Using Layers to Change Colors

From time to time I am asked how to change the color of a specific component in a drawing view. For example, you might want to show one of the components in an assembly drawing view in the color red and all the others as the default black.

This can be easily accomplished using layers.

First Method

Using either the Line Format toolbar or the Layer toolbar, click Layer Properties.

Line Format Toolbar or Layer Toolbar

In the dialog box that appears, create a new layer and set the color of the layer to red. Click OK when finished.

Dialog Box With New Layer

Right-mouse click on the component you want to display in the red color and select “Change Layer” from the pop-up menu. Then select the name of the red layer.

Pop-Up Menu With Change Layer Selected

Second Method

Or, you can click on the component you want to display in the red color and click the “Change Layer” button on the Line Format toolbar. Then select the name of the red layer.

Drawing View With Component and Line Format Toolbar

Third Method

You can also click on the component you want to display in the red color and click the layer name dropdown on the Layer toolbar. Then select the name of the red layer.

Drawing View of Component and Layer Name Dropdown

All of these methods make it simple to change the color of a component in an assembly drawing.

Drawing View of Components in Black and Red

Considering Only One View

What if you only want to change the color of a component in one view, not all views?

For this, right-click the component you want to change in the view you want to change it. On the pop-up menu, choose Component Line Font.

Component Line Font Selected

In the dialog box that appears, clear “Use document defaults.”

At the bottom of the box, there is a place to select what layer you want the component to use. Select the newly created layer.

Select the option “From Selection” to make the change apply only to the selected view. Click OK when finished.

Component Line Font Box With From Selection and Layer 1 Selected

Now you have one drawing view with one red part.

Drawing with One Red Component

We hope you found this how-to helpful! Now you have a few go-to options when changing component colors.


This blog is authored by John Setzer, GSC’s Training Product Manager. John discovered his love of teaching early in life. He worked his way through college as a youth coach, umpire, and referee before earning his bachelor’s degree in education. As Training Manager at GSC, he has been sharing his SOLIDWORKS Nashville wisdom with GSC customers ever since – 21 years and counting! John is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Nashville Expert (CSWE), a Certified SOLIDWORKS Nashville Instructor, and a Certified SOLIDWORKS Nashville Technician. As the only CSWE with a state certification in teaching, John is well-versed is teaching all types of learning styles. John is a regular contributor to the GSC blog, available at www.gsc-3d.com/articles