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The Many Methods of Mastering Solid Edge

Gears Honored Contributor Gears Honored Contributor
Gears Honored Contributor

With experience comes knowledge, lots of it is practical with basic concepts getting enhanced in the process as a bonus. But experience is not necessarily the only way for learning Solid Edge, especially in year 2018.


selogosmall.png  Learn Menu


The latest avatar of Solid Edge has a dedicated page called Learn in the Application menu which opens the door to all the tools and aid that are available out-of-the-box.


Older versions too have the startup page that take you to areas where you have access to Solid Edge videos, tutorials, overview of Solid Edge, tour of the user interface, self-paced and instructor-led classroom lessons, recommended learning paths, printable course books, academic resources for trainers to name a few.




Additional resources are available if you are new to CAD or migrating from other CAD programs like SolidWorks and even proficiency enhancers for experienced Solid Edge users who are transitioning to Synchronous.


There's even a topic on building creativity into engineering which makes the learning process interesting and enjoyable.


MMM06.png  Set the Right Options


As you progress with the lessons, a couple of highly recommended settings under the Helpers tab are about starting Solid Edge with the Learn page and the type of tooltips to display for the command buttons in Solid Edge.




These will help you getting familiar with commands 'on the go' if you are new to Solid Edge or using a newer version.


MMM12.png  Change the Theme


Themes in Solid Edge are not about simply changing the window or icon color shade. When you switch to a theme, for example the Maximum Assistance theme, which is best suited during the learning phase, the entire user experience changes. The UI reacts to your gestures in ways that augment your learning efforts.


Tip: You can change a theme on the fly by right clicking on any button on the ribbon bar and selecting from the context menu that appears.


MMM05_1.png  The Command Finder is your friend


Type in anything you loosely remember about a command that was not used in a long time and the command finder will list it in a jiffy. Stationed at the bottom of the application window, it digs out and eagerly tells about a command even if you are not in the right environment.


Tip: The command finder not only animates the ribbon or menu path to the command in the UI, you can also start the command directly from the listing in the command finder window.


MMM10.png  Engage in Time Travel


If you have used another CAD program in previous life, try recreating it using Solid Edge. Use Synchronous right from the word go and discover how refreshingly different it is from your dinosaur era CAD program. This will be a good exercise to start exploring Solid Edge.


If you don't have the time to recreate the entire project, model some and import the rest of parts and feel amazed at the power of synchronous edits to perform modifications that perhaps took forever in your old CAD program or could never be achieved.


You may have done one of your pet project using a 2D only program and think drafting is still the king, then you need look no further, Solid Edge is the king of drafting. Explore the bewildering number of easy-to-use commands of the drafting environment. Take time out to learn the 3D Create feature which semi-automagically converts your 2D drawings to 3D models.


Upgraded to ST10 already? Do yourself a favour. Get a taste of the Generative Design capabilities to optimize your older designs and wonder where new tools in Solid Edge will take you in the future. I assure you the experience will be nothing short of a dream.


From your past to the future of learning CAD, Solid Edge has got your back.


MMM11_1.png Divide and Conquer


If you pride in passion and perseverance as I do, another unorthodox method of learning Solid Edge is to take up one topic or area of the UI, say the zoom and visualization tools, typically found in the bottom-right corner of the Solid Edge screen and also on the view tab of the ribbon. Dive deep into each one to find out the various options available.


Note the keyboard shortcuts mentioned in the tooltips that are assigned by default to each command or add new ones and start using them for accelerated learning.


Another example are the sketching tools which have more hidden options per command lying in plain sight and can be found out by carefully observing the PromptBar. For example, when you start the Circle command, it additionally tells you about the M.I.C.E. for snapping to keypoints. This results in faster learning of the command instead of wasting time figuring out everything by intuition.


MMM08.png  Socialize - Ask, Tell, Share, Brag


It goes without saying that while you are online, following various online social handles can be a great investment over the course of time. Here are few of them to get you started:





  • YouTube – This is a no brainer and any topic of interest in Solid Edge can be easily found and you won't be let down. Hundreds of enthusiastic Edgers have posted thousands of videos amounting to millions of hours of free Solid Edge learning opportunities. An ever-growing compilation of the top Solid Edge YouTube Channels can come in handy.


  • Newsletters - The one that I know released regularly is by CADCentral from the down under, besides the official Solid Edge Product News. Not sure how one can subscribe to any of these but I receive both regularly.


