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Point relative broken?
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* August 15, 2019, 02:23:39 AM
V27 point relative simply does not work.  DesignCAD is barely usable now, and I paid for an upgrade to get this.  Sheesh.  Any ideas, folks?  I virtually only use it with the "From reference point" selected and "Reference point" checked. 

I am really, really struggling to get any responses from Tech support.  I've been asking for a solution for nearly a month. 



August 15, 2019, 05:15:50 AM
It seems to work OK for me. Have you applied the patches?


August 20, 2019, 08:01:48 AM
In what way does it seem to be broken? I haven't noticed any (new) problems with it.
Are you entering your dx, dy, etc. as decimal values or feet-and-fractional-inches? Remember, DesignCAD has never handled fractional feet-and-inches inputs well -- you have to do the fractional math yourself or be very careful how you enter it in the fields.
If you are using Reference Point, remember you have to click the reference point for *every point you set*.
Also, if you're using Move or Duplicate with 'Reference Point' checked *and* 'From Reference Point' in Point Relative, you have to set the reference point twice in succession -- the first reference point is basically a temporary Move/Duplicate handle, and the second reference point is where the Point Relative command will offset from. This lets you set up some interesting offsets, but often it may be overkill.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 08:08:26 AM by DrollTroll »

25 years with DesignCAD

August 20, 2019, 01:43:12 PM

Having no problems with point-relative over here as yet.

There are so many ways to do things, it is sometimes hard to find those errors.

User since Pro-design

* August 20, 2019, 07:01:08 PM
EDIT: After further review, it appears that the bug discussed here can be avoided by simply unchecking "Enable Sticky Handles" at Menu/Options/Options/General. The bug arises when executing a Move or Duplicate command when a selected entity has a single sticky handle. The bug appears to be unrelated to the "Point Relative" command. 8/28/2019

V27 point relative simply does not work.  I virtually only use it with the "From reference point" selected and "Reference point" checked. 

Hi Don,

As far as I can tell, the native Move and Duplicate commands have never worked reliably well with the Point Relative command, at least not in "from reference point" mode .

To verify, I tested your issue in versions 15,17, and 28, and got the same errors in all 3. Under some conditions, DC seems to  ignore the original reference point and defer to a recent handle, wherever it may be. One of those "conditions" seems to occur  when a numbered handle is visible in the selection.

I was unaware of or had forgotten this problem in the native commands, because I have always used macros to perform Moves and Duplications.

You can download the S, N, and M macros (select, duplicate, move) here in a single zip file:

On my own systems I have reassigned the keyboard S, N, and M keys to activate the macros. The M and N macros are strictly From-Reference-Point move and duplicate. If I ever need to use a handle explicitly, I can always use the menu command, but that happens maybe once every few years, and never in 2D mode.

The N and M macros work well with the Point Relative Command.

When doing a Move using Point Relative with "Reference point" checked, remember that after you click "OK" or press "Enter" you need to manually set a NEW Reference point (and then hit enter again if using the M or N macro). Otherwise the move will fail, because the virtual "from reference point" in the Move command (or M macro) is not necessarily the same as the "reference point" in the Point Relative command.


PS:  The macros work by setting and using temporary handles in the background to allow the look and feel of of Reference Point Move and Duplicate while avoiding their inherent problems. They also allow a quick 4-point reference point move, as if 2 handles and two target points had been set (Not to be confused with the nonsensical 4-point move in the edit menu of the windows versions.) The macros also fixed the 180-degree-rotation bug that existed in all versions prior to v18.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2019, 03:01:53 PM by bdeck »


August 20, 2019, 09:44:58 PM
To me this whole conversation is strange! I have never had a problem with using the Point Relative function, either for setting points or making relative moves or duplication. In any version of DesignCAD.

My guess for an explanation is that the command works in a way that "makes sense" to me. I guess that I have just understood the way it works from the beginning and have never given it a second thought.

However, not all DesignCAD functions make sense to me. I have harangued many times about the silly way nested groups work. It makes no sense to me so nested groups are totally worthless - to me - and I go to great lengths to purge any hint of them from my drawings. But others seem to accept they way they work as meaningful or "natural."

So my point is this - we each view the operation of the program differently, so some things make sense and others do not. For those things that make no sense we have several choices. We can study them and try to understand different ways to accomplish the same goal. Maybe this will bring enlightenment as to how they work. Failing that we can just refuse to use the functions that are senseless. Or we can do as others have done and try to create macros that "fix" the nonsensical parts of the functions.

But just because a function doesn't work the way we think it should doesn't mean that it does not make sense to someone else.


DesignCAD user since 1987

* August 22, 2019, 02:22:17 AM
... just because a function doesn't work the way we think it should doesn't mean that it does not make sense to someone else.

Hi Phil;

When a Move (from reference point) results in a move to the wrong location, that is a bug.

The original poster in this thread seems to have a valid complaint.

It is difficult to know without more study whether the present bug involves any commands other than Move and Duplicate.

