How to Measure the Distance and Angle Between 2 Points in AutoCAD

In the past we have looked at the easiest way How to find Closest Distance Between 2 Objects? today, we will improve our knowledge with finding the different ways to measure the distance and angle between 2 points in AutoCAD. Of course we will pick the quickest and easiest way to do the job.

For better illustration we will use the image above.
The distance we need is the distance between point A and point B. While the angle needed is the one between the imaginary line AB and the X-axis (horizontal line).

Measure Distance and Angle by adding Dimensions

The first way to find the needed data is to add standard AutoCAD Dimensions.

To measure the distance we will use either Aligned dimension

or the DIM commad (Which Creates multiple dimensions and types of dimensions with a single command.)
To measure the angle between the AB line and the X-axis, we need to draw a horizontal helper line and use DIM angular .

This method is quite easy, however it consists of several steps and can be time consuming.

Find Distance and Angle between two points with Single command!

The Second method we are looking at is quicker and doesn’t require drawing additional objects in the drawing. We can find the desired information by using the DIST command. See how in the steps below:

  1. Type on the command line DIST or select the icon in the Home ribbon tab under utilities tab.
  2. Specify first point.
  3. Specify the second point

Then AutoCAD will automatically return the results in the command line. (To Expand the command line Click F2 key on the keyboard)

As you can see the information given is absolutely the same as the one using the first method. The only difference is being the precision of the linear dimension. In addition to the Distance and angle between the two points. When using the DIST command AutoCAD gives us the the difference between two point’s X coordinates and Y coordinates – Delta X and Delta Y.

DIST command can be also used in 3D, then the difference in Z coordinates could be more than 0.

If you found this information useful. Don’t forget to check our other AutoCAD Tips for more great Tips and Tricks like this one!

3 Ways to Convert Spline to Polyline (How to Choose the Best!)

In the last article, we discussed How to Make the Best use of Splines in AutoCAD. We learned that a spline is a smooth curve that passes through or near points chosen on the screen.

Today our task will be to Convert Spline to Polyline, this is an important skill as not all programs or commands can work with Spline objects.
There are at least 3 different ways of converting splines into polylines and the results could be different too.
In addition to converting a single Spline, we will go through a way to convert multiple Splines to Polylines with ease!
Lastly, we are going to look at How to Convert a Spline-Fit Polyline to a Spline!

Convert Spline to Arc Polyline

The first method we are going to look at converts Splines to Polylines composed of arcs. This method is only available for users of the full AutoCAD version as it is part of the Express Tools and is not available for AutoCAD LT users.
The resulting arced polyline looks very similar to the starting spline and is quite easy to modify later on. Follow the steps below to do the trick:

  1. Draw in the Spline you want to Convert.
  2. Type on the command line FLATTEN.
  3. Select the Spline object.
  4. A prompt will appear: Remove hidden lines? type N for No and hit Enter.

The Spline is now Polyline arcs that look very similar to the original Spline object.

Note: If you choose to remove hidden lines, AutoCAD will convert the Spline to a polyline consisting of lots of lines and in addition to this will erase any parts of the spline that are not currently displayed.

Convert Spline to Polyline adjusting the Precision

The second method we are looking at will convert the spline to a polyline consisting of lots of straight lines. Using this method we are able to adjust the Accuracy of the polyline, the more accurate we are, the more vertexes there will be on the Polyline, which would make adjustments very hard later on. You can check our post on How to Remove Polyline Vertexes (Remove Multiple Vertexes at Once!!) for simplifying existing polylines.

In fact, we can achieve absolutely the same results in two separate ways, we are exploring the methods below:

Using SPLINEDIT

  1. Draw in the Spline you want to Convert.
  2. Type on the command line SPLINEDIT.
  3. Select the Spline.
  4. Type P to choose convert to Polyline option.
  5. AutoCAD will prompt to Specify a precision: type in a number between 0 and 99. Hit Enter!

Note: Remember the bigger the number you specify the closer to the original spline you are, but more vertexes will be added to the polyline.

Using PEDIT

  1. Draw in the Spline you want to Convert.
  2. Type on the command line PEDIT.
  3. Select the Spline.
  4. AutoCAD will ask Do you want to turn it into one? type in Y for yes.
  5. Then will prompt to Specify a precision: type in a number between 0 and 99. Hit Enter!

