How to Use Offset in AutoCAD, an in-depth Article!

In this post, we are going to learn everything about Offset in AutoCAD. We are going to look at what exactly the Offset command means and does, how to use Offset in AutoCAD, the different types of offset distance specification.
Furthermore, we are going to elevate our knowledge even further. Learning tricks like creating Multiple Offsets and Double-side offsets.

Offsetting an object creates a parallel copy of the source at a specific distance in an extremely short time! With the help of Offset, we can create concentric circles and parallel curves as well as parallel rectangles and polylines.
For better understanding, we will go through each case below.

How to Use Offset in AutoCAD

First, let’s start with the basics. To learn how to use Offset in AutoCAD, follow the steps below:

  1. Offset Icon is located at the Home Ribbon Tab, under Modify. You can also start the command by typing “O” on the command line.
  2. AutoCAD will ask you to Specify offset distance or [Through/Erase/Layer] <1.0000>:
    At this point we can directly set the desired distance for creating a parallel line/arc/circle or choose one of the options:
    • Through – This option lets you create a parallel object through a point specified on the screen instead of typing in the desired distance.
    • Erase – If you choose this option, AutoCAD will ask if you want to erase the source object after the creation of the new parallel one.
    • Layer – Lets you choose if you want the new object to be created in the same layer as the source object, or in the layer you have currently active.
  3. After specifying the offset distance, choose the object you want to offset (create a parallel copy of it).
  4. AutoCAD will now ask to choose the side to offset, you choose the side relative to the source object by clicking on the screen with the mouse.

Offset a Polyline:

Offset a Circle:

Note: The routine won’t execute fully after the first copy, you can directly select another object or the newly created one to create a new offset copy.

How to create Multiple Offsets in AutoCAD

Often times we need to create more than one parallel copy of our object. For example, if drawing stairs.
AutoCAD gives us the opportunity to create Multiple Offsets with much less effort than selecting and offsetting the object every time. Follow the steps below to learn how to use the Multiple Offset function:

  1. Start Offset command the usual way as discussed above.
  2. Specify the desired Offset Distance.
  3. Select the Object to Offset Multiple Times.
  4. After selecting the Object AutoCAD Prompts to Specify point on side to offset or [Exit/Multiple/Undo] : This time instead of choosing a Side for the Offset, Select Multiple (hit M key).
  5. Now, you can choose the side to create the Offset objects.

As you can see, this trick greatly improves the functionality of the Offset command.

Using Extended Offset in AutoCAD

Extended Offset is part of the Express Tools in AutoCAD. It has the advantage to create Multiple Offsets and/or erasing the Original Object using Keyboard shortcuts.

To trigger the Extended Offset type in EXOFFSET on the command line. Or find it on the Express Tools ribbon, under Modify drop-down menu.

The tool works almost the same way as the normal Offset command, to Create Multiple Offsets Press SHIFT key while specifying a Side to Offset.
To Erase the original Object press CTRL Key while specifying a side to Offset.

Extend, Fillet or Champfer Polyline Sigments when Offset

AutoCAD lets us choose how do we want to treat the potential Gaps between Offset Segments of Polylines. If we would like to Extend the parallel lines where they meet, Fillet the distance between them or Champfer it. All this is controlled with a system Variable called OFFSETGAPTYPE.

The default Value of OFFSETGAPTYPE is 0. When chosen, AutoCAD extends line segments to their projected intersections.

When OFFSETGAPTYPE Value is set to 1, AutoCAD fillets line segments at their projected intersections. The radius of each arc segment is equal to the offset distance.

If OFFSETGAPTYPE Value is set to 2, AutoCAD chamfers line segments at their projected intersections. The perpendicular distance from each chamfer to its corresponding vertex on the original object is equal to the offset distance.

So if, on the other hand, AutoCAD Offset is not working properly and instead of extending the Offset lines is creating Fillet or Chamfer, don’t forget to Check OFFSETGAPTYPE System Variable’s Value!

Double Offset at Once!

We can use an additional Lisp routine created by @LeeMac from The program works almost the same way as the original Offset Command. The difference is that it will create an offset on both sides of the selected Object. To use the routine follow the steps below:

  1. Download the Lisp from here.
  2. Load the Lisp into the AutoCAD.
  3. To trigger the program type in DOFF on the command line.
  4. AutoCAD will ask you to Specify offset distance or [Through/Erase/Layer] <1.0000>: here we are able to use the same settings as the Standard Offset command.
  5. Select the Object to create offset.

AutoCAD does not Offset Polylines, Why?

Sometimes AutoCAD Doesn’t want to offset the polylines we choose to, let’s see why and when that happens. And how to Fix Offset problems.
Check if one of the following issues are present in your case:

  • Is there a zero length segment in the Polyline you are trying to Offset?
    – To get rid of zero length segments in Polyline you can try using Overkill to get rid of those.
  • Are you trying to Offset 3D Polyline?
    – Quick way to convert 3d Polyline to normal Polyline is to Explode it, selecting all segments and setting their Z geometric values to 0, then Joining those elements again to create normal Polyline.
  • Nothing happens when Offseting polyline?
    – Check if the offset value and the Drawing Units are the same.
  • Cannot offset on both sides?
    – Quite a lot of times AutoCAD doesn’t want to Offset a polyline at one of the sides. The solution I personally use is to offset it the oposite side first and then Offsite the new parralel polyline back by doubling the Offset value.

