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When dimensioning a distance in AutoCAD we have two options: Aligned and Linear. An aligned dimension will label the true distance between two points whereas a linear dimension will label the horizontal or vertical distance between two points. That is, if you rely on the default settings. In reality, a linear dimension can do anything that an aligned dimension can do and linear dimensions are much easier to edit. In this lesson, we are going to learn how to create aligned dimensions using the Linear tool. On my screen I have a mechanical part.
I am going to zoom in on the upper left corner. Let's center this on screen. And let's say that I'd like to dimension the length of this line. Now typically, we would use an aligned dimension to do this so I'm going to launch the Aligned command and then I'll pick my two endpoints and I'll pull my dimension out to here. Now, this works great, until I have to edit the extension lines. For instance, I'd like to show a gap, right here, so that my extension line doesn't run over the top of the part.
If I select this dimension and then grab of the grip and pull it out to this endpoint. Notice that my measurement changes. That's because by definition an aligned dimension labels the distance between two points. One of the points is moved so the dimension is no incorrect. I am going to press Delete to erase this. And let's label this distance using a linear dimension instead. I'll launch the Linear command. I'll grab the same two endpoints. And notice that by default, AutoCAD is wanting to measure the horizontal or vertical distance. However, if I right- click, I can select Rotated and then I can pick two points to define the direction of the extension lines.
I'm going to pick this endpoint and this one and I'll pull my dimension out to here. Now, if I select this dimension and come back and edit this grip, you can see the measurement stays the same. Let's add one more. I am going to you push this up. I'd like to dimension the distance from the center point to this edge. Once again we'll launch the Linear option. I'll grab the center of this circle, I'll dimension to the endpoint here, then I'll right-click and select Rotated and I'd like to define the direction of the extension lines by selecting the endpoint and this one and I'll pull my dimension out to here.
When it comes right down to it, lLinear dimension could be used to label all of your distances and in some cases the Linear tool does a better job with aligned measurements than using the dedicated aligned dimensioning tool.
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