  • SEU - Attend a Solid Edge University event near you. This needs no further explanation since the dividends to reap from such in-person gathering are multifold. Teach a class at the SEU which is a great way to actually learn something new, as they say. SEU provides this opportunity + you save some money in the form of waived entry fees.


MMM09.png Reward yourself


It is your rightful duty to indulge in self-assurance by going for Solid Edge certification. The badge you are rewarded with is not merely for display on business cards or resumes, but a stamp of self-approval and will show confidence in the things that you say and do because you are now sure of your abilities.


To get started with Solid Edge certification, follow this link:


MMM13.png  Go Crazy


One of my many new year resolutions is to start learning Solid Edge all over again from scratch. Sounds ridiculous?


For many who picked up 3D CAD around 15 to 20 years or earlier, chances are you were self-taught. Today Solid Edge learning has metamorphosed into an ecosystem of interconnected networks which is not complex but definitely overwhelming.


It is only tempting to start exploring this vast universe of online and offline learning resources for Solid Edge and crave for more. Let the thirst for knowledge never end, never diminish…


Till then, let's sync, let's optimize, let's converge and keep learning...


Valued Contributor

Great post.  There are a lot of resources on the web for learning Solid Edge.  An unbelievable number compared to what I found in 2005 when I first started using Solid Edge.  When I get stuck on how to do something, Google is my friend.  A simple search such as "place holes along edge Solid Edge ST7" will usually get me something on the first page of results.  Make sure to include your version number in your search to narrow down the results.


I learned Solid Edge 100% self taught.  My previous experience was Cadkey Solids in a machine shop environment.  I currently work in primarily sheetmetal, where the order of the day is laser cut and bend with the occasional rolling.  Part modeling is primarily for purchased components.  What a difference.  I knew how to detail to the level that a machinist could make the part, or program the part, from the drafting sheet.  Now I was in an environment where the flat patterns were dxf'ed directly to the laser operator.  Very little actual detailing required, except on assemblies. 


My first day with my current employer, I was shown my desk, shown the Solid Edge welcome screen and the link to training tutorials, given a 2 minute tutorial on the unmanaged (at that time) file system, and told to do the tutorials and "play with it".  I was hired as a detailer for other engineers, and 2 days later handed my first project for drafting (a post it note with a file name on it).  After detailing it to a degree far more detailed than necessary for our manufacturing process, I was shown what the shop needed (overall dimensions for identification, and bend dimensions for bending), and I was turned loose.  After about a week of pointing out improvement opportunities, the other engineers were told to detail their own stuff, and I was made a designer.  The rest is history.

Gears Esteemed Contributor

I personally find it extremely difficult to identify the pariticulars of how I learned SE. I've been using various CAD systems since 1982.

Computer Vision CADDS4 was the first. My first foray into solid modeling was SolidWorks 96 in the mid '90s. Actually that's not even true. There was a brief stint in the early '90s with HP Solid Designer and ME10. And AutoCad was always there in the background. A little dabbling with ProE too.

When I started using SE in '01 I used the tutorials and turned up the menu help level to get some basics down but really all my CADD experience and learning was on the job and self-taught. Learn by doing. And asking. With a very rare class here and there. And more recently the forum has been a great source for SE solutions.

I've never really used YouTube as a source but would likely benefit from doing so.I really don't much like watching demos.

My approach has generally been learn by doing work and solve particular dilemmas as they occur. But it's all sort of a blurr. An evolution with many transitional forms.

I apologize if this post doesn't well address your question.