Convert Multiple Splines to Polylines

Often times we need to convert multiple Splines, this could take a considerable amount of time if the Spline objects are tens or even hundreds.
To convert multiple splines to polylines with one command follow the steps below:

  1. Have your Splines drawn and type on command line PEDIT.
  2. Then, before selecting anything type in M for Multiple.
  3. Now, select all the Splines and hit Enter.
  4. AutoCAD will prompt Convert Lines, Arcs and Splines to polylines [Yes/No]? type in Y for yes.
  5. Then will prompt to Specify a precision: type in a number between 0 and 99. Hit Enter twice.

That is how all Splines got converted to Polylines at once with just one command.

Convert a Polyline to Spline

Lastly, we will show you How to convert a Polyline to Spline in AutoCAD. To do that follow the steps below:

  1. Draw the Polyline the usual way.
  2. Type on command line PEDIT and select the Polyline.
  3. Then type S for Spline. And hit Enter.
    This will convert the polyline to a spline-fit Polyline that still exhibits Polyline properties.
  4. Now, to convert this 2D Splined Polyline to true Spline type in SPL on the command line.
  5. When AutoCAD prompts to Specify first point or [Method/Knots/Object]: type O to trigger the Object option.
  6. Lastly, select the Polyline and hit Enter.

Note: The method works for a single Polyline as well as for multiple Polylines, the only difference is that you have to type M for multiple after PEDIT command is triggered, before selecting the polylines.

Hope you find this post a value, you can check our other AutoCAD Articles to find even more interesting tips and tricks.

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Drawing SPLINE in AutoCAD (Best Practices!)

In this article, we are going to look at one very mysterious AutoCAD Object – AutoCAD Splines and try to make working with them easier for us all!
For better understanding, we will be looking at different examples of How to draw Spline and their best uses.

First, what is a Spline in AutoCAD?

When triggered SPLINE, the software creates a smooth curve that passes through or near points we choose on the screen. By default, splines are a series of blended cubic curve segments. They are called non-uniform rational B-splines (NURBS), but we are calling them Splines in short. According to Autodesk’s site, cubic splines most closely represent the line created by using flexible strips that are shaped by weights at data points (About Splines).

Draw SPLINE in AUTOCAD

To draw a Spline type on the command line SPL, by default AutoCAD will display Current settings: Method=Fit Knots=Uniform and ask us to Specify first point or [Method/Knots/Object]: Here we can either start drawing, using the current settings or choose a different setting. Let’s see what are the different options we have:

Method

When we select the Method setting, AutoCAD gives us two options Enter spline creation method [Fit/CV] : in other words create spline using Fit Points or using Control Vertices.

Fit

The Fit points method creates blended Cubic curves (degree 3) by specifying fit points that curvature must pass through or if the tolerance value is greater than 0, the spline within the specified tolerance from each specified point.

There are several specific settings for using the Fit method:

  1. Knots use different computational methods to draw different ways to blend the curves between the fit points. (SPLKNOTS system variable)
    • Chord – draws the connecting knots with proportional distances between each pair of fit points.
    • Square root – draws the connecting knots with spaces proportional to the square root of the distance between each pair of fit points.
    • Uniform – draws the connecting knots with spaces equal regardless the spacing of the fit points.
  2. Start Tangency specifies the tangency of the spline at the start point of the object.
  3. End Tangency specifies the tangency of the spline at the end point of the object.
  4. Tolerance specifies the maximum distance by which the blended curves can deviate from the specified fit points.

    Note: The tolerance for starting and ending points is always 0

Control Vertices (CV)

The Control Vertices method creates linear (degree 1), quadratic (degree 2), cubic (degree 3), and up to degree 10 splines. (SPLMETHOD system variable)

  1. Linear Spline (degree 1)

  2. Quadratic Spline (degree 2)

  3. Cubic Spline (degree 3)

  4. Degree 6

Object

When we choose the Object setting, AutoCAD will ask us to select 2D or 3D quadratic or cubic spline-fit Polyline to convert to SPLINE.



Note: By default, the original polyline will be erased, to save the polyline change the DELOBJ system variable to 0.

If you found this information useful. Don’t forget to check our other AutoCAD Tips for more great Tips and Tricks just like this one!

