Can You Mate Reference Geometry in SolidWorks?

In SolidWorks, reference geometry plays a crucial role in creating complex parts and assemblies. It helps define relationships between different components, ensuring accurate and efficient design. One common question that often arises is whether it is possible to mate reference geometry in SolidWorks.

Understanding Reference Geometry

Before we dive into the topic of mating reference geometry, let’s briefly understand what reference geometry is in SolidWorks. Reference geometry refers to geometric elements such as planes, axes, coordinate systems, and points that you can create and use as references during the design process. These elements act as a foundation for creating sketches, features, and assemblies.

Mating Reference Geometry

While you cannot directly mate reference geometry in SolidWorks, there are workarounds to achieve similar results. Let’s explore some of these techniques:

1. Using Sketches

A sketch is a powerful tool in SolidWorks that allows you to create 2D or 3D shapes using lines, curves, arcs, and other entities. By sketching on a reference plane or surface, you can create relationships between different components.

To mate reference geometry using sketches:

  • Create a sketch on the desired reference plane or surface.
  • Add necessary dimensions and constraints to define the position and orientation of the sketch.
  • Use these sketched entities to create mates with other components in your assembly.

2. Creating Reference Features

In addition to sketches, you can also use reference features to mate reference geometry in SolidWorks. Reference features are non-geometric entities that serve as references for creating relationships between components.

To mate reference geometry using reference features:

  • Create a reference feature such as a reference point, axis, or coordinate system.
  • Use these reference features to establish mates with other components.

3. Utilizing Assembly Features

SolidWorks provides powerful assembly features that allow you to create complex relationships between components. These features include mate references, which act as placeholders for future mates.

To mate reference geometry using assembly features:

  • Create a mate reference on the desired component.
  • Use this mate reference to create mates with other components.


While you cannot directly mate reference geometry in SolidWorks, there are various techniques available to achieve similar results. By utilizing sketches, creating reference features, and leveraging assembly features, you can establish relationships between different components and ensure accurate designs.

Remember to explore the SolidWorks documentation and experiment with different techniques to find the most suitable approach for your specific design requirements. With practice and experience, you’ll become proficient in mating reference geometry in SolidWorks.