Altium Designer Documentation

Working with an Ordinate Dimension Object on a Draftsman Document in Altium Designer

Modified by Tiffany Cullen on Apr 10, 2021
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Parent page: Draftsman Objects

A variety of Ordinate Dimensions applied to a Board Assembly View.


The Draftsman Ordinate Dimension is an automated dimensioning object that is composed of multiple linear dimension elements that are relative to a specified reference point. The dimensions in the ordinate set can be placed on the outlines edges or vertices of Draftsman objects in a Board Assembly View (or its Section View), including the board itself.

The visual style of the dimension lines and the configuration of the dimension text can be set in the Properties panel when a placed Ordinate Dimension is selected.


The Ordinate Dimension feature is available when a graphic object, such as a Board Assembly View, has been placed in a Draftsman document. Its placement is accessed from the Draftsman Editor as follows:

  • Choose the Place » Ordinate Dimensions command from the main menus.
  • Click the button in the dimension objects drop-down on the Active Bar located at the top of the design space. 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.
  • Right-click in the drawing design space then select Place » Ordinate Dimensions from the context menu.
  • Click the  entry in the dimensions menu () on the Drawing Annotations toolbar (View » Toolbars » Drawing Annotations to enable).


When the command is launched, the cursor will change to a crosshair, indicating Ordinate Dimension placement mode. As the cursor is hovered over drawing objects, the object edges and vertex points will be highlighted as orange colored lines and dots, respectively.

The Ordinate Dimension placement steps are:

  1. Hover the cursor over the drawing view until the desired (reference) point or object edge is highlighted.
  2. Click to select this as the dimension reference point then move the cursor and click to set the extension position and angle.
  3. Continue selecting points to create the full series of dimensions that are relative to the first placed reference point.

To cancel the placement mode, press Esc or right-click in the design space. Dimensions can be added or removed from the ordinate set after it has been placed – see Graphical Editing below.

► Placement demonstration.

The default settings for the Ordinate Dimension object are available in the Draftsman - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog.

Graphical Editing

When a set of Ordinate Dimensions has been selected in the design space, by clicking on any part of its graphic representation, it can be graphically modified in the following ways:

  • Drag the dimension's lines or text to new location on the same axis. In this editing mode, the set of dimensions behave as one object and can be moved as a single entity.
  • To add a new dimension to the ordinate set, select another highlighted object location on the drawing view.
  • To remove an individual dimension from the ordinate set, click on its node handle.

Select and drag the dimension set to a new position, or add/remove individual dimensions.

If dimensions created in a Draftsman document are snapped to a primitive that is removed from the PCB document, the dimension objects themselves are not removed and will remain greyed-out on the Draftsman document.

Non-Graphical Editing

Properties page: Ordinate Dimension Properties

The non-graphical method of editing a Ordinate Dimension is available in the Draftsman Properties panel, which provides a wide range of editable properties and graphic options.

The Properties panel when an Ordinate Dimension is selected.

To open the Properties panel and access the properties of a placed Ordinate Dimension:

  • Double-click on the Ordinate Dimension object in the design space.
  • Right-click on the Ordinate Dimension then select Item Properties from the context menu.

If the Properties panel is already active:

  • Click on the Ordinate Dimension object to access its properties in the panel.
To manually open the Properties panel, select View » Panels » Properties from the main menu or click the button at the bottom right of the design space then select Properties from the pop-up menu.
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