just the way they have it set up, to control the view. You can’t do a wide range of stuff with it, so you might as well limit it to something specific. The view is even intuitive, having a direction just like the motion.

Overall, thumbs up for an interface that doesn’t get in the way and isn’t an implementation disaster. Actually, I think this is better than just not disasterous, it is right on the money in terms of utility, customizability, turn-it-off-ability, and unobtrusiveness.

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