FROM: The Forgotten OSNAP

wedding To say it’s been an memorable few weeks would be an understatement. The last time I posted it was to say I was signing off to get married. Well I’m incredibly happy to say the wedding went off incredibly well, and despite a brief appearance from then tropical storm Alex, the honeymoon was equally wonderful. I haven’t quite made it back to the “real world” yet, as I’m enjoying the Outer Banks of North Carolina this week. Still I wanted to take a quick break from my sun drenched vacation to say hello to all of you, and offer up a very quick, but very useful (in my opinion) tip.

Object Snaps inside AutoCAD let us accurately place objects based upon some sort of geometric parameters. We all know INTersection, ENDpoint, and the like, but what about some of the lesser known osnap’s like FROM?

While I am a huge fan of Object Snap Tracking and Point Filters, sometimes I just don’t need the advanced functionality those tools provide. All I need to do is quickly draw/position something relative to something already in my drawing. Enter the FROM osnap.

Take this very simple example from my book AutoCAD 2011 and AutoCAD 2011: No Experience Required. Here I need to position the water closet 25 mm off the wall, and 127 mm from the lower wall. Instead of wasting time drawing and then erasing construction lines, I’ll use the FROM object snap.

  1. Using the RECTANG command, I’ll enter FROM when prompted to “Specify first corner point”.
  2. The prompt will then change to “Base Point” where I will proceed to pick the lower left inside corner of the bathroom.
  3. Next you’ll be prompted for the offset. To begin drawing my water closet 25 mm off the vertical wall, and 127 mm above the vertical wall I’ll enter @25, 127.
  4. The RECTANG command begins with the lower left corner positioned exactly 25 mm away from the vertical wall, and 127 mm from the horizontal wall.
  5. From here, I can continue drawing the tank and bowl for my water closet.
Donnie Gladfelter
Donnie Gladfelter

Donnie is author of the book and Autodesk Official Press, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required, a columnist for AUGIWorld Magazine, Autodesk University speaker, and former member of the AUGI Board of Directors.


  1. Indeed, I think “other users who don't use OSNAP's” ranks #1 as all-time AutoCAD pet peeves. Thanks for ordering AutoCAD No Experience Required. I do hope it helps your new employee (intern) get up to speed for you guys.

  2. Grinds my gears every time I get a drawing where the original “drafter” doesn't use osnaps. I like the delayed osnap capabilities is “tangent” and “perpendicular”.

    Hey, I just got my copy of “No Experience Required.” NICE job!

    We have an intern, just out of year 1 in mechanical (parts) engineering, that hasn't had any cad training yet. Your book will be a massive help.

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