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How to Align a Sketch Origin

In this article, we will cover the many tools within SOLIDWORKS that you can use to align the sketch origin with the part/assembly origin.

While sketching in SOLIDWORKS, you may notice a red, two-dimensional axis that depicts the horizontal (x-axis) and vertical (y-axis) directions. This is the sketch origin, and it is important to distinguish it from a part or assembly origin.

Red Sketch Origin in Graphics Area

Keeping track of the sketch origin and ensuring it is correctly aligned is important since horizontal and vertical relationships rely on it, not the part/assembly origin.

There are a couple of reasons why the sketch origin may not be aligned correctly.

  • The sketch was copied from an existing part.
  • A block was inserted at an angle.
  • The sketch was rotated using the "Modify" tool.
  • A plane may have been created in an orientation different from the primary planes (rotated plane).

Align Grid/Origin

If you have existing geometry within your part, you can use the "Align Grid/Origin" tool to position the sketch origin correctly. This tool allows the user to select vertices and edges and use them to align the sketch origin. You cannot align a sketch origin using this tool with other sketches. You must follow the instructions below to use this tool.

  1. Navigate to Tools > Sketch Tools > Align > Align Grid/Origin.
  2. Select a vertex on the part. This will serve as the sketch origin point.
    Align Grid/Origin tool with Vertex selected
  3. Select an X or Y axis by highlighting the correct field in the property manager. If you need to change the direction of one of the axes, select the Reverse direction icon icon.
    Align Grid/Origin tool with Vertex selected
  4. Choose to relocate the origin or all sketch entities. I prefer to select "Relocate all sketch entities" since it is most likely the sketch was already created in the wrong orientation.
  5. Select the green check to continue.
    Finalized sketch after applying changes

Modify Sketch Tool

The "Modify Sketch" tool can be used to rotate and/or translate a sketch. This is helpful if you need to rotate the sketch origin without any physical geometry present. Note that the translate option is only available if the sketch is underdefined so that it can move positions.

I have included some instructions below on how to use the "Modify Sketch" tool to rotate a sketch origin.

  1. Navigate to Tools > Sketch Tools > Modify.
  2. In the dialog box, set the rotation angle to the desired amount. You can use negative numbers to rotate in a clockwise direction. Select enter to rotate the sketch origin and existing sketch elements.
    Modify Sketch dialog box
    Note: If you hold the right mouse button, you can use the mouse to rotate the sketch.
    Right mouse button rotate within Modify Sketch tool
  3. Close the dialog box to finalize any changes.

For further technical support, please contact Hawk Ridge Systems at 877.266.4469 for the U.S. or 866.587.6803 for Canada and


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