How to convert Solid to Hatch in AutoCAD

In this article, we will check the quickest and easiest way to Convert a Solid to Hatch in AutoCAD. To do the trick, we will use an AutoLISP. You can find out what a LISP is and how to use it in Accelerate Your Work with AutoLISP! (Only 3 Easy Steps!)

2D Solids are created with SOLID command. The software creates solid-filled triangles and quadrilaterals. 2D solids can be seen (filled) only when the FILLMODE system variable is on (1).

Sometimes, Solids are created by extracting objects from other programs like Civil 3D. For example, when you try to pull Slopes out from a Civil 3D TIN Surface, you end up with lots of Solid objects.

I personally prefer to work with hatches instead of Solids as they are way more customizable and work better for me. So how to convert those objects into Hatches?

Convert Solid to Hatch in AutoCAD

As previously said, to convert a solid object to Hatch we will use a lisp. The steps for conversion are below:

  1. Download the lisp from Here.
  2. Load the Lisp into AutoCAD and type on the command line CD to trigger the routine.
  3. Next, the software will ask you to select the objects to convert.
  4. After selecting the solids hit Enter and you are Done!

You will find that in addition to hatches, AutoCAD will export polylines for the solid objects boundaries.

Hope you find this post a value, you can check our other AutoCAD Articles to find even more interesting tips and tricks.

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How to Calculate the Moment of Inertia in AutoCAD

AutoCAD is primarily a drawing software, however, there are more, much more uses of the program than just the simple drawing.
One very useful feature is that with the help of AutoCAD we can calculate the second area moment of inertia of a complex section with ease!
Manual calculation of the moment of inertia of any section could be time-consuming. Can you imagine, being on a tight schedule and calculating multiple complex moments of inertia?

Moment of Inertia in a Simple Section

We will start with a simple section and then move on to a more complex one. I hope it would be easier to follow this way.
Now, to make the calculation, we will go through the following steps:

  1. First, draw the section, in the example, we will use a simple rectangle with sides of 5 and 2 units.
  2. Secondly, we type on the command line REGION to define a Region object.
  3. Then, we select all the lines/arcs/polylines that define the section and hit Enter (or Right-Click the mouse)
  4. After the creation of a Region object from our section, we type on the command line MASSPROP and select the Region object.
  5. AutoCAD will automatically provide us some properties of the Section, like Area, Perimeter, coordinates of the Center of the Mass, etc. Now, we move the UCS to the Center of the mass (Centroid)
  6. Lastly, after moving the Coordinate system to the Center of the mass of the section, we trigger MASSPROP again to Find the Moment of Inertia.

Note: The REGION command deletes the original objects after converting them to regions. To prevent it from deleting those set the DELOBJ system variable to 0.

Moment of Inertia in a Hollow Section

Next, we will take a look at how to find the Moment of Inertia in a Complex Section (Hollow asymmetrical section). The steps are pretty much the same with one small exception, excluding the hollow part.

  1. First, we again draw the Section.
  2. Then, we start REGION Command.
  3. Next, we select all objects that define the section, both inner and outer limits. This time we will end up with 2 separate Region objects.
  4. Now, to combine those objects we will type on the command line SUBTRACT.
  5. AutoCAD will ask us to Select solids, surfaces, and regions to subtract from, here we select the outer limits of the section and hit Enter
  6. Then, AutoCAD will ask us to Select objects: Select solids, surfaces, and regions to subtract, here we select the inner object to subtract and hit Enter.
  7. We’ve ended up with one complex Region Object that represents our section. Now we have to repeat steps 4, 5, and 6 from the previous example.
    We type on the command line MASSPROP and select the Region object.
  8. Now, we move the UCS to the Center of the mass (Centroid coordinates)
  9. Lastly, we trigger MASSPROP again to Find the Moment of Inertia in AutoCAD

If you found this information useful. Don’t forget to check our other AutoCAD Tips for more great Tips and Tricks just like this one!

How to perform AutoCAD Spell Check the Easy Way!

As a non-native English speaker, I tend to make quite many spelling mistakes. This, in an everyday speech or writing, could not be a problem, however, the Drawings we create are a significant part of our portfolio and they should be flawless in every way.

It would be very unproductive for us to spend lots of time, making sure all the text objects are visible (How to Bring all Text to Front in AutoCAD! (With 1 Command!)) and properly aligned (Rotate multiple Text objects in AutoCAD), looking good, and then having spelling mistakes all across the drawings.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy and free way to spellcheck all your text in AutoCAD?