Gears Phenom

I went to school for drafting back in 2002-2004. They started with board drawing which I was already familiar with as it was one of my hobbies. Then we went to Autocad, which was a lot like board drawing only much easier to make perfectly straight lines and round circles. Then they put us into SolidWorks, then Inventor. After that, they gave me Solid Edge, which honestly I only used a couple times before finished school. Then I began looking for a job. Could not find one in the area I was in, so I moved back to my hometown of Topeka, and started working as a telemarketer. Then, saw an advertisement for a drafting position at a local metal fabricators who advertised solid edge as the software. It was a long shot, but Tom took a chance on me. He brought in a guy who used to work there and who eventually had even worked for Solid Edge as a distributer or something, this was back when Edge was owned by UGS. It was v18. Robert walked me through a few things, and then he tippeed me off to a blog sorta thing that was on geocities called "SeGuruCool" or something like that. Then, I was the only drafter at the entire company where I had to figure out how to do everything, had to be able to model anything that was put on my plate in sheetmetal. A lot of trial and error, and a lot of time on the GTAC hotline, who were all very helpful. Was at that job for about 3 years when the company was sold out from under me, and I didn't like where things were going so I quit and got a job at this other metal fabricators. It was there where I worked underneath the best drafter I've ever known, who had occupied the position which I had just left prior to me having it. He showed me some practices in solid edge which I wasn't privy to before because I just had to teach myself. He showed me how to model from the top down, and how to keep circular dependencies and cyclic redundancy errors from occuring. I became a bada$$ at solid edge. Got laid off in 2009 due to the economy, then a bit later I got a call from this company who said I came highly recommended. I worked there with a nuclear engineer, an electrical engineer, and 4 mechanical engineers for awhile, and eventually they got rid of the other drafter so it was just myself and these engineers. And they decided to put me in charge of the modeling on the projects because I was much better at it and the models ran smoother when we used my methods. The engineers still modeled, but they did it how I said to, and I was in control of the top level. When I left that job and came here, it really sucked when we didn't have edge. They had solidworks and autodesk inventor. They wanted me to use SolidWorks but I refused. I preferred Inventor. Then after I was here for close to a year, they finally decided to listen to me and get Solid Edge. It's always still a learning process, and that is where I've been leaning on this forum. Everyone on here is helpful and knowledgable. I prefer to differ to men and women who know better than I.

Gears Honored Contributor

"Make sure to include your version number in your search to narrow down the results"

That's a nice tip @JTROANOKE I am going to start using it from now.

Gears Honored Contributor


CADDS4 and HP Solid Designer - never heard of those softwares before.

Looking up in Google right and difficult to figure out who the descendants of those CAD programs are now.

The UI also looked quirky in their heydays.


Gears Honored Contributor


Yes, I too have heard only good things about GTAC being very prompt and helpful guys.


The SeGuruCool site you loosely remember is my baby.

I maintained it between 1998-2009 when Yahoo! decided to and closed Geocities one fine day - Oct 26, 2009, I still remember the  doomsday.

The entire site of about 200 articles was squeezed into "15 MB" that geocities generously allowed for a free website.


The site is archived here:


Most of the articles, tip-tricks and free apps are now migrated to my new blog:


So it is about 20 years of Solid Edge blogging for me.

Siemens Phenom

@bshand ah CADDS, the home of the "undocumented feature"  error message.  Those were the days.  Those Computervison folks out of Bedford, Mass were a fun crew…  then PTC happened :-(

I remember many a day using CADDS and cursing the person before me that had worked and loosened the tolerance on the model in order to make their features work.

Gears Esteemed Contributor

@Tusharsaid: "The UI also looked quirky in their heydays." I don't remember the HPSD interface very well although I think it was all onscreen.

The CADDS4(x) interface at the time I used it, when it was based on a proprietary microcomputer which could handle up to 6 or so workstations, dumb workstations, before it went to Sun workstations, was a very large tablet. Like the tablets used with Acad but about 4 times bigger. I kind of liked it. At the time anyway. You could set your own menu and so unlike today there were no nested dropdown screen menus. Well, there were no screen menus. You would still have to type in modifiers sometimes for things like circle diameters. But you could work pretty fast once you got the lay of the land.

This was all wireframe CAD then. Eventually I guess they went solid.

Computervision was bought by PTC and I think CADDS4 still lives among some users somewhere.

Now HPSD was a direct editing sytem. Synchronous like although I don't remember it well. And the drafting suite, ME10, was considered very good at the time.

Gears Esteemed Contributor

@uk_dave, I don't remember that message but since it used the term "feature" I suspect it may have been after it moved to Unix workstations and solids? We did get very useful "fatal error" messages. IOW not at all useful. It was strictly wireframe when I moved on. 3D wireframe but wireframe. Even on Sun stations. The Suns were a come-down at the time. Very slow compared to the old system. It was so bad and comparatively expensive that the company eventually dropped CV and went all Acad.

By the way, the old system had a huge disk drive with 12 inch platter stacks with a total capacity of 300MB! Huge! All supporting 6 users. That and the central CPU. And large reel tape backups.

Yup, the good old days.

Great post Tushar, thanks for sharing. John Devitry has some good free courses on Udemy too:
Gears Honored Contributor

Yes, without a doubt the courses by John Devirty are outstanding.

John explains basic concepts like no other.

I have enrolled for and learning from his Generative Design course on Udemy.


Valued Contributor

@Tushar  I figured that one out after spending untold amounts of time looking for a button that wasn't there a few times before I figured out that what I was looking at was a version ahead of what I was using!


Make sure to include your version number in your search to narrow down the results"

That's a nice tip @JTROANOKE I am going to start using it from now.