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Use Polar Tracking and Object Snap Tracking

May 20, 2011

Auto tracking includes polar tracking and object snap tracking. You can turn them on and off by repressing POLAR and OTRACK button on the Status Bar.

When the polar tracking mode is on, the cursor moves along the specified angle. When the object snap tracking is on, the cursor moves along an alignment path based on the snap point.


Polar Tracking

When polar tracking is turned on, guides display on the screen automatically at the polar angle increment that you specify. For example, if you draw a line with polar tracking turned on with angle increment set as 65 degrees , the rubber-banding line displays at 65 degree increments.

Polar tracking and orthogonal locking cannot be used at the same time-turning one option on turns the other option off.

To enable polar tracking and specify the polar angle increment

  1. Do one of the following:

  • Choose Tools > Drafting Setting.

  • On the Object Snap toolbar, click the Object Snap Settings tool.

  • Type settings and then press Enter.

  1. Click the Polar Tracking tab.

  2. Select Polar Tracking On.

  3. Do one of the following to specify the polar angle increments:

  • In Increment, select an angle.

  • Mark the Additional Angles check box and click New to define a custom angle increment.

  1. Click OK.

TIP To toggle polar tracking on and off at any time, click the POLAR button on the status bar or press F10.


To draw objects using polar tracking

  1. Turn on polar tracking and start a drawing command, such as ARC, CIRCLE, or LINE. You can also use polar tracking with editing commands, such as COPY and MOVE.

  2. As you move your cursor to specify points, notice the dotted polar tracking line that appears at the tracking angles you specified. Points you specify while the line is displayed conform to the polar tracking angle.


Specify Polar Angles

You can set a polar increment angle to polar tracking. The default angle includes 90, 45, 30, 22.5, 18, 15, 10 and 5 degrees. You can also type a desired angle at the textbox. The value is stored in the system variable POLARANG. The orientation of angle 0 and the direction of object snap are dependent on your settings in the Drawing Settings dialog box (UNITS).

The following illustration shows the alignment paths displayed as you move your cursor 90 degrees with the polar angle increment set to 30 degrees.

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To set polar tracking angles

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Drafting Settings.

  2. In the Drafting Settings dialog box, on the Polar Tracking tab, select Polar Tracking On.

  3. In the Increment Angle list, select the polar tracking angle.

  4. To set additional tracking angles, select Additional Angles. Then click New and enter the angle value in the text box.

  5. Under Polar Angle Measurement, specify whether polar tracking increments are based on the UCS or relative to the last object you created.

  6. Choose OK.


Specify Polar Distances

AutoSnap restricts cursor movement to increments of a polar distance you specified on the Snap and Grid tab of Draft Settings dialog box. For example, if you specify a length of 6 units, the cursor snaps the length specified to lengths of 0, 6, 12, 18, 24, and so on.

When you move cursor, a tooltip displays the nearest PolarSnap increment. Only when polar tracking and snap mode are on, you can restrict point entry to polar distance.


To set polar snap distance

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Drafting Settings.

  2. In the Drafting Settings dialog box, Snap and Grid tab, select Snap On.

  3. In Snap Type & Style, select PolarSnap.

  4. Under Polar Spacing, enter the polar distance.

  5. Choose the Polar Tracking tab and select Polar Tracking On.

  6. Select the angle from the Increment Angle list. You can specify your own angles by choosing Additional Angles and then New.

  7. Choose OK.


Object Snap Tracking

You must set an object snap and turn the object snap model on before you can track from an existing object's snap point.

Object snap tracking can track along alignment paths that are based on object snap points and display tooltips at the acquired points. After you acquire a point, horizontal, vertical and polar alignment paths relative to the point are displayed when the cursor moves over their drawing path. For example, you can specify a point along a path that is based on an object endpoint or midpoint or an intersection between objects.

In the following picture, the Endpoint object snap is on. You create a line by clicking its start point (1), move the cursor over another line's endpoint (2) to acquire it, and then move the cursor along the horizontal alignment path to locate the endpoint you want for the line you are drawing.

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By default, the object snap tracking is set to Orthogonal. Alignment paths and tooltips are displayed at 0, 90, 180, and 270 degrees from acquired object points. However, you can use polar tracking angles instead on the Polar Tracking tab in the Draft Settings dialog box.

You can also use system variable TRACKPATH to control the display of polar and object snap tracking alignment paths.


Tips for Using Object Snap Tracking

With AutoTrack is on, you may try the following techniques:

  • When you set Perpendicular, Endpoint and Midpoint object snap, and turn on object snap tracking mode, you can easily draw to point perpendicular to the end or midpoint of an object.

  • Object snap tracking works in conjunction with temporary tracking points. At a point prompt, enter tt and specify a temporary tracking point. A small + is displayed at the point. When you move the cursor, the tracking alignment paths are displayed relative to the temporary point. To delete this point, move the cursor back over the +.

  • After acquiring a point, you can specify a point at precise distances along alignment paths from the acquired point.

  • You can use the Automatic and Shift to acquire options set on the Drafting tab of the Options dialog box to manage point acquisition. By default, point acquisition is set to Automatic. When working in close quarters, you can press SHIFT to temporarily avoid acquiring a point.


Commands Reference

APERTURE: Controls the size of the object snap target box

OPTIONS: Customizes the ZWCAD settings

OSNAP: Sets running object snap modes

SETTINGS: Specifies settings for Snap mode, grid, and polar and object snap tracking

SNAP: Restricts cursor movement to specified intervals

System Variables Reference

APBOX: Turns the AutoSnap aperture box on or off

AUTOSNAP: Controls AutoSnap marker, tooltip, and magnet

OSMODE: Sets running Object Snap modes

OSNAPCOORD: Controls whether coordinates entered on the command line override running object snaps

POLARANG: Sets the polar angle increme

POLARDIST: Sets the snap increment when the SNAPSTYL system variable is set to 1 (polar snap)

POLARMODE: Controls settings for polar and object snap tracking

SNAPTYPE: Sets the snap style for the current viewport 

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