You’ve noticed it before: When you select a default plane for your first sketch, the plane rotates so that you are looking normal to it. However, in subsequent plane or planar face selections, when invoking the Sketch tool, this no longer happens. It is then you find yourself looking for one of the many “Normal To” tools (Figure 1) scattered through the Heads-Up View Toolbar, Feature Manager, or context menus.
Is there a setting, perhaps, that will make this behavior more consistent, and process more automated?
I’m glad you asked! Why, yes there is!
In the current version of SolidWorks, there is an option that does exactly that. It is not on by default, however. Select the Options command from the Tools pull-down menu, and under the System Options tab, click on the “Sketch” mode. Select the top-most option you find there, “Auto-rotate view normal to sketch plane on sketch creation.” (Figure 2)
Et voila! Now, all subsequent sketch plane selections will behave as the first.
TIP: Even if you do prefer to look normal to your sketch planes as you draw (as opposed to working in an isometric view), I would recommend toggling to other views as necessary to better see (or avoid!) objects you may be referencing, such as chamfer edges and the like.