CAD software like Solidworks chooses dimensions by default from center of Circle or Arc. Usually user doesn’t know how to overcome this default setting while working with Arc and confuses trying different options that doesn’t help but wastes time and effort as a result.
We at Solidworks Authorized Training Centre Baroda (SATC Baroda) are more focused on giving useful and effective tips that helps designer to finish in time. Like in this case we found many students stuck at this point while working on circle or arc but the solution was quite obvious in Smart Dimension Tool: Arc Condition. When a user wants to create a dimension but not to the center of the arc or circle, use this tip in that circumference of the arc or circle!

Dimensions & Conditions

When we choose to dimension the arc or circle, pick the circumference of the arc or circle, and while SOLIDWORKS will automatically snap that to the center of that arc or circle,

We have options if we select this dimension and go to “leaders” in property manager. The default is always going to be center in “Arc Condition” option at the bottom.

Min & Max

Note that, “always select the circumference of an arc or circle” to dimension its location. Knowing it’s going to the center, that’s what we want. As we picked an arc/circle instead of the point directly, we have options at the bottom of “Leaders” tab in “Arc Condition” option of selected dimension for center, min or max.

Center option is the default, but min and max are options available when we do dimension to an arc/circle by picking its circumference. If we dimensioning the location of two arcs or two circles, then we have our conditions for both sides. For example, by picking the circumference of each of these circles, it gives a dimension center to center as the default, but if go to leaders we can change it.

If we’re dimensioning the location of an arc or circle to other object, then we have only one condition. For example, picking the circumference of a circle and a line, it gives dimension to center as the default again.

Drag & Drop

You can grab on that little dimension handle, a little symbollooks like a dimension at the end of dimension line. That means you can actually grab that dimensional handle and drag it to another position, max or min condition on the circle looks as Yellow Square.


Hold down the “Shift” key then select the circle toward the inside that we want to snap to. Shift – Select that to the inside. We got min and min based on where we selected.

Usually engineers don’t get such exposure while learning via online tutorials as it’s not possible to cover all. In person handling of the query is must as different designers get stuck at different problems. Hope this tip was useful enough and helps you thrive more to get into details along with learning short tips.

Author: Pankaj Rathwa