Tip 1004: Using the “Basket of Snaps” Effectively

 The way to become rich is to put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.
— Andrew Carnegie

I think of the OSNAP tool as a “basket of snaps.” This entire basket can be toggled on or off, using the F3 function key, or by clicking the Object Snap button at the bottom of the screen, part of the Status Bar. When the basket is turned on, the snaps that are selected in the OSNAP dialog box are activated. Here is the dialog box:


To open the OSNAP dialog box, hover over the OSNAP button, right-click, and select “Settings.” You can choose from thirteen snap types–Endpoint, Midpoint, and so on. The image above shows the “basket of snaps” that I typically use, although I sometimes change the settings, depending on the type of drawing I’m working on.

Another way of configuring the “basket” of snaps is to hover over the OSNAP button in the status bar, right-click, and study the pop-up list of snap types. The ones that are selected to be in the “basket” have a pale blue square around their icons. Clicking on any of the icons either turns it on or off, depending on its original state. See the image below:


Snaps are necessary for accurate drawing. Without them, we could not make two lines connect at a corner, or draw a line from the exact center of a circle. However, there is a downside to the OSNAP tool. The OSNAP basket, if left on too much of the time, can cause lots of missed clicks, do-over clicks, and mysterious, unintended results, such as shooting the object you’re working on to the other side of the drawing universe. In short, it can be a time-waster. This is a challenge for beginners and experienced ACAD users as well.

One way of keeping the mis-snaps from occurring is to keep the “basket” turned off most of the time. You can turn it on when you need a snap and then turn it off until you need it again. This becomes a bit of a hassle.

Snap overrides offer another approach. We can keep the OSNAP basket turned off and use the one-and-done snap overrides. How? Start a command, right-click anywhere in the work area, choose the snap tool you want, click once using the snap tool, and then it turns itself off. Snap overrides can be used whether your basket of snaps is turned on or off.

A compromise strategy is to keep the snap basket on most of the time, but cut down on the number of snap types you include in the basket. For example, you could uncheck the Midpoint snap, which eliminates a big portion of the possible snap points in a typical drawing–a good thing, unless you do a lot of snapping to midpoints. You could also turn off the Perpendicular snap, which I find to be especially likely to give inaccurate results in a complex drawing.

Until Autodesk comes out with a mind-reading interface, we will need to use the “basket of snaps” OSNAP tool cautiously, being aware of how many mis-snaps and do-overs we have to do because we left the basket turned on, and adjust the basket to fit our current needs.

In future tips we will look closely at the different snap tools.

Post your comments and responses–I enjoy hearing from you!

Keep on CADDing!   🙂


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