Tip of the Week #46 - Ortho Snap Modes

By Matt McLean posted 06-25-2018 09:27


Happy Monday fellow TBC’ers! If you’re reading this on a different day of the week, happy (insert that day here)! This week’s Tip of the Week will be investigating “Ortho Snap Modes”. Ortho Snap Modes enable you to draw polylines horizontal and vertical with respect to grid coordinates, and easily draw polylines orthogonal to other polylines. To select these options, left click the Snap button on the bottom right side of the TBC window in the Status Bar.



Select the second tab, Ortho Snaps.

The default mode is Off, this enables the curser to move freely in any direction and is not locked to any axis. The “Snap Mode Description” section gives information about each of the options, these are what I will go through.

The second mode, Ortho, restricts the curser to horizontal and vertical positions. It is a huge time saver when doing edits to plan templates or drawing geometric features; given those features are aligned horizontally/vertically (read on for working with features not aligned horizontally/vertically). There are two other ways to toggle Ortho mode. The first, by left clicking “Toggle ortho snap mode” in the Status Bar.


This button, represented by a right angle, is displayed highlighted blue when Ortho mode is active, and grey as above when Ortho Snap Modes is Off.

And the second, by holding down Shift on the keyboard. In fact, while holding the shift key the “Toggle ortho snap mode” button turns blue to indicate that Ortho mode is active. Give it a try now! Neat hey?

With Ortho mode turned on, either by selecting it in the Ortho Snap Modes menu or by holding the Shift Key while drawing polylines, the curser can be snapped to other lines to set the endpoint of the line being drawn to align with the snapped vertices. This can be done with any feature you can snap to.

The two horizontal lines are now the same length and the left sides line up vertically.

The third option in “Ortho Snap Modes” is Ortho Tracking. This option locks the cursor to the horizontal/vertical axis when the cursor approaches the axis without the need to use the Shift Key. If working with non-horizontal/non-vertical features, this mode will also lock orthogonally from a previously drawn line segment.

The X drawn through the cursor indicates that the position is currently locked to an alignment, removing any guesswork as to if it is currently locked. With Ortho Tracking enabled, geometric features can be drawn giving the ability to quickly and easily draft unmeasured corners on geometric objects.

When Ortho Tracking mode is selected, holding the shift key returns TBC to Ortho mode, to ensure you can easily snap line lengths when drawing polylines.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks’ Tip of the Week!

TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.



10-14-2019 18:38

I would like to see when creating a poly line, the ability to enter a distance in the ortho drag direction. Similar to autocad. 


10-14-2019 07:47

What I do find is that the Ortho snap modes only work in a 2D view e.g. plan or cutting view.


What would be nice is if they worked in Depth planes view


This would then allow lines to be drawn ortho snapped to horizontal or vertical in line along the depth plane


Ortho linework could be drawn directly onto depth plane



See here for more detail:


Can we have Ortho Snaps on Depth planes? AKA Drawing an ortho vertical opening rectangle in 3D. It seems like a simple task, but what's the simplest solution? 

10-14-2019 06:08

It's here: click on snaps lower right corner you get this. second tab. Press shift as matt says, to toggle between the two types of ortho snap.


10-14-2019 05:20

Nice one, but how to access that 3rd option Ortho-Tracking?
Seems like I can only toggle between Ortho off and Ortho (standard, fixed to grid), but the Ortho-Tracking is not accessible... or is there a hidden magic button...?

07-10-2018 07:35

Thank you for the tip suggestion! I'll add it to my list for future tip of the weeks.

06-27-2018 22:25

we want similar Tips for Object snap also

06-27-2018 22:25

This tip is very good and use full