Illustrator dimensioning tools?

We just upgraded to CS4 and were using CADTOOL 6 for dimensioning. The capabilities of CADTOOLS are very limited and we were hoping to find a better program. What are you all using?

what are you trying to do besides “dimension” with cadtools? are you trying to use it as a full-fledged cad substitute which it is not?

Might I suggest Rhino. It is great for 2D linework if you dont need gradients and colors, and is fairly interoperable with Illustrator files.

I’m on a Mac, and I use Vectorworks- it’s pretty idiot proof, and is compatible with Illustrator.

I agree. Rhino is fantastic for generating line work, as soon as you get used to working with NURBS curves and CVs, and it’s dimensioning tools are quick and easy. I know a few of my fellow students who use Rhino for all of their control artwork, bringing it into Illustrator if they need fills, strokes or gradients.

I always wondered why illustrator doesn’t have the dimensioning tools that CorelDraw seemed to have… (does it somewhere?)

It seemed so handy when co-workers would be able to easily pull dimensions off the vector art, and the Corel Draw would draw out the dimensioning arrows and everything. I still preferred Illustrator though

I can just imagine the arguments at Adobe. “What! Dimensioning tools! Its called Illustrator not Draftsman CS$”

I agree with this as well. I use Rhino for the 2D tools all of the time. If I have to create vector artwork, I always start here because the line tools are so much better than AI.

One tip: if you join your lines in Rhino, they translate as closed objects in AI, so you can apply line weights and fills without having to go back through and join everything in AI.

hah, that’s funny…:wink: its so blatantly missing it’s ridiculous

Hey, thanks for the ideas. We use Illstrator and Cadtools to create 2D tech packages for backpacks and other sport related product. We use all the CS4 functions but also need a much better dim. tool. Cadtools has an very weak interface, nothing customizable, can’t add our icons…you get it. I also think Cadtools maybe causing CS4 to crash. I have spoken to both companies but they pretend that nothing is wrong. We found a program from Japan called but they don’t support CS4 yet.

Any help would be great.

Switch to CorelDraw. (Gasp!)

I’m probably going to get a lot of flak for this, but I’ve used Adobe Acrobat Pro a few times to quickly dimension an Illustrator PDF. I know it’s not the best, but it’s there if you have the program and need to do something quick

illustrator is used for Graphic design such as printing and is vector based and dont need to dimension anything. if you did then you would be in the sign industry and they use Flexi sign, which is also a vector program that has the dimensioning tool and RIP capabilities (to send to a plot machine or a large format printer), and allows you to work really BIG.

not sure what field you are into, but i would look into Flexi sign. its deff not cheap though.

good luck.

Most of the sign industry uses CorelDraw for design work. You can change page scales and dimension things with some accuracy. You’d be surprised at the number of design firms using Illustrator for light CAD work. It’s the starting point for most environmental graphic designers.

i think coral is more popular in europe. i am positive that you can get creative with Flexi as well. i think (from just working in the field) that companies that use coral are mainly using it to print to large format and plotting and not necessarily in the signage industry. Flexi is capable as well and industry pushed and backed. i do agree that some firms do use Illustrator for light CAD work.

There are plenty of reasons to have dimensioning tools in illustrator outside of just making signs. The software is built on a grid, so why not have tools to quantify that grid, if needed? I use illustrator for print and web, and when I need to communicate my designs with developers, sadly I have to create all dimensioning annotations by hand. Sure, there are probably other software solutions used for UI that might have a few extra bells and whistles like dimensioning tools…but I doubt any of them have full illustration features and excellent compatibility with PhotoShop and InDesign.

IMHO, Adobe should get their crap together and add the tool to CS6. It’s one extra tool that can only increase the efficiency of their software.