Work More Efficiently in ZW3D by Customizing Its User Interface

By: Handson Diwu

ZW3D is cost-effective CAD/CAM software for 3D modeling, mold design, and machining, which takes engineers from concept to finished product in one easy-to-use, single collaborative environment. Besides offering powerful functions, it supports a friendly user interface (UI) that can be customized easily. When you modify its UI to fit the way you work, you'll find that ZW3D becomes more convenient to use, and that your workflow becomes more efficient. In this article, I would like to introduce some of the key areas that can be customized.

Figure : Elements of the ZW3D user interface:

1.Quick Access and Document Aware Toolbars
The Quick Access toolbar and the Document Aware toolbar are two parts of ZW3D that always show up in its interface. The toolbars are customizable, allowing you to choose where you want your frequently used buttons. I would like to show you an easy example in which I put the "Unblank all entities" button next to the "Blank entities" button.

a)With your computer's mouse, right click any part of ablank space of the ribbon. From the shortcut menu that appears, choose Customize Settings.
b)In the dialog box, click the Transfer tab. In the Categorydrop list, choose Document Aware Toolbar. Notice that the bottom of the dialog box reports the Label, Action and Icon of the function. Remember the information, such as typing it into Notepad.

Figure : Properties of a User Interface Item:

c)Right click the top of the tree, and then create a new item.
d)Fill in the properties with the information from previous step. (Notice that the icon changes to match the command.) Then, move the icon up to Blank entities.

Figure : Creating a New UI Item:

Figure : Moving Items:

Notice that the Unblank all entities button appears in the toolbar next to the Blank entities.

Figure : Result of Adding Item to Toolbar:

You can use the same method to add, remove, and change the location of any item.

In addition to changing the user interface to suit your work habits, you can modify hotkeys. Hotkeys are advantageous in that they let you access ZW3D functions without needing to huntthrough the menu or the tabs of the ribbon. Hotkeys are combinations of keystrokes, such as F1 to access help, and Ctrl+C to copy entities to the clipboard. Once you memorize a few hotkeys, you can focus on the design.

You can find the names of functions beside their icons. Then, input the name in Search textbox. It will show you the command, and you then can set the hotkey as you like.

Figure : Using the Search Function to Add Hotkeys:

3.Using a 3D Mouse
Many designers use a 3D mouse, in addition to the regular 2D mouse. ZW3D works with both kinds of mice, specifically 3D mice from 3DCONNEXION. Here are two tips for using a 3D mouse.

a)You can pressthe Ctrl+1 hotkey to set the origin point in the drawing, and then change the Rotation Center of the 3D mouse to View Origin.

Figure : Setting the Rotation Center:

b)You can set the buttons of 3D miceby following the steps of the operations shown in the following figure. Please note that the User Marco must be the same as the hotkey.

Figure : Setting Hotkeys for a 3D Mouse:

Now you know how to adjust the user interface of ZW3D to work efficiently. If you face any problems, feel free to contact [email protected] for help.

About ZW3D
ZW3D ( ) is all-in-one, affordable CAD/CAM which enables concept to finished product design in an integrated, collaborative environment. The proprietary Overdrive kernel delivers 3D part and assembly modeling, 2D production drawings, reverse engineering, motion simulation, mold design and integrated CNC machining, simplifying the design process from concept to completion. Experience ZW3D 2012, where the only limit is your imagination. Please go to to download a free 30-day trial today.

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