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CCAD's AutoCAD Tutorials

Using the @ Symbol

last pointThe @ symbol can be used to input the "last point" in response to any prompt that requests a point value. When combined with a Cartesian or polar coordinate, the @ symbol produces a point value relative (measured from) the "last point". For example, draw a circle with a radius of 1. Choose the CIRCLE command again. When prompted for the Center point, type @ and press ENTER. Input a radius of 1.5 for the new circle. The new circle is concentric (having the same center) as the previous circle.

Relative Cartesian Coordinates

cartesian coordinatesA Relative Cartesian Coordinate specifies an X and Y displacement or movement from the "last point." The coordinate @2,0 locates a point 2 units along the X axis and 0 units along the Y axis from the "last point." Continuing from the above example, select the LINE command. When prompted for the First point, type @3,3 and press ENTER. The start of the line is placed 3 units to the right and 3 units up from the "last point" (the center of the circles). Now type @-6,0 and press ENTER. The end of the line is placed 6 units to the left (in the negative X direction) and 0 units up or down from the start of the line, the "last point".

negative cartesian coordinates Type @0,-6 and press ENTER and the end of the line will be located 0 units left or right of the "last point" and 6 units below (in the negative Y direction). To complete a square around the two circles, type @6,0 and press ENTER, then right-click and select Close from the menu.

Relative Polar Coordinates

polar coordinatesA Relative Polar Coordinate specifies a distance and direction displacement or movement from the "last point". The coordinate @2<35 locates a point 2 units in the 35° direction from the "last point". To give this a try, select the LINE command. When prompted for a First point:, click a location anywhere in the drawing area. Type @2<45 and press ENTER. The end of the line is placed 2 units up and to the right of the "last point".

polar coordinates
Now type @4<135 and press ENTER.  The end of this line is placed 4 units up and to the left of the "last point".


polar coordinatesNow type @2<225 and ENTER.  This line moves down and to the left from the "last point".

close the box using polar coordinates
Right-click and select Close from the menu.

Using the Object Snap "Snap From" With the @ Symbol

@ symbol with osnapThe @ symbol is limited to specifying a point relative to the "last point" input. Often it is desirable to choose a point relative to an endpoint, center point or other specific point that is not the "last point" input. Fortunately, there is an Object Snap named From that allows you to choose a Base point. For all practical purposes, this Base point becomes the "last point". Try this: Select the LINE command. When prompted for the First point, type From and press ENTER. When prompted for the Base point, type Cen and press ENTER. Choose the center of the circles in the Relative Cartesian example above.

OSnap with at symbol

Type @4,4 and press ENTER. The start of the line is placed 4 units to the right and 4 units up from the base point. The 8 wide by 8 high box can be completed using the procedure described above.

osnap with the at symbol, completed
The From Object Snap can be used any time a point needs to be located a certain distance horizontally and vertically from another point. A typical example task is to place four circles inside a box, one near each corner.  Select the CIRCLE command. When prompted for the Center point, type From and press ENTER.  When prompted for the Base point, type End and press ENTER. Select the lower left corner of the inner box. Type @64;0.625,0.5 and ENTER. The point is placed 0.625 units to the right and 1 unit up from the base point. Input a radius of 0.25.  Next a circle will be placed near the upper left corner. Select the CIRCLE command. When prompted for the Center point, type From and press ENTER.  When prompted for the Base point, type End and press ENTER. Select the upper left corner of the inner box.  Type @0.625,-0.5 and press ENTER. The point is placed 0.625 units to the right and 0.5 units down from the base point. Input a radius of 0.25.  Try adding the remaining two circles.

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at symbol with osnap
The From Object Snap can also be used in conjunction with a Relative Polar Coordinate to locate a position a distance and direction from another point. Using the earlier Relative Polar example, select the CIRCLE command. When prompted for the Center point, type From and press ENTER. When prompted for the Base point, type Mid and press ENTER . Select the lower right edge of the angled box. Type @2<135 and press ENTER. The point is placed 2 units up and to the left from the base point. Input a radius of 0.5.

Remember, anytime any command prompts you for a point, you can input the @ symbol to use the "last point", @X,Y to indicate a horizontal and vertical movement from the "last point", or @Dist<Dir to choose a location at a distance and direction from the "last point".