Position Location Commands

Locate Position Commands

Whilst cursor snaps, grid snaps and coordinates will be used for the majority of the work you do in CAD, sometimes you need to locate a position on your drawing that simply can’t be known by the cursor at the time. This is where the Locate Position commands are brilliant.

By using these commands you’ll never need to draw construction guide lines or make measurements. Instead you can use existing geometry in your drawing to locate desired positions whilst in the middle of drawing.

These commands can be accessed from the icon menu or by holding the Shift Key and clicking the Right button of the mouse in a blank area of your drawing.

Let’s do a short exercise for each of the most used commands. Be sure to absorb and remember these commands – You’ll use them in several practical projects later in the course.

Exercise 23 –End Point

As you’ve discovered, the cursor automatically locates visible ends of lines, arcs and curves, this Locate Position tool adds the ability to locate end points even if the end point is off the screen and out of sight. It’s also useful when many lines converge in one small area making it difficult to see which end point is being selected by the cursor.

  1. Open the training file called ‘Position-Location’

  2. Select Colour 5 from the colour icon in the Style Bar menu
  3. Select ‘Circle of set value command from the main menu.

  4. Enter 5 as the Radius and Enter.

A small circle will now be attached to your cursor, ready for you to place… Don’t place it just yet.

  1. Whilst the software is expecting you to insert your circle, select the ‘Locate End’ command from the Assistant menu.

Look at the prompt. It will be asking you to ‘locate the entity near the end to snap to

  1. Select any line, arc or curve toward one or other end. The circle will gravitate to the end nearest to where you selected.

Imagine that the entity you’re selecting has a half way mark. You must select the correct side of that imaginary half way point.

The three examples below show an ‘imaginary’ red half way point and a position you might have clicked to select the arc, line or curve. The pink circle is the end the circle would be inserted when using this command.

  1. Repeat the command on two lines, two arcs and the curve so you clearly get the idea.

Exercise 24 – On

This command locates a point on an entity that is perpendicular to, or at the intersection of, two entities.

  1. Select Circle of set value command from the main menu.

  2. This time enter 10 as the Radius and Enter.

A 10mm radius circle will now be attached to your cursor.

  1. Now select the Locate On command as shown here and note the prompt.

  2. Select CurveA’ followed by LineB’ and the circle will be placed on the curve in line with line B.
  3. Repeat by reselecting the Locate On
  4. Select LineC’ followed by PointD’.

In this case the point of insertion is the shortest path to the line.

  1. Repeat again and this time select Line ‘E’ and Line ‘F’.

Infinite Length

Lines and arcs are assumed to have infinite length, so they do not need to visibly intersect for the command to work.
Curves do have finite length because their projected direction cannot truly be calculated – For this reason curves can’t be used as the second entity during this command.

Keep the file open for the next exercise.


Exercise 25 –Along

This command is fantastic. It takes what would otherwise be tedious manual math and automates it.

  1. Let’s continue to insert a 10mm circle as per the previous exercise, only this time use the ‘locate along’

When you do you’ll be given a choice of measuring by Distance, Percentage or Fraction.

  1. Choose ‘Percentage’ and input 25 then Enter.
  2. Now select somewhere toward the upper half of Line B and the circle will be placed precisely 25% along the line, as measured from its upper end point.
  3. Repeat by reselecting the command and this time select Line B toward the lower half and again the circle will be placed ¼ (25%) along the line as measured from the lower end.
  4. Repeat for the Arc that touches Line B
  5. Repeat the command again, only this time choose Distance and enter a value of Try various lines and arcs in the drawing to see the result.

Negative Tip

If you apply a negative value, e.g. -100 the distance will be projected away from the end of the line or arc.

Keep the file open for the next exercise.

Exercise 26 –Origin, Mid-Point

This command locates the origin (centre) of an arc or circle, the mid-point of a line, the text insertion point, or the midpoint between two other positions. It is very useful.

  1. Continue with the 10mm circle from the previous exercise, only this time use the above command to locate
  2. The mid-point along Line B
  3. The centre of Arc K
  4. The mid-point between vertex points H and G
  5. The insertion point of the Text ‘Pick Me’
  6. The mid-point between corner L and corner M

Keep the file open for the next exercise.

Exercise 27 –Offset Point

This next command is also a great time saver. It locates a position at the intersection of two offset lines without having to insert the offset lines.

There are many applications for this command.

  1. Reselect the same Circle Command from the previous exercises and set the radius to 20.
  2. Now select the Locate Offset Point Set the values as shown and click OK

  3. Check the Prompt. Select Arc ‘O’ and then line ‘N’, then move your cursor. As you do you will see an offset entity from each of the entities you selected and, depending on whether your cursor is to the left or the right, you will see the insertion point change to the left or right.
  4. Left Click when ready and the circle will be inserted at the active intersection position. The final mouse click does not have to be near the intersection point itself.


There are four possible offsets positions for most selections. A dynamic display shows the active intersection point as the mouse is moved around.

  1. Now use the command again only this time untick the ‘Fix Distance 2’ option and follow the prompt.

Keep the file open for the next exercise.

Exercise 28 –Reference Point

This is the last location command we’ll use at this time. It’s designed to locate a position relative to another position in your drawing.

It uses either the Cartesian or Cylindrical coordinate system in the same way as the coordinates system you’ve already used earlier in this course, except that you get to pick the point to measure from.

  1. Reselect the same circle command we’ve been using and set the radius to 15, Enter 
  2. Select the ‘Locate a Reference point’ command and pick the end of the line and arc at ‘I’.
  3. Set the values as shown and press Enter.

Your circle should now be placed 30mm to the right in the X direction and 40mm up in the Y direction.

  1. Select File, Save-as and save the completed file as My Position Location Training