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Tip 1007: Setting Base and Destination Points for COPY and MOVE

The shortest distance between two points is under construction.
–Noelie Altito

Here is a list of CAD tips about one of the most frequent tasks an AutoCAD drafter encounters: specifying a base point (let’s call it Point A) and a destination point (called Point B in this post). The AutoCAD command line refers to the latter the “second point.” We use base and destination points to place objects accurately when we use the COPY or MOVE command. Here are some tips to help you locate your Points A and B quickly, consistently, and accurately:




  1. The points A and B (base and destination) do not necessarily need to be located on the object being copied or moved.
  2. The distance and direction between Point A and Point B are what AutoCAD uses to place the object, regardless of where in space the two points are.
  3. It’s often more efficient to have Points A and B located well away from the manipulated object, or any object, to avoid possible unintended snaps that might interfere with the accuracy of the move or copy.
  4. Direct Distance Input (a.k.a. dimensional input) can be used to set Point B after you’ve set Point A. If you know the intended distance in units from Point A to Point B, you can show AutoCAD the desired direction (angle) by moving the pointer, and then just type in the distance. This method can be aided by either the ORTHO tool or the POLAR TRACKING tool.
  5. The Relative Point tool can also be used to specify Point B. After clicking to identify Point A, type the “at” sign (@) followed by the desired x distance, a comma separator, and then the desired y distance. Be sure to use units consistent with the type of units set for the drawing.
  6. To avoid getting unintended snaps, you can use snap overrides instead of relying on the OSNAP “basket of snaps”—see Tip 004, The Snap Basket.  Snap overrides are initiated by right-clicking in the work area and choosing one of the snap types on the shortcut menu.
  7. COPY is a “sticky” command by default–it will keep making more copies of the selected objects if you choose more points. You need to hit either ENTER, SPACEBAR, or ESCAPE to exit the COPY command. In contrast, MOVE is not a “sticky” command–after completing the move, you are thrown out of the command. You can repeat the MOVE command by hitting either ENTER or SPACEBAR.
  8. You can eliminate the “sticky” quality of the COPY command in AutoCAD by changing the value of the system variable COPYMODE.  Setting COPYMODE to 0 makes the COPY command repeat automatically. Setting COPYMODE to 1 makes COPY create a single copy only and then throw you out of the command.

Hope these tips help. Post your comments and responses–I enjoy hearing from you!

Keep on CADDing!  🙂


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