ZW3D UI and commands English improvement

Hi guys,

I’ve been using 3D software professionally for over 13 years and have tried many different CAD packages in this journey. I’ve been personally involved in some English - Mandarin translation work too (books and CAD software). So naturally I got some sense of how the UI and commands should be called in the CAD world. Now as a ZW3D user and reseller, I always feel there’s some room to improve. I also heard about some of my clients’ complaint about the terminology being a bit confusing in ZW3D.

I think most of the users in this forum use English as their native language. Do you feel the same about the ZW3D UI & Commands? For me it’s not bad at all but it can be tweaked so the software will keep up with the trend that other mainstream CAD programs follows.

I told my contact in ZWSoft and he said I can start collecting some feedback and make a list of how the English terms/sentences can be improved. Once I finished the list he will send it to the R&D department and try to make a change.

This might take some time so it’s just a start now. I’ll make the first one here: the Datum Plane always sounds strange to me. It can be just called a Reference Plane (though it might confuse the “plane” option in another feature “Reference”, which is usually used for extracting features from other components, say in a top-down assembly design), but maybe it’s just me because I’m not a native English speaker.

Anyway, this is tedious work because you can a term and then you might need to change another. The point is to make the software more intuitive and easy-to-use for English speakers.

I would like to hear your thoughts here.

Datum Plane



Hi Acon,
I think you should do a post on each command alone.

FYI. The stats on users is that most are NOT English first language speakers due top the percentage of European users.

Re Datum - that is one the Americans adopted and I think it is correct. A plane may be either local or but it is still a - that is planar is secondary.

Here is a better example of ambiguous English…
PDF export.
Active Sheet = OK
One PDF for each = poor; Should be ‘One PDF per sheet’
One PDF for all = wrong; Should be ‘All sheets’ AND this should be default.

Cheers- Paul

Thanks Paul. Good you have your input. I would say you’re probably one of the native English speakers in Oceania who understand ZW3D best so your opinion is highly valuable. I talked to ZWSoft and they admitted that the UI wording needs to be improved but they need feedback from experienced CAD users who are native speakers at the same time.

I would like to post on each command alone but the problem is I don’t even know which ones need to be improved, and which ones don’t. That’s the difference between a native speaker and someone like me. In Mandarin I can easily sort out weird wording in 1 sec but in English, sigh…

The “Datum plane” is a good example. I thought it sounds weird but for a native speaker like you it’s totally fine so I shouldn’t even bring it up :slightly_smiling_face:.

Hi AconCheng,

I am french, and use the french setup. There are still english words here and there ^^, sometimes in the middle of sentences, but nothing dramatical.

When I started using ZW3D back in 2017, I kept records in an excel full of suggestion, bugs, typo, odd behavior… that I once sent to my reseller, and never got any feedback about it, so I kinda gave up myself.
I might start again when we adopt the next version, and try to contribute too, if you are interested in french ^^.


Hi Nicolas,

It looks like it’s not just the English UI that needs to be improved. :joy:

Unfortunately I don’t speak French and my clients all speak in English here in Australia so not sure what I can do for the French version. Maybe you can try to talk to your reseller again. :slightly_smiling_face:



Hehe, anything other than English and I am useless.
So here is one for you.
In ZW we use Constraints to contrain sketches AND objects in assemblies.
ZW looked at changing the Assembly term to Alignment or Mates - (cant remember which)
As an Australasian you know what Mates are.
My guess is that Mates is a French person trying to figure out English for Constraints! It is a silly term IMO.
But Alignments and Constraints are very different. The result of a constraint could be an alignment, but in the cast of a tangent it is not. Equally an alignment could be applied but it might be only a partial constraint.
A handcuff is a constraint.
So IMO Constraint is the correct term.

May if you see an example - put it into this post or another one. I’ll make a category - Terminology to collect them.
Then we will see what happens. IMO ZW have a number of options for improving language but it would mean asking people to review the language library which is probably quite big!

Cheers - Paul

Oh mate, that would be funny if they really use this term. As an Australasian with a biology background, I know what Mate is. :laughing:

I got both ZWD 2020 and ZW3D 2021 installed and just checked the Assembly tab but it looks like they’re using the right term “Constraint”? Or I should be looking at something else?



If you’re coming from other platforms, $olidworks uses Mates, Fusion360 has Align and Joints.

Hi W,

Wow good to know that! It looks like different companies prefer different terms and there’s no universal terminology rules in the CAD world. To me Constraint sounds more technical and formal, and Align is fine but bit imprecise. Mates just sounds strange and somehow funny, but easy to remember. :grin:


Having used Edgecam, Visicam, Solidworks, Featurecam and ZW3d I have seen many variants of the Icons and names for various command tabs.
I think that it will be acceptable to all users to learn the current names of commands and use them AS IS.

I have also used a variety of CNC Lathes and Milling machines, I find that the Buttons and Names also vary for the same operation/process.