AutoCAD Check Spelling

Fortunately for us, AutoCAD has a free built-in Spell Checking function. And even better is that there are several different English dictionaries (American English, British English, and Canadian English) depending on where your drawings would be reviewed.
For a better understanding of how to use Spell Check in AutoCAD follow the steps below:

  1. First, to launch the checking function type on the command line SPELL
  2. A window will popup, there on the very top is a drop-down menu called Where to check: and the options are as follows
    • Entire Drawing
    • Current Space/layout – Checking all the objects in the layout/model space
    • Selected Objects – Spell checking only selected objects
  3. To change the language, click on the Main Dictionary: drop-down menu and the one you need.
  4. Hit Start
  5. Complete the task by doing one of the following options:
    • Correct the misspelled word by selecting one of the Suggestions list or type in a new word in the Suggestions box.
    • Leave a word unchanged by clicking Ignore.
    • Or Leave a word unchanged and add it to the dictionary by clicking Add to Dictionary.
  6. Repeat the previous step for all misspelled words, or click Change all/ Ignore all.

How to additionally set up the Spell Check function.

To include block attributes, dimension text, and/or external references, when you trigger the SPELL Command, Click on Settings.

There, under Include, you can mark the additional objects you want to be Spell Checked by AutoCAD. The options are Dimension Text, Block Attributes, and External References.

Under Options, you can choose if the spell-checker should ignore one of the following:

  • Ignore capitalized words (Autodesk)
  • Ignore Words with mixed Cases (TrueType)
  • Ignore words in uppercase (DWG)
  • Ignore words with numbers (ISO9000)
  • Ignore words containing punctuation (A/3)

How to add new Words or Custom Dictionaries

To add a custom dictionary or additional words to the existing one, trigger the SPELL Command and then click on Dictionaries.

A new window will pop up, there under Current Main Dictionary, you can choose the main Language to use.
From the Current Custom dictionary drop-down menu, choose Manage Custom Dictionaries to add a new dictionary.
To add additional words to the existing Custom Dictionary, either type in the new words under Content:, or click on Import to import a new list of words (custom dictionary).

Turn On/Off the AutoCAD Spell Check while typing

To make AutoCAD Check words directly while you are typing when you start editing/adding text in an MText object, on the Text Editor ribbon tab, click on the Spell Check icon. That way AutoCAD will continuously underline the misspelled words while typing.

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How to Link Tables in AutoCAD

AutoCAD Tables are very powerful and useful objects that can save us lots of time. There are so many uses of AutoCAD Tables, as we already saw in previous posts like How to Copy Excel Table in AutoCAD or How to copy AutoCAD Text to Microsoft Excel.

The Table objects in AutoCAD could be almost as useful as the tables of Microsoft Excel. Most likely you already know how to link Cell data between cells of a single AutoCAD table, just type in a formula and the Cell ID as in Microsoft Excel “=B1+B2”.
However, in Excel we know how to combine data between different tables, but do you know How to link cell data from different tables in AutoCAD? Don’t worry, with our 3 simple steps you will be able to link data from different AutoCAD Tables with ease!

Link cells from different AutoCAD Tables

To create a data link between different tables in AutoCAD, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the Cell in the receiving AutoCAD Table.
  2. Right-click and from the menu select Insert > Formula > Cell
  3. Select the cell to link to and hit Enter.

That was it! The two tables are now Linked and the data will be automatically updated when the master table changes.

The formula in the receiving Cell will look something like this “=Table(2208892340912).D9”, where (2208892340912) is the identification of the master table object and D9 is the ID of the Cell in the master table.

When you save and close the drawing, when opened again you could notice that the value of the Table value (Table(2208892340912)) is changed, this is because the Object ID is just a file session valid value.

The Linked cell formula can be changed to your needs for example to =Table(2208892340912).D9+B6. Where we have added to the value of the link cell, the value of cell “B6”.

Note: Only numeric values can be cross-linked this way. If you select a cell with text in it, you will only see #### in the receiving table cell.

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How to Add a Break-Line in Dimensions? AutoCAD Tips!

