Positioning a CAD Block with Accuracy

Reference Number: KB-01031
Last Modified: June 30, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I created a CAD block to represent a J bolt and would like to position it precisely in a foundation detail drawing. I am experiencing difficulty, though, because Object Snaps don't locate the parts of my CAD block that I need to reference. Do you have any suggestions?


Object Snaps, such as Midpoint snaps, aren't able to locate the sub-objects within a CAD block: they're only able to locate snap points along the CAD block's bounding box perimeter (the rectangle around which its edit handles display).  

This can sometimes make it difficult to use tools like Point to Point Move to move a CAD block into position relative to other objects.

We can easily use a temporary CAD Point to create the necessary snap point, and then use the Point to Point Move edit tool tool to reposition the CAD block with accuracy.

To move a CAD block with accuracy

  1. Open the plan in which you would like to accurately reposition a CAD block.  

    • In this example, the CAD block is located in a CAD Detail window, along with a CAD drawing of a foundation detail.  

  2. Make sure that all of your Object Snaps are enabled.  

    • An easy way to do this is to select Edit> Snap Settings from the menu and make sure all of the items in the sub-menu have checkmarks on them.

    • Make sure that the CAD block is located away from other objects so that all of its components can be easily selected.

  3. Select the CAD block and click the Explode CAD Block  edit button. 

  4. Select CAD> Points> Place Point  from the menu, then move your mouse pointer over the part of the exploded CAD block that you would like to use as an insertion point when you move the CAD block.  

    • In this example, the center point of the bottom edge of the washer is used.  

  5. When you see the appropriate Object Snap indicator, click to place a temporary CAD Point at that location.  

    • In this example, watch for the Midpoint  snap indicator.  

  6. Click the Select Objects  button, then hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click and drag a rectangular selection marquee around the exploded CAD block.  

  7. With all of the original component objects of the CAD block selected, click the Make CAD Block  edit button to block them together again.  

  8. With the CAD block still selected, click the Point to Point Move  edit button, then:  

    • Move your mouse pointer over the CAD Point created in step 5, above.  

    • When you see the Points/Markers  snap indicator, click the mouse button once.  

  9. Move your mouse pointer to the new location where you would like to reposition the point within the CAD block associated with the temporary CAD Point.  

    • When you see the appropriate Object Snap indicator, click once to move the CAD block.  

    • In this example, the bottom center of the J bolt washer is aligned with the center of the sill plate's top surface, so another Midpoint  snap indicator is used.  

  10. In this example, we also selected the CAD block and clicked the Move to Front of Group  edit button to make it display in front of other objects.  

  11. Notice that the temporary CAD Point was not included in the CAD block and was not moved with it. You can delete it by selecting CAD> Points> Delete Temporary Points  from the menu.