Hope you find this information useful. Don’t forget to share with friends and colleagues.
For more great AutoCAD Related posts check our Page AutoCAD Tips.

Click and Drag Object Selection Stopped Working in AutoCAD

The Object selection in your AutoCAD behaves strangely? You can’t Click and Drag to select a window for selection? Window selection stopped working? When your Click and hold the mouse button, it doesn’t create a lasso selection? Or you want to Turn off the said lasso selection?
These all are very relevant questions, as we’ve all seen, how AutoCAD can start behaving strangely.

Usually, when AutoCAD starts misbehaving it is due to one or more System Variables. The case, today is not different. All of the problems above are linked to the behavior of PICKDRAG and PICKAUTO System Variables. Let’s take a closer look at the options and different behaviors of the system variables.


This is the System Variable that controls the method of the Drawing Selection Window. So if Click and Drag object selection is not working look no further. There are 3 different values/behaviors that we need to look for. The default value is 2.

  • Value 0 – Creates Selection Window using two points, we Click once to begin the selection window and then click again to complete the selection.
  • Value 1 – Specifies a lasso selection, we Click and drag to create the selection window and then release the button to complete the selection.
  • Value 2 – Creates Selection Window using both methods from above (Combines values 0 and 1)

If no selection Window is created at all, then the PICKAUTO is turned off completely. To turn on the selection Window in AutoCAD, right-click on the screen and go to Options. There, on the Selection tab, under Selection Modes check Implied windowing.
We can also control the PICKAUTO variables by checking on the options below – Allow press and drag on object and Allow press and drag for Lasso.


PICKAUTO in particular controls the automatic windowing for object selection. There are 4 different options to select from. To select more than one of them we need to enter the sum of their values (if enter 5 we turn “on” options 1 and 4).

  • Value 1 – This turns off automatic Window when selecting.
  • Value 2 – Starts a window selection if the mouse is not over an object when we click.
  • Value 3 – Begins a window selection if the mouse is Directly over an object.
  • Value 4 – Starts a window if the mouse cursor is not over an object when we Click and Drag.

Hope we helped, solving your problem. Check out our other AutoCAD Related Posts!

Stretch Multiple Objects in AutoCAD (Stretch like a PRO!)

Stretch is one of the most important commands in AutoCAD. I just can’t imagine drawing without stretching numerous times a day. However, there is one great command that is included in full AutoCAD versions in the Express Tools pallet called Multiple Object Stretch. This is a Great tool that gives us the opportunity to stretch multiple objects at once!

Imagine for example that you have a design for an office box that is multiplied a dozen times and it is not a Block object.

Suddenly you have to move all the openings north 1 foot. The first thing that comes to our mind is to use Stretch several times for all six boxes. But what if we have 10 or 20 or even more objects to stretch?

Here to our Aid comes the MSTRETCH.

  1. Start the Tool by typing MSTRETCH into the command line, or clicking on the icon located in Express Tools tab under Modify.
  2. AutoCAD will ask you to Specify an option C or CP.
    1. C creates a crossing window (rectangular)
    2. Cp creates a crossing polygon.
  3. Choose what type of selection you will need, and select the objects to stretch One by One.
    Note: If you have selected an object by accident you can easily deselect it by hitting Undo. (Ctrl + Z)
  4. Stretch those objects that you’ve Selected!

As easy as it is! There are a lot of “Hidden” Tools in AutoCAD that can dramatically increase our productivity if only we give them a glance. Here are some other Express Tools that I highly recommend trying:
Move, Copy and Rotate. All with one command!
Auto-Number Multiple Text Objects!
Auto-Rotate Multiple text Objects!

If you like the content check out the other AutoCAD related Tricks here!


Hide Layer data when DWG to PDF! (3 Simple Steps!)

Since AutoCAD 2010, PDFs have layer information included in them. This is great in most of the cases but what if we want to send our pdf to a client or colleague, and we would rather hide the layers from them?
Let’s see how to not include (or how to hide) your Layer table in your PDF plots?

Turn off Layer Export when Exporting a Drawing to PDF!

To Turn Off Layers when using Export To PDF follow those three simple steps:

  1. Go to Output tab and under Export to DWF/PDF Panel click on Export to PDF Options.
  2. A window will pop up. In it under Data Uncheck Include Layer Information, to turn off layer export.
  3. Hit OK and Export your Drawing.

This is it as easy as it is!

How to Turn OFF Layer export when Plotting DWG to PDF!

If you want to Turn Off Layer export for Plotting, don’t worry we have you covered!

  1. Start the PLOT command.
  2. Under Printer/Plotter select DW to PDF.pc3 and click on PDF Options…

  3. A window will pop up. In it under Data Uncheck Include Layer Information, to turn off layer export. And hit OK.
  4. AutoCAD will ask if you want to use those changes for the current plot only or Save to a File. You can decide if you will turn off layer export only for this plot or you need it for more plots.
  5. Hit OK and go on Plotting your Drawing.

I hope you found this Tip useful! Check out our other AutoCAD related Tips and Tricks!

Exit mobile version