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AutoCAD® 2012 FOR DUMMIES® by David Byrnes

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The Big Three: Move, Copy, and Stretch

Moving, copying, and stretching are, for many drafters, the three most common editing operations. AutoCAD obliges this need with the MOVE, COPY, and STRETCH commands.

Base points and displacements

The MOVE, COPY, and STRETCH commands all require that you specify how far and in what direction you want the objects moved, copied, or stretched. After you've started the command and selected the objects to be edited, AutoCAD prompts you for two pieces of information:

Specify base point or [Displacement] <Displacement>:
Specify second point or <use first point as displacement>:

In a not-so-clear way, these prompts say that two possible methods exist for you to specify how far and in what direction you want the objects copied, moved, or stretched:

  • The most common way is to pick or type the coordinates of two points that define a displacement vector. AutoCAD calls these points the base point and the second point. Imagine an arrow pointing from the base point to the second point — that arrow defines how far, and in what direction, the objects get copied, moved, or stretched.
  • The other way is to type an X,Y pair of numbers that represents a distance rather than a point. This distance is the absolute displacement that you want to copy, move, or stretch the objects.

How does AutoCAD know whether your response to the first prompt is a base point or a displacement? It depends on how you respond to the second prompt. (Is that confusing, or what?) First, ...

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