Parallel CAD Parking – Drawing objects at the angle of another object

by Seth Cohen,

The scenario:

You need to place an object parallel to another linear object.  How do you do it in MicroStation and AutoCAD?

MicroStation – In MicroStation the best way to do this is to use AccuDraw.  First, start the command, in this example, let’s say the SmartLine command.  Next, with focus in the AccuDraw window, type RE (ACCUDRAW ROTATE ELEMENT), and hover over the object you want to grab the angle from.  Now with the Rotate AccuDraw by Element command you have a few options as well, you can move the origin of the compass as you hover over objects, and update the current ACS if this is something you need to do.

Activating AccuDraw Rotate Element

Activating AccuDraw Rotate Element

Next, click in the drawing, and the AccuDraw compass will update to the rotation of the object you clicked.  You can then use smart lock (press ENTER with AccuDraw window having focus), to lock in the parallel angle.


SmartLine at Object Angle, Smart Lock Enabled

AutoCAD – In AutoCAD it’s a little simpler, but you don’t have some of the options like you do in MicroStation.  First, you pick the first point of the object that you are creating, then, use the temporary snap override (Shift+ Right-click) to select the Parallel snap, and hover over the objects angle you want to grab.

Temporary Snap Override, Parallel

Temporary Snap Override, Parallel


Parallel OSNAP Activated

Parallel OSNAP Activated

Then, move your mouse in the same direction of the parallel line, and the line will track at the angle of that line.

You have officially been given your first lesson on parallel CAD parking, now you are on your way to passing your CAD driving test.

“Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.”  …………G.I. Joe

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