Oftentimes, when drawing Details or Sections we need to show only a part of the whole drawing. To illustrate the continuation of the part usually we use Breaklines or Jog lines. These line breaks could be easily drawn by hand or by using the Break-line Symbol tool from the Express Tools. It gets more challenging though when drawing a Dimension break line.
As we’ve already discussed, Dimensions are some of the most important and often used objects in AutoCAD. This is why we should be able to quickly add a Dimension line break / Dimension line jog to illustrate that the object is bigger than depicted in the drawing.

Add Dimension Break symbol in AutoCAD

To add a Dimension break in AutoCAD we will use the DIMJOGLINE command, or more particularly follow the steps below:

  1. First, draw in the linear dimensions as normal.
  2. Then, type in the command line DIMJOGLINE and hit enter.
  3. AutoCAD will ask you to Select dimension to add jog or [Remove]: Select the dimension you want to add the breakline into.
  4. Lastly, specify the location of the Break/Jog symbol on the Dimension line.

Repeat the procedure for all the dimensions you need.

To Remove the break symbol from dimension, repeat the command. This time before selection of the dimension type in R for Remove, and then select the Dimension, to remove the jog.

Edit Dimension Jog Size

The editing of the Dimension Jog symbol is done from the Dimension Style Manager, as are all other dimension style settings.

  1. To Open Dimension Style Manager go to the Annotate Ribbon tab, under Dimensions, at the lower right corner, click on the small arrow.
  2. Select the Dimension Style you are using and hit Modify…
  3. Then, under Symbols and Arrows tab, at the lower right corner is located the Jog Height factor relative to the Text Height.

    Jog height is determined by the distance between the two verticles of the angles that make up the Jog.

This is the best and easiest way to add a Dimension Break symbol in AutoCAD. There are lots of other AutoCAD Tricks that you could learn with us!
Don’t forget to check them out and share this post with your friends and colleagues!

When Moved the object Elevation Changes in AutoCAD?

Learn why when Move or Copy in AutoCAD, program changes object Elevations and How to Stop That!

Why, when I move polyline in AutoCAD it changes the polyline elevation? Why when moving COGO Points in Civil 3D they lose their elevations? When I copy objects in AutoCAD they change their elevations, why?
The answers to these and other questions related to Elevations and Move in AutoCAD will be answered here!

AutoCAD Elevation OSNAP

The system variable OSNAPZ was introduced back in AutoCAD 2006 version. It controls whether object snaps are automatically projected onto a plane parallel to the XY plane of the current UCS at the current elevation. According to Autodesk’s site. Or in simpler words, OSNAPZ controls whether the objects/cursor will Snap and change the Z value (elevation) of the object.

To copy or move without changing the election, type on the command line OSNAPZ and enter 0.

OSNAPZ, 0 – Osnap uses the Z-value of the specified point

OSNAPZ, 1 – Osnap substitutes the Z-value of the specified point with the elevation (ELEV) set for the current UCS

If you found this information useful. Don’t forget to check our other AutoCAD Tips for more great Tips and Tricks just like this one!

How to Create Angular Dimension larger than 180 Degrees in AutoCAD?

How to create an Angular Dimension for larger than 180-degree angles? This is the topic of today’s article and as I said in previous posts, Dimensions are one of the most important objects in our Drawings. Without Dimensions, a drawing will be closer to a painting. This is the reason why we have so many Dimension Related topics. So being able to dimension properly is of great importance to every professional.

By default, AutoCAD’s Angular Dimension

DIMANGULAR is limited to angles less than 180 degrees. Or it seems like that:

At the first glance, it seems like this is the case. However, it is possible to create an Angular Dimension Larger than 180 Degrees using DIMANGULAR, to do that, you need to follow the steps below:

  1. Type on the command line DIMANGULAR and hit Enter. (or click on the icon)
  2. AutoCAD will prompt to Select arc, circle, line, or <specify vertex>: hit Enter again.
  3. Now, AutoCAD will ask to Specify angle vertex: pick the vertex (corner) of the desired angle.
  4. Next, on Specify first angle endpoint: pick one end of the lines.
  5. On Specify second angle endpoint: pick the end of the other line.
  6. Lastly, place the Dimension on the screen!

This is by far, the easiest way to create a dimension for larger than 180-degree angles!

I hope you find our way to dimension Reflex Angle in AutoCAD (angles larger than 180 degrees) useful. Find out more great tips and tricks with us AutoCAD Tips and Tricks!

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