But it seems clear that Move and Duplicate (from reference point) will generally fail whenever the selection has a visible zero handle. The placement error seems to involve some interaction among the reference point, the zero handle, the grab handle, and the target point. And the error occurs regardless of whether Gravity or some other point command is used to set the target point.

I wrote the NMS macros 15 years ago because DC had botched the transition from DOS to Windows so badly that the program was crippled without the macros, except for those users willing to waste time cluttering their screens with unnecessary selection handles. The macros simulate Move and Duplicate (from reference point) without the bug described here.

However, until this bug is eliminated, a command to remove selection handles could help users avoid the bug when executing Move and Duplicate from the edit menu or from a keyboard shortcut.It would be helpful in basiccad as well, in order to unclutter the screen and make point select mode more user friendly.  A macro using "Change Ent_Nhandles, 0" appears to work to perform this task.  Perhaps that line should be added to the NMS macros as well.
The attached image shows a few examples of Move (from reference point) errors.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 05:01:17 AM by bdeck »


August 22, 2019, 07:28:11 AM
I still think these commands all work exactly as advertised, if used correctly.

I have not been able to get it to fail here using V27.

Can you provide a full sequence of steps where it fails?

Using move or copy with the reference point option, and then using point relative with the reference point option at the same time can be confusing, so I don't normally do that.  Effectively you are using an invisible reference point as the handle for the object.

Set the object handle - which does NOT need to be on the object itself, start move command (by clicking or Ctrl-click the handle), then set destination point for the handle by point-relative whatever option suits.

User since Pro-design

* August 22, 2019, 09:28:52 AM
Can you provide a full sequence of steps where it fails?

IN 2D mode (See image in prior post)

1 create 10 x 10 square
2 select it
3 set a selection handle on top left corner (menu/edit/selection edit/set handles, gravity top left corner, enter)
4 gravity snap to bottom right corner of square
  Highlighted box should now have a white "0-handle" at top left corner, and a solid blue "grab handle" at bottom right corner

5 Edit/SelectionEdit/Duplicate(from reference point), gravity top right corner to set reference point, use any other method to set target point.

Top right corner of a new square should be at target point.
Instead, it is  displaced (10,-10)  from the chosen destination (the relative distance from the 0-handle to the grab handle).

If the N macro is used to perform the duplication, no error occurs.

Alternatively, one could delete the "0" handle prior to moving, but that would require another macro. 

Use the N macro.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 09:54:07 AM by bdeck »


August 22, 2019, 09:40:28 AM

Thanks for defining the sequence.

For me Point Relative with the "Reference Point" option selected ALWAYS moves the selection point on the object the specified distance from the reference point that I place at the end of the command - the first time.

However, if you have an object with an assigned handle (0) and you grab it at another place, the first move/copy will be moved relative to the grab handle, but the second and subsequent moves/copies will move relative to the (0) handle. I reported this bug 10-20 years ago.

Because of this bug I never repeat a Duplicate (N) operation, but always deselect the object, reselect and do another Duplicate command. This habit is ingrained in my use of the program and may be why I get different results from what others see.


Having said that, I probably have never used the Move (M) and Duplicate (N) functions with the "From Reference Point" option selected. This is another probable reason I get different results. I have experimented a bit and things really are confusing when "From Reference Point" is selected in the Move/Duplicate commands and Point Relative.

With "From Reference Point" selected in both the Move/Duplicate function and the "Point Relative" function there are three reference points (two for the Move/Duplicate and one for Point Relative)! Obviously, this is asking for trouble! The first time I try this only two points are required and the move works just as without the "From Reference Point" selected in the Duplicate command. The second sequential duplication requires all three reference points and places the object in a different place. This seems to be the same as the problem I described above.


I do not understand what logical sequence should occur with respect to the object's (0) point, the grab point and the Point Relative reference point.

According to the Reference Manual for Move/Duplicate (with From Reference Point selected) you set a reference point relative to the "original" (original what? - grab point or (0) handle??) and then a second reference point "relative to the desired location" for the duplicate. Neither reference point has to be on the object being moved/duplicated.

For Point Relative with the "From Reference Point" option selected the object's handle is moved the relative offset from the reference point that you set to execute the command. This reference point can be anywhere

I have not been able to sort out the sequence of events when both functions have the "From Reference Point" selected. There are several possibilities:

1. The first reference point is for the Point Relative and the second (and third) are for the Move/Duplicate. This would just offset the Move/Duplicate operation by the amount defined in Point Relative.

2. The first and second reference points would be for the Move/Duplicate, and the third reference point would then translate the results of the Move/Duplicate reference points by the amount defined in the Point Relative function from the last reference point set in the Move/Duplicate operation.

3. The first reference point would apply to the Move/Duplicate function to set a point relative to the object to be moved/duplicated. The second reference point would be for the Point Relative function to translate the first reference point for Move/Duplicate by the offset defined in the Point Relative function. Then the third reference point would define the position for the Move?Duplicate function relative to the offset first Move/Duplicate reference point. This is pretty weird and I suspect it isn't the actual sequence - but who knows?

