Dimensioning for newbies

I watched Aaron’s video about dimensioning. But one little detail I think he skipped over was how to control the axis the dimension follows. In my case, I want the dimension to follow the red axis, but it seems to prefer the blue. Hmmm…

In my version of Pro (2021) the arrow keys don’t affect the direction the dimension is headed. Sometimes, the direction you drag after clicking on the second point, but not always. Sometimes, my dimensions want to go in the blue direction no matter what I do.

The direction more or less depends on the way you look at the part of your model.
i.e. You probably won’t be able to drag in the blue direction when looking down.
In other words: orbit before dragging.
Also, you can always rotate dimensions afterwards if you want them in a different plane.

SketchUp prefers to draw dimensions in the plane closest to square on from the view direction. Usually you can persuade it to choose another plane by wiggling the mouse around. But it helps to orbit so that you are looking somewhat straight at your preferred plane.

The arrow keys don’t affect direction, maybe they should! I’ll suggest that.

If you mouse away in various directions, the dimension will either lock onto an axis, or will be parallel or perpendicular to the face the edge you are dimensioning is connected to.

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You absolutely should. And for Layout too. The way dimension lines bounce around, sometimes lock onto other dim lines and sometimes don’t, is all far too arbitrary IMHO. I mean, it’s clever in a way, but almost too clever for it’s own good. It seems almost like some tech wizard came up with a way of setting dimension lines deliberately without the need to use much keyboard input and that was felt good enough to over-rule reliability and precision in all circumstances.

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@2davidsbrown, until a “Lock to Arrow keys or some sort” is implemented your best option might be rotating a placed dimension afterwards or (right click a face > context menu) ‘Align Axes’ to the face a particular edge belongs to prior to appying the ‘Dimensions’ tool to that edge.

(‘Align Axes’ temporarily gives you the correct set of axes for that face)

I did make the suggestion, it went down well. Doesn’t mean it will happen! But at least the idea is in there.

Well, at least we know the message has got through!

I know 100% it’s not up to you. But it should happen. Along with a big handful of other things people have pointed out recently. Especially with the new pricing model.