Home » How To Resolve Under-Defined Sketches In SolidWorks?

It’s best practice to define sketches fully because it increases the predictability of changes. You can always choose the SolidWorks fully-defined sketch option. The Fully Define Sketch tool determines the dimensions and relations necessary to define selected or under-defined sketches fully. You can access any combination of already added sizes and links at any time with Fully Defined Sketch. You may have noticed that even if you choose to Add Dimensions, Sketch Patterns for simple geometry only partially define the instances. What causes underdefined sketches in some sketches, and how to resolve under-defined sketches in SolidWorks?

The sketch instances’ ability to rotate is why they are underdefined. In the past, you could add a horizontal or vertical relationship to one of the construction lines connected to the instances to define them fully. With the improvements to SolidWorks 2017, the cases are now locked based on Direction 1 and won’t rotate. SolidWorks will fully define the sketch once all the dimensions have been added because the angle for Direction 2 is the angle between the axes (concerning Direction 1).

Automatically Defined Instances in Linear Sketch Pattern: Create Fully Defined Instances in Linear Sketch Pattern in SolidWorks 2017. To fully define the Circular Sketch Pattern in SolidWorks 2017, add Horizontal or Vertical relations (or any other necessary relation/dimension) to the construction lines. Continue reading to learn how to resolve underdefined sketches in SolidWorks.  

How to find and resolve under-defined sketches in SolidWorks


The SolidWorks application offers an easy way to find and resolve under-defined sketches in SolidWorks. At the very top of your feature tree, a search filter tool enables you to perform a name-based search across the entire structure. When working with intricate parts or assemblies that have a big tree, this is very helpful. This article will explain how to resolve under-defined sketches in SolidWorks, and you will use an example of a sketch to understand this procedure.

Step 1: The (-) in front of any sketch name indicates which sketches are poorly defined.

Step 2: You can now navigate to the Sketch option in System Options and enable “Use fully defined sketches.” By turning on the “Use fully defined sketches” option, you will be forced to finish any sketches you start, so there won’t be any more underdefined sketches in the future.

It should have highlighted the already under-defined sketches. Some sketches will still require editing for those not fully defined before you enable the “use fully defined sketches” option.

Step 3: To edit one of these sketches right now, you must go into it. A warning message will appear if you attempt to exit a sketch before it is fully defined, prompting you to click “Exit Sketch.”

Step 4: The sketch requirement is complete and will not raise any notification if you click “Exit Sketch” after fully defining it.

No more sketches with a (-)!

Using the Fully Define Sketch tool, the current sketch will be automatically fully dimensioned. It can benefit large, disorganized, copied, converted, or unimportant sketches. You can use a simple Lego head to learn more about this tool in this example. You will also look for poorly defined sketches using the Search Filter and your understanding of (-).

Step 1: You will use the Fully Define Sketch tool to edit and complete this sketch. Be aware that unless you’re in a sketch—specifically, an under-defined sketch—this tool will not even appear.

Step 2: When you provide the necessary information, the Fully Define Sketch tool will dimension according to your preferences.

  1. Entities to Fully Define: The entire sketch or a section can be dimensionalized.
  2. Relations: Add relations between the entities to help the sketch stay within bounds.
  3. Dimension: The tool’s origin and destination points, as well as the dimensions’ centerline, baseline, or ordinate values, can all be changed.

Step 3: If you like what you see after clicking the Calculate button, click OK. You can move the dimensions to the desired positions after clicking OK if they are not already there.

Step 4:  Click “Exit Sketch” once you’ve arranged the dimensions of your sketch—no more (-) sketches.

You should be aware that sometimes vague sketches are acceptable, and under-defined dimensions are frequently exemplary when performing a quick demo or test. However, suppose you’re bothered by under-defined sketches. If you want to promote the excellent practice of fully defined sketches and find those existing under-defined sketches, “Use fully defined sketches” and the Search Filter are here to help!

How to Quickly Fully Define Your SOLIDWORKS Sketch

You can create a SolidWorks part document in various ways. A sketch is the best starting point for creating a good SolidWorks solid model. SolidWorks World is an excellent resource for learning practical skills that many users take for granted. You can create a sketch and learn how to resolve under-defined sketches in SolidWorks; the following tips can be handy

1. Copy and Paste SolidWorks Sketch Geometry

To copy and paste, press the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. You can use Window to select the circles on the left in the example. The rings were copied and pasted using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V.

2. Fully Define a SolidWorks Sketch

Using the Fully Define Sketch PropertyManager, you can apply the dimensions and relations calculated by SolidWorks to fully define the sketch automatically by using the Fully Define Sketch PropertyManager. You can choose Dimensions and Fully Define Sketch from the Tools menu or click the Fully Define Sketch button on the Dimensions/Relations toolbar.

Applying various relations and dimensions will allow you to fully define the sketch using the “All entities in sketch” option. Everything can be dimensionalized. You can also use this command in SolidWorks to select only particular entities.

You should know that SolidWorks automatically sets the circles equal because you used Copy and Paste above. This feature is another excellent little time-saving tool!

Setting the dimensions to your preferences is all that is left to do. You can add a few different entities to make it possible to make a part entirely from one sketch by using the Extruded Boss/Base command’s Selected Contours section.


You now understand how to resolve under-defined sketches in SolidWorks and how to modify geometry that has already been defined accurately. If a sketch isn’t completely defined, it tends to move just enough to be frustrating, and occasionally, features or assemblies can change without the designer’s knowledge. Learning how to resolve under-defined sketches makes working with sketches easier.