But if you select an object and perform multiple Move/Duplications the first would use the grab point for the Point relative function, and the second and subsequent Move/Duplications would use the object's (0) handle for the Point Relative offset. So there are actually six possible ways a referenced-referenced operation might occur.

Clear as mud - right?

Obviously, with so many possible areas of confusion the "From reference Point" option should not be used with Move/Duplicate and Point Relative until a definite sequence is defined.


The worst problem I have had with Point Relative was the description of the command in the Reference Manual. There is no explanation of the Reference Point option. I learned how it works from someone's post on the Forum.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 09:45:28 AM by Dr PR »

DesignCAD user since 1987

* August 22, 2019, 11:45:55 AM
Not sure if this helps but here are scanned instructions from a V17 manual???


* August 22, 2019, 12:22:36 PM
Hi Dr Pr, kchoekstra

The Point Relative command merely sets a new point a specified distance from a specified point. The specified point is either the Last Point currently set, the Last Cursor Position, the Origin, or a Reference Point to be set after closing the Point Select dialog.

The new point is typically used by the command which was active when Point Relative was called.

The Point Relative Command does not appear to have anything to do with the bug described here. The Move and Duplicate commands fail under the described conditions no matter what method is used to set the target point.

I do not understand what logical sequence should occur with respect to the object's (0) point, the grab point and the Point Relative reference point.

Point Relative should never know anything about the O handle or the grab handle. Neither should Move or Duplicate when "From Reference Point" is checked.


« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 12:40:48 PM by bdeck »


August 22, 2019, 12:40:02 PM

I misunderstood the problem. The early posts connected the Move/Duplicate problem to the Point Relative command, and I have been trying to figure out how the two functions were interacting.

I see what you are talking about. If you create an object without setting a new Handle (0), when you gravity snap to the object to select it and then Move/Duplicate (without From Reference Point enabled) it the object drags by the gravity snap drag handle.

But if you set a handle (0) on the object, when you Move/Duplicate it the new (0) handle is used to drag it.


Actually, this is exactly the way I think it should work, but unfortunately it doesn't always work this way. The whole point of setting user defined handles (1 to 3) is to assign a property to the object that is to be used for subsequent operations with the object. So it should Move/Duplicate using the user-defined handles.

It has to work this way, otherwise the user-defined handles would be worthless. Consider using multiple handles to move an object with handle (0) being the drag point and handles (1) and (2) being used to set the orientation of the object. This can only work if the user-defined points are used for the Move/Duplicate.

But if no user-defined handle exists the program defaults to the grab handle created when the object is selected. Of course, the grab handle may not actually be on or even near the object. If you drag a selection box around an object the new selection handle will be at the center of the drag box, and that may be far outside the selected object.

The problem I have is that the user-defined handles are not always used. For example, I often would like to assign a rotation point for an object. This would be the user-defined (0) handle. However, DesignCAD rotation commands ignore the (0) handle and rotate around the selection drag handle. To me this is bass-ackwards!


Now add the "From Reference Point" option in the Move/Duplicate functions. What is this supposed to accomplish?

On my machine, if I repeat the Duplicate (From Reference Point) operations on a selected object, the copy works the same for repeated copies if there are no user-defined handles, working from the selection drag handle.

But I see a different result if the object has a user-defined handle. The object drags using the selection drag handle, but when I click to place the object the user-defined (0) handle jumps to the drag handle position.

I would agree that this behavior is a bug! The user-defined handle should be used for the drag and placement of the object. But it is the display of the drag using the grab handle that is incorrect.

The user-defined (0) handle is moved to the correct position relative to the second reference point.


Do you see the peculiar behavior of Point Relative that I described - where repeated Move/Duplicate operations on a selected object first moves the object relative to the grab handle and after that all subsequent Move/Duplicate operations work relative to the (0) handle?

NOTE: The object must remain selected for repeated Move/Duplicate operations.

This means that multiple operations on any selected object will yield different results between the first and second times Point Relative is used

« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 01:25:13 PM by Dr PR »

DesignCAD user since 1987

* August 22, 2019, 01:17:10 PM
Hi phil,
Is this correct?

If not, what is it doing?
Regardless of which methods (gravity, point relative, point xyz, etc) are used to set the first and second points of a Move or Duplicate (using "From Reference Point") the placement error always seems to be the distance between the 0-handle and the grab handle.

What should it be doing?
When "From Reference Point" is selected, Move and Duplicate should completely ignore any handles.

Do you see the peculiar behavior of Point Relative that I described - where repeated Move/Duplicate operations on a selected object first moves the object relative to the grab handle and after that all subsequent Move/Duplicate operations work relative to the (0) handle?
I once thought I did. But by doing sequential moves using gravity to snap to two ends of a fixed horizontal line, i saw that the error appears to be constant.



August 22, 2019, 01:30:02 PM

You are too quick! I realized that I had misunderstood the problem and edited my earlier post.

We do seem to disagree about the function of user-defined handles. I think if they are defined they should always be used. Otherwise there is no point in defining them.


DesignCAD user since 1987