As I’m working through updating the SolidWorks Bible (to be renewed as “Mastering SolidWorks 2018”), I’m reminded of the kind of stuff that to me sets my books apart. These books were not written to fill an academic need, I make no pretense about being an educator. The books were written from a lot of personal experience solving problems for others and actually using the software. For some reason I can’t remember what clothes I wore yesterday if they’re not lying on the floor next to the bed, but I seem to be able to remember tiny, some would say insignificant details about the various options in CAD software.
One example of this is that at some point I was talking to some people who were getting confused in a discussion about shortcuts. After taking a quick mental inventory, I realized they were confused because there are so many different ways of defining a “shortcut” between Microsoft and SolidWorks. So in my chapter on the interface, I listed those overlapping usages, and offered alternatives from the vernacular.
As a result, I’m reluctant to use overused, ill defined words like “shortcut” specifically because it means too many different things, and you are almost sure to confuse someone or appear to mis-speak when using the word. I prefer the vernacular, even (maybe especially) when it is technically incorrect, but conveys the idea more directly.
Here is an excerpt I was working on today that shows how many times the interface steps on its own toes with the word “shortcut”. Can you think of any additional usages of the word “shortcut” that I’ve missed?
Interpreting the Use of the Word “Shortcut” in SolidWorks
Between the SolidWorks and Microsoft interfaces, the word shortcut is used in several overlapping and confusing ways. The following list describes where SolidWorks and Microsoft users might encounter the word shortcut as a formal name for interface functionality and how they might understand it.
- The Windows Shortcut link to another file or folder. Most users still refer to this link as a shortcut or desktop shortcut.
- Shortcuts (as identified in the SolidWorks Help under Shortcut@@>Keys) are either accelerator keys or keyboard shortcuts. Users refer to accelerator keys as Alt-keys and to keyboard shortcuts as hotkeys.
- SolidWorks shortcut menus are commonly called the right mouse button (RMB) menus, and they have detached toolbars called context bars for both right- and left-click options. These are commonly known as the RMB bar and the LMB bar.
- Shortcut tabs (found as the “shortcut” entry in the SolidWorks Help) presumably refer to DriveWorksXpress functionality, although there is no direct mention of that in the Help entry.
- Shortcut bars are commonly known as the S key toolbar.