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A Guide To Advance Steel Dimensions

The parametric dimensioning tools in Advance Steel are incredibly effective, handling different scales and clipped (shortened) views without the user even thinking about it. Unfortunately, the trade off for this functionality seems to be that certain dimension commands are a bit more fiddly to use than the plain AutoCAD equivalents. This seems to particularly affect the Arc Length, Angle and Radius dimensions. The prompts can be quite confusing, but with the right input each dimension type will work correctly. I will show you the correct sequence for picking points with each type of dimension.

If you are dimensioning a curved CHS or something similar, things are complicated by the way Advance Steel draws these - it uses a series of straight lines instead of a proper curve. Consequently, you cannot locate the centre of the curve, and must use the 3 Point version of the command instead.

Selection Sequence for Angle Dimensions

advance steel dimensions 11 - Apex of angle

2 - End of reference line

3 - Dimension line

4 - End point


Selection Sequence for Arc Length Dimension

advance steel dimensions 2If curve is drawn as a proper arc:

1 - Centre of curve

2 - Start point and radius

3 - Dimension line

4 - End point

advance steel dimensions 3If the curve is drawn as faceted with straight lines (as with CHS), enter '3P' after choosing the view and then follow this sequence:

1a - Start point and first point on circle to compute centre

1b & c  - Points on circle to compute centre

2 - Dimension line

3 - End point

Selection Sequence for Radius Dimension

advance steel dimensions 4If curve is drawn as a proper arc:

1 - Centre of curve (can use centre snap)

2 - Anywhere on curve to measure

3 - Dimension line placement


advance steel dimensions 5If the curve is drawn faceted with straight lines (as with CHS), enter '3P' after choosing the view and then follow this sequence:

1 a, b, c - Any three points on the curve to measure

2 - Dimension line placement


Despite appearances at the prompt, it should be noted that you cannot create a diameter dimension. If you want to dimension the diameter of a circle you simply use the linear dimension across the quadrant points. For diameters of holes use a label with the token “Bolt Diameter” – when pointing at a hole this gives the hole diameter. If you are pointing at a bolt then use the token “Hole Diameter”.

As always try to use the “Preferred for Manual Dimensions” osnap whenever possible. However, many of the points selected above do not allow this osnap, so you can use any osnap you wish for them.

Advance Steel is now part of the Autodesk AEC Collection, alongside other great products like Revit, AutoCAD and Civil 3D. If you have any enquiries, please send us a message now:

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