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Dan Kessler

offset separate lines

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I want to offset two different lines (line A and line B) the same distance. Sounds easy, but here's my frustration...

If I activate the offset tool and click on line A, the resulting line is selected (I'll call it line A.2 for clarity). Since A.2 is automatically selected, I can't go over to line B to offset it. VW thinks I want to keep offsetting line A.2.

In order to offset line B, I have to go back to the selection tool and click-off somewhere to deselect all, then return to the offset tool to offset line B.

Perhaps I'm missing how to do it, but that seems like a lot of unnecessary clicking just to offset several (different) lines the same distance. If it were possible (perhaps it is, and I don't know it) to offset a line and have the resulting line automatically deselected, my productivity would be much improved.

- Dan

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Hi Dan,You can use the Move command for simple translation (X, Y) or (r, Theta). The Offset tool is better used for making concentric duplicates.

Select all the objects you want to offset, then Option-Click (Mac keyboard) on one of the selected objects to make your duplicates. Option-Clicking on a selection will duplicate that selection in place. Then use the Move command under the Tool menu and type your distance in the dialog box. The Move command shortcut on the Mac is Cmd-M. The appropriate Windows shortcut will be listed on the menu. Ctl-M, I think, I never remember which.

Also, Option-Clicking on an unselected object will duplicate just that object. It takes a little practice since there is no obvious feedback that a duplication has taken place, but it's quick, easy, and fairly intuitive. When in doubt, UNDO.

If you just want to move the original objects, then Cmd-M, & Enter. It remembers the last offset entered.

Another fun shortcut, if you Option-Click on an object and then drag the duplicate into position, then by hitting Cmd-D (duplicate) N times, you will get N more duplicates, each offset the same amount as the first one. This is a quick and dirty Duplicate Array method.

HTH, Raymond

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Raymond,

I appreciate your suggestions, which are great for moving objects. I'm still frustrated, though, for the following two reasons.

First, I'd still have to go through the same tedious process of deselecting all before I could "duplicate move" another object. Objects always seem to stay selected whenever they are transformed, no matter what tool you are using. I'm not saying I prefer to use AutoCAD, but take a look at how their offset tool works. You can click on multiple objects and offset as many times as you want without having to deselect anything.

Secondly, by using move instead of duplicate, I'd have to do the math to know what the exact x and y coordinates should be to simulate a true parallel offset. What if I have a line that is at an unusual angle, like say, 23.15 degrees? If I use the move tool to simulate an offset, how can I be sure that the copied line is truly "delta x" distance from the original, and that both endpoints will be 90 degrees from the original?

I think the offset tool could be improved as follows:

1. Add an option to automatically deselect the resulting objects (or just change it to always do this)2. Add an option to offset an object a specified distance "x" number of times.3. Add an option to offset an object "x" number of times WITHIN a specified distance.

The second and third points are to save a lot of unnecessary clicking and calculations, and it does something the duplicate array tool doesn't really seem to do very well when you have angled lines.

- Dan

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OK Dan, I see what you mean. What you are looking for can, and has been done in VectorScript. Julian Carr has written a suite of tools (more than 40) that enhance the functionality of VW. There are four Offset and Array tools that I believe do what you are looking for. Check out his site at Julian Carr Design, then choose the link to OzCad VW Pro (it's across the top). You can view the manual in PDF to see if it interests you.

HTH, Raymond

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Raymond,

Yes, Julian Carr's plug-ins seem helpful. You may be the wrong person to ask this, but do you know if they work in VW 9.5.3 under Mac OS X? He lists them as only being 9.0.x compatible.

Thanks again for your help!

- Dan

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I hope I am understanding what you intend, but have you tried checking the box for "Multiple Objects" in the offset dialog box?

When this box is checked, you can offset more than one selected object at the same time. The results can be a bit unpredictable though if you are offsetting the objects in different directions.

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Dan,Sorry, I don't know the answer to that. Based on the nature of the offset commands you were inquiring about, I would be surprised if they did not work. The VectorScript required for those functions is not that difficult (basic math functions) and those functions used should work under all environments. As to the rest of the package, I don't know.

Each tool is a separate piece of code, so one could break without affecting the rest, but the odds are they all will work. If there would be any problem, Julian will work with you to fix it. I have dealt with him in the past and you won't find a better person to do business with.

HTH,Raymond

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