Home » How to insert and trace an image (picture) in SolidWorks?

Inserting Images

There are many ways to insert an image into SolidWorks.

  1. From a Google image result: right click copy image.  Return to SolidWorks and paste using Ctrl+V
  2. From Windows Photos: click on the picture use Ctrl+C.  Return to SolidWorks and paste using Ctrl+V
  3. From SolidWorks Menu Bar: “Insert” – “Object”. Use Create from File and browse to the file location.
  4. In an active sketch from SolidWorks Menu Bar: “Tools” – “Sketch Tools” – “Sketch Picture”.  Browse to the file location.

Images can be copied into SolidWorks for a variety of reasons. One reason could be to provide reference information within the part file. Another reason could be as a reference to trace the geometry of a part.

Tracing Images

Use one of the methods mentioned above to copy an image into a SolidWorks sketch. Trace the contour of the part you want to copy; when complete move the image to the side. Use one dimension from the traced sketch to determine if scaling is required.  In the example that follows, method 2 is used to insert the image. The sketch needs to be scaled by 3.5.  Now, scale the sketch, apply constraints and add dimensions.

Figure 1 – Reference image used for tracing.
Figure 2 – Inserted image with traced contour and hole positions.
Figure 3 – Traced entities and as scaled copies.

Clean up the dimensions after scaling and fully define the sketch. The positions of the holes from the edges are not shown, in this case round them to 45mm and 50mm.

Try to find images with complete dimensions to make the model more accurate. If this is a supplier component check their website or contact them, suppliers often provide simplified models to be used for representation. If this is for a design, run a study to determine the plate thickness and bolt size required.


Figure 4 – Final result.

Note: Image size can vary depending on the method used for insertion.