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    By Dennis Collin

    AutoCAD is renowned for its myriad of ways of performing tasks such as the construction of objects, modifying elements and even measuring distances.

    The measure geometry command is accessed from the Home tab on the AutoCAD interface.


    This gives options to measure lengths, angles, areas and volumes but did you know there is an easier method?

    To measure the length of a line, polyline segments, circle and arc radii etc. simply select an element and hover the cursor over one of the end control points. Dependent on the element selected, the AutoCAD interface will display the relevant information. In the case of the image below a line will display its vector length and angle from the horizontal.

    NB: For this function to work the Dynamic Interface toggle needs to be enabled as highlighted in the image below:


    TIP: Shortcut F12 key


    Fig 1. Determining the length of a line in from a typical survey drawing

    The measurements will disappear when the element is released, nevertheless it is a useful function when checking drawings received from external sources.

    Circles and polylines also show relevant information when selected and hovering the cursor over control points.


    Fig 2. Checking the radius of a circle

    Polylines display lengths for two adjacent segments.


    Fig 3. Checking the lengths of a polyline

    Not only is this useful for verifying lengths and whether a drawing is correctly sized, it is also useful to check the nature of elements, and how elements have been created or left within a drawing.


    Fig 4. Comparing a symbol with its exploded equivalent.

    Excessive control points can indicate whether CAD symbols or other elements such as hatch pattern fills, have been exploded and may explain poor or slow drawing performance.