Shining a light on AutoCAD DIMs

Scott Wilcox

Scott Wilcox

This week’s guest post is from AutoCAD and Civil 3D expert Scott Wilcox.

Visit Scott’s Blog ‘Frozen Layers‘ for more AutoCAD Quick tips.

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Over to you Scott.

Understanding how to apply the AutoCAD DIM commands

Shining a Light on DIMS

There are more than 80 variables that control the behavior and appearance of dimensions, and there are another thirty or so dimension related commands besides. Here are two DIM gems: DIMSPACE and DIMROTATED.

Related: AutoCAD help, commands for basic dimensioning


DIMSPACE allows spacing between dimensions to be adjusted, either by setting a gap distance between stacked dimensions, or by setting them to appear in a line.

At the DIMSPACE prompt, users select the base dimension, and then select the dimensions they wish to be lined up with the base dim. In the example below, the leftmost dim will be selected as the base dimension.

The DIMSPACE AutoCAD variable controls dimension annotation spacing

Adjusting DIMSPACE

After selecting the base dimension, the other dimensions are selected, and users are prompted for a DIMSPACE value. To line them up, enter a value of 0 (zero); AutoCAD will align the dims in the plane of the first dimension.

The end result: all dimensions are now in line!

The AutoCAD DIMSPACE variable has been adjust to line up the dimension annotations



DIMROTATED allows the creation of a dimension that is neither aligned nor linear.

Related Post:  What every Drafter needs to know about AutoCAD Grip Editing

Instead, the dimension follows at an angle the user inputs before the dimension’s creation. Once the angle is either input or defined by picking points, the user is prompted for the start and end points of the dimension, and the dimension is created.

As the image shows, there is a considerable difference in both appearance and distance reported by the two dimensions.

Applying the AutoCAD DIMROTAED command to create aligned dimensions


Thanks very much Scott.

Do you have a favourite AutoCAD dims tip? Leave a comment below.


Scott Wilcox

Scott Wilcox is the Senior CAD Designer at Morrison Hershfield, in Edmonton , Alberta, Canada and has been using AutoCAD since R11 (1992). Scott Studied Architectural Engineering Technology in Newfoundland, Canada and taught AutoCAD at The Alberta School of Drafting.
Scott is Currently VP at Autodesk User Group International (AUGI) and in his spare time enjoys gardening, stargazing, music (guitar and piano).
Scott’s motto is: Make a difference every day.

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