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I have a lot of tight dimensions and just want to turn the text within the dimension by 90° as seen in attached jpg. 

(1'-9 1/2" dimension shown is not a solution but a very slow workaround)

It seems like this should be somewhere within VW...? Am I missing something?

tight dimensions 2.jpg

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I've often wondered about that too. One may do what you want if the Dimension is 90º but not if it's 180º/0º. You should start a Wishlist thread, to allow for CUSTOM in the Alignment of a Dimension line. I would hope this could also be a Custom Dimension so one could use the Magic wand tool to change these Dimensions quickly. I think at present the only way to alter this would be to Ungroup the Dimension to change it to its constituent parts, Group it & manually rotate the Dimension's text. If I were to do this I would add something like a leading zero as a reminder that this is no longer a real dimension.

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Unfortunately, if I move a framing member (or 10) I'm looking at lots of time changing dims. 
Thanks, I'll add this to wishlist.

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Yeah, what I generally do in cases like this is exactly what you show with 1'-0 1/2" & offset the one dimension from the rest of the chain. You could switch to Metric and save some drawing real estate....



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