Tips & Tricks

Measure Distance Quickly With Tentative Point Snaps.

Did you know that you can use tentative point snaps to quickly measure distances between elements in your design files?


You’re probably thinking, “Why don’t you just use the ‘Measure Distance’ tool?” You certainly could, but that also means you couldn’t have another tool active. See, when you’re using tentative point snaps to measure, you can also have another tool active. For example: You can choose the “Place Line” tool, then immediately use your tentative point snaps to measure a distance, then place a line without having to select the “Place Line” tool again. Whereas if you were using the “Measure Distance” tool you would have to switch between each tool. The whole process would be less fluid.

Here’s an example of how you could do this:
1. Go to Utilities | Key-in.
2. In the Key-in box’s text entry field, enter “set tpmode distance” (without the quotation marks).

Key-in Box 2

Figure 1. The Key-in box is a great way to make your life easier. Using it to set the Tentative Point Snap Mode is a snap. (See what I did there?) 

3. Press {Enter} on your keyboard to execute the command.

TP Mode cropp

Figure 2. MicroStation’s Message Center keeps you up on the latest, showing you that the new Tentative Point Mode has been set. 

4. Now tentative point snap on an element to define a point of reference for entry of your next data point.

First Snap

Figure 3. The next step is to simply enter your first tentative snap. If you are learning this tip for the first time, your life is about to get a lot less frustrating.

You may recall that in your default tentative mode (LOCATE), you would see an absolute coordinate reported in the Message Center. When in DISTANCE mode, we aren’t looking to find out where this point is, rather we are looking to find the distance from this point on an element relative to another point on that or another element. So Message Center will only show that a point has been snapped.


5. Finally, tentative point snap a different location on that or another element.

Second Snap


Figure 4. Getting the distance measurement is as easy as entering a second tentative point snap. Pretty cool, eh?

Now you can see the fruits of your labor!


Figure 5. Message Center shows the distance between the elements just like the “Measure Distance” tool, without the extra hassle!

Message Center will display the distance between the two tentative snaps you’ve placed!


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