Standard Dimension

Now reading version 1.0. For the latest, read: Standard Dimension for version 4

This documentation page references Altium NEXUS/NEXUS Client (part of the deployed NEXUS solution), which has been discontinued. All your PCB design, data management and collaboration needs can now be delivered by Altium Designer and a connected Altium 365 Workspace. Check out the FAQs page for more information.


Parent page: PCB Objects

 A placed Standard Dimension A placed Standard Dimension


A Standard Dimension is a group design object. It places dimensioning information on the current PCB layer. The dimension value is the distance between the start and end markers measured in the default units.


Standard dimension objects are available for placement in the PCB editor only. Use one of the following methods to access a placement command:

  • Choose Place » Dimension » Standard from the main menus.
  • Click the Standard Dimension button () in the drop-down on the Active Bar located at the top of the workspace. (Click and hold an Active Bar button to access other related commands. Once a command has been used, it will become the topmost item on that section of the Active Bar).
  • Click the  button on the Dimension drop-down () of the Utilities toolbar.
  • Click the  button on the Utility Tools drop-down () of the Utilities toolbar.​
  • Right-click in the workspace then choose the Place » Dimension » Standard command from the context menu.


After launching the command, the cursor will change to a cross-hair and you will enter dimension placement mode. Placement is made by performing the following sequence of actions:

  1. Position the cursor then click or press Enter to anchor the dimension start point.
  2. Move the cursor to the required end point, then click or press Enter to anchor the point and complete placement.
  3. Continue placing further standard dimensions or right-click or press Esc to exit placement mode.

Additional actions that can be performed during placement are:

  • Press the Tab key to pause the placement and access the Dimension mode of the Properties panel from where its properties can be changed on-the-fly. Click the workspace pause button overlay ( ) to resume placement.
  • Press the L key to flip the dimension to the other side of the board – note that this is only possible prior to anchoring the dimension's start point.
  • Press the + and - keys (on the numeric keypad) to cycle forward and backward through all visible layers in the design to change placement layer quickly.
  • Press the Tab key to access an associated properties dialog, from where properties for the dimension can be changed on-the-fly.

While attributes can be modified during placement (Tab to access the Properties panel), keep in mind that these will become the default settings for further placement unless the Permanent option on the PCB Editor – Defaults page of the Preferences dialog is enabled. When this option is enabled, changes made will affect only the object being placed and subsequent objects placed during the same placement session.

Graphical Editing

This method of editing allows you to select a placed Standard dimension object directly in the workspace and change its location, orientation and position of its start and end points.

When an Standard dimension object is selected, the following editing handles are available:

 A selected Standard Dimension A selected Standard Dimension

  • Click & drag A to move the start point of the dimension.
  • Click & drag B to move the end point of the dimension.

The dimension value automatically updates as you move the start or end points.

  • Click anywhere on the dimension away from editing handles and drag to reposition it. While dragging, the standard dimension can be rotated or mirrored:
    • Press the Spacebar to rotate the Standard dimension counterclockwise or Shift+Spacebar for clockwise rotation. Rotation is in accordance with the value for the Rotation Step defined on the PCB Editor – General page of the Preferences dialog.
    • Press the X or Y keys to mirror the Standard dimension along the X-axis or Y-axis.
If attempting to graphically modify an object that has its Locked property enabled, a dialog will appear asking for confirmation to proceed with the edit. If the Protect Locked Objects option is enabled on the  PCB Editor – General  page of the Preferences dialog, and the Locked option for that design object is enabled as well, then that object cannot be selected or graphically edited. Click the locked object to select it then disable the Locked property in the List panel or disable the Protect Locked Objects option to graphically edit the object.

Non-Graphical Editing

The following methods of non-graphical editing are available:

Via the Properties Panel

Properties page: Standard Dimension Properties

The properties of a Standard Dimension can be edited in the PCB editor's Properties panel, which allows editing of all item(s) currently selected in the workspace.

During placement, the panel can be accessed by pressing the Tab key.

To access the properties of a placed Standard Dimension:

  • Double-click on the Standard Dimension.
  • Right-click on the Standard Dimension then select Properties from the context menu.
  • If the Properties panel is already active, click once on the Standard Dimension to select it.

Editing Multiple objects

The Properties panel supports editing multiple objects, where the property settings that are identical in all currently selected objects may be modified. When multiples of the same object type are selected manually, via the Find Similar Objects dialog or through a Filter or List panel, a Properties panel field entry that is not shown as an asterisk (*) may be edited for all selected objects.

Via the PCB List Panel

Panel page: PCB List, PCB Filter

The PCB List panel allows you to display design objects from one or more documents in tabular format, enabling quick inspection and modification of object attributes. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering - by using the PCB Filter panel, or the Find Similar Objects dialog - it enables the display of just those objects falling under the scope of the active filter – allowing you to target and edit multiple design objects with greater accuracy and efficiency.


  1. Standard dimensions are group objects consisting of text and track segments. They can be converted to their set of primitive objects by choosing Tools » Convert » Explode Dimension to Free Primitives from the main menus. Once exploded, a dimension object can no longer be manipulated as a group object.
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