Manual dimension placement?

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Perhaps this question has been answered but after an hour of searching the forums I can't seem to find the answer. When I go to manually place dimensions around the exterior of a house I snap to each corner of a section of wall and I get a dimension placed right in the center of the wall.I then have to click the space bar, select the measurement and drag it away from the wall so that it has the appropriate spacing away from the wall. I have tried every default setting I can find that will allow me to draw MANUAL dimensions that automatically stay say 8"-12" away from the wall with the appropriate amount of extension line. What am I missing?

I will say since I use the program irregularly I almost have to relearn it every time I start a new drawing! lol So it may seem like newbie question....and I guess it is!  :D

Thanks in advance!


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It's always been a problem.  I just use Auto Exterior Dimensions and then move any extension lines that aren't where I want them.  It they connect to something they will still exist - otherwise that extension line will be eliminated.

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  • Solution

You do not have to draw dimensions in the center of the wall, you do not have to move the dimensions, you do not have to hit corners exactly.


If you go into edit>Defaults>Dimension>Dimensions> 


Select your current active default e.g. "1/4 Scale Dimension Default". Choose "Setup". Notice the "Reach" setting. It control how far object has to be for dimension line to reach it.


Change to 24". And if you do not like the GAP go to extensions, specify Gap From Marked Object 3"  and NOT the "Length Towards Marked Object "


Draw rectangle, slightly pass the corner of your rectangle and start drawing dimension line. When you reach opposite corner notice dimension displayed number "2". Let it go.

Chief will accurately place the dimension. Controlling reach allow you to accurately select what you want to reach. Even IF you reached something you do not want it is easy to get rid of not needed diamond.







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BrownTiger OHHHH!!!!! I see what you mean! I had everything set correctly already I was being to anal in trying to click on the the corner of the wall rather than out away from it! That saves me several clicks per dimension. Normally I would use Auto-Exterior dimensions but I had several other buildings within the same drawing and I didn't want all of those to be covered in dimension lines....


Thanks to all of you for being willing to answer my question!

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Old habits die hard...the program i used to use you had to click each corner then the 3rd click set the distance away from what you were measuring. I keep finding that the longer i stick with CA the more i find great features; they're just not always easily/quickly found....and then sometimes i'm just so anxious to get stuff done i overlook some obvious stuff!

That's why the CA family is such a God-send!

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To add one more thing to what BT said, there is one other setting that can come in quite handy and that is


With proximity field checked, your dimension will be placed exactly the specified distance away from the object you are dimensioning.  So, if you have your reach set to 36" and your proximity field set to 12", you can pull your dimensions 2 or 3 feet away from the wall (or other object) but your dimension line will automatically draw at the specified 12".  You could also pull the dimension along the center of the wall and it will jump out to 12" as well.  Anyway, I use this setting a lot to keep my work looking clean and consistent. 

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