Using Relationships as You Draw - SmartSketch - Help

SmartSketch Help

Engineering and Schematics

You can use relationships to capture and remember your design intent as your sketch. You can make your drawings associative by applying those relationships—or you can sketch designs that do not use relationships.

How Relationships Affect a Drawing

You can move and change an element that does not use relationships in various ways without affecting other parts of the design. For example, when no relationships exist between two lines, you can move and change each line without affecting the other.

When you modify a part of a drawing that has a relationship to another part of the drawing, the other part updates automatically. For example, if you apply a perpendicular relationship between the two lines and move one line, the other line moves with it. The software remembers the relationship between these two elements and always maintains the perpendicular relationship between the lines. You can manipulate either of the two lines and the software will move or modify the line automatically to maintain the relationship.

Applying and maintaining relationships in the design simplifies changes to the design later. In the following drawing, all the relationships were automatically established as the design took shape on the drawing sheet. If you want to change the design, you simply modify one segment of it and all the relationships are maintained.

Applying and Maintaining Relationships in SmartSketch

You can place elements that are related to each other as you draw. First, you must set Maintain Relationships on the Relationship toolbar.

You can also set Maintain Relationships using the Tools menu.

Then, as you click commands on the Draw toolbar and place lines, arcs, and circles, you should watch the relationship indicators that appear by the pointer. When a relationship indicator appears by the pointer, you can click to apply that relationship to the element that you are drawing.

Visualizing Maintained Relationships

When you apply relationships, relationship handles appear on the related elements. The handles are symbols that show how elements are related. You can display or hide the relationship handles in your drawings by setting or clearing Relationship Handles on the Tools menu.


Relationship Handle











For example, the following four lines appear with relationship handles (A) turned off and with relationship handles (B) displayed.

Applying Relationships to Existing Geometry

You can apply relationships to geometry after you place it with the buttons on the Change or Relationship toolbar, depending on the application that you are using. These buttons include parallel, tangent, connect, and so on. You can use relationships created with these buttons if you set Maintain Relationships on the Change or Relationship toolbar.

Removing Relationships

You can quit using all the relationships that you have applied to the drawing if you clear Maintain Relationships. You can also remove individual relationships by selecting a relationship handle and deleting it. Clearing Relationship Handles on the Tools menu hides the handles, but the relationships are still maintained and used in the design.

When to Maintain Relationships

Maintaining relationships makes designing more productive and revisions much easier. However, relationships can slow drawing and changes on large data sets. You should decide whether to use relationships depending on the speed of your computer and the importance of easy revision.

For conceptual sketching and diagrams, you might want to use relationships by setting Maintain Relationships. This method allows you to quickly get your ideas on paper and revise them easily using direct modification and driving dimensions. The kinds of projects in which you might want to use relationships include mechanical concepts, architectural details, layouts, and schematic diagrams.

When to Design Without Relationships

For more complex projects where you initially need to draw with precision, you should not use relationships in the document. You can then draw with precision by using the PinPoint tool and entering values on ribbons. You can still use relationships within symbols. The kinds of projects in which you might want to draw without relationships include multiple-view drawings, floor plans, maps, and detailed designs.

If you switch between using relationships and not using them while you draw, you can receive confusing results.

See Also

Draw with Relationships
Maintain Relationships
Draw a Line Connected to Another Line