Inventor IdeaStation
Share your ideas about how to improve Inventor with the Development Team.
117 Kudos

Improved measurement tools

Status: Accepted
by Distinguished Contributor DRoam on ‎04-09-2013 07:27 AM

I find the tools in Inventor's Inspect > Measure panel very cumbersome, limited, and non-user friendly. I often have to escape out of the command between every measurement to be sure it will operate properly. I cannot measure any distance involving a round surface, such as the tangential distance to a circumference. I cannot see a history of previous measurements. I have to use round-about methods to measure certain features; for example, I have to click a random face before I can pick the center of a circle as my first measuring point.


The ability to keep measurements displayed, almost like temporary 3D dimensions, for the purpose of active analysis of a component (as I was trying to do with my boss the other day) would be very useful; that way as I'm navigating around my part or assembly I can see in real-time the precise dimensions of features I care about rather than measuring and re-measuring as I'm trying to determine things about the model.


I'd love to hear of functionality that other users would like to see added for measuring and inspecting 3D models, and to see all of these implemented in future releases of Inventor as well as in service packs to current releases, so that all users can take advantage of this very foundational functionality.


(Please see related Discussion Groups post here:

Status: Accepted
Accepted idea [US19753]. Thanks! PS - nice mock-up Cameron. :smileywink:
by *Expert Elite* ‎04-09-2013 04:33 PM - edited ‎04-09-2013 04:39 PM

The command to create a new workplane works in two ways.  You can just click the command and choose from any type of valid inputs to create a workplane and away you go.  (Bear with me here, this IS relevant to the measure tool idea).  But you can also click the drop-down to see a list of creation methods, and clicking any of these will limit the types of geometry that can be selected.  See below:


Work Plane Types.png


What if the measure tool worked in a similar way?  Just clicking on it will make it work like it does now (only better!), where those who are familiar with it can just pick the geometry they want to measure.  But it would also have a drop-down with a list of measurements between different types of geometry.  Maybe something like this:


Measure Tool Types.png


Maybe the list of reference measurements that the OP mentioned could be incorporated into the measure tool dialog?  Something like this:


New Measure Tool.png


It would also be nice if the accumulate function actually made sense and was useful.


Cameron Whetten
Inventor 2012

by Distinguished Contributor DRoam on ‎04-10-2013 12:03 PM



I think that is a fantastic suggestion! It's consistent with the interface of Inventor right now and adds a lot of versatility. Also, your "Minimum between curve and ..." tools are essentially what I meant by "tangential distance to circumference". Tangential wasn't the right word, "normal" would have been more correct; normal to the curve's surface.


I'm not sure how this would be incorporated, but if there was also an option with any of those tools to say "along path", that would be very helpful. So I can say "minimum between curve and face" and then say "along the x axis" or "along the y axis" or "along this work axis or edge". This would be useful when, for example, one or more faces are angled relative to the UCS but the dimension I really care about is along one of the world axes.


Although I don't usually need to add dimensions together myself, for those who do a better accumulate tool like you have pictured would certainly be useful.


Also, the more I think about it, I'm intrigued by the idea of dimensions being displayed in 3D. It got me thinking how incredibly efficient it would be if I could even edit constraints with them. Say I'm showing my boss a model and two plates are constrained 24" apart and he wants them 16" apart. All I do is double-click the dimension which represents the constraint, change it to 16, and the distance changes as well as the dimension. This would be incredibly useful for on-the-go analysis, presentation, and modification of models. I know this is getting into an entirely different realm from a "better measurement tool" now, but 3D dimensions would more closely intertwine the two. Any thoughts?

by *Expert Elite* on ‎04-11-2013 09:08 AM

In addition to improvements to the actual measurement system, I'd like to see it be able to report measurements in fractional ft-in format.  I mostly work with steel fabrication, and it would be very nice to not have to think in decimal inch for measurements when I've been entering most of my dimensions and parameters in fractional form.

by *Expert Elite* on ‎04-15-2013 11:36 AM

Just make sure "between centers" is incorporated for holes and slots. The current 4 click method is ridiculous! Otherwise, excellent ideas here!

by Employee on ‎04-22-2013 04:23 AM
Status changed to: Under Review
by Heathos88 on ‎06-24-2013 04:05 AM

I absolutely need this in my assy's. theres no better way than a quick-and-easy check measure that can auto update as I do rough changes to parts. Thanks for your time in making this thread!!! :manvery-happy:

by Distinguished Contributor drguitarum2005 on ‎09-11-2013 01:44 PM

I absolutely agree with this. Picking a random face before being able to pick a circle/hole's center point is silly. Also there is no arc length to be found which would be VERY useful.

by dberman on ‎10-04-2013 12:17 PM

I'd love to see some maximum measurements.  Imagine a dowel pin with rounded ends.  The only way I know to measure the furthest extents is to measure the circle centers and add 2*radius, which isn't hard, but that's also a very basic example.  It wouldn't take much variation for that math to turn more into complicated trig.  Inventor can do this I'm sure.  Mostly I'm sick of making/deleting work geometry to take a measurement.

by Employee on ‎10-08-2013 12:31 PM
Status changed to: Accepted
Accepted idea [US19753]. Thanks! PS - nice mock-up Cameron. :smileywink:
by YavorGegov on ‎11-06-2013 03:02 PM

Hi , everyone


I`m new to Inventor , switching from Solidworks , since my current employer uses inventor and I am designing tubular frames .... the measurement tool is ending my life, it is crazy to have to make sketches to measure things or having to go back and do basic maths when other CAD programs have a simple tool that just does all of the above described things. At the moment my work arround is to have the model opened in both solidworks ( for any measurements ) and to model in inventor based on what the measurements are. My question is , has anyone heard of any 3rd party plug in or something simillar that provides a better tool than the one currently in there ?  This is so frustrating since I really like the frame generator and the program overall but that measurement tool is just infuriating.

Submit Your Ideas

Share and shape product ideas.

New Idea
You are not logged in.

Log into access your profile, ask and answer questions, share ideas and more. Haven't signed up yet? Register

IdeaStation Guidelines
Review guidelines and best practices
before posting a new idea.

Inventor Exchange Apps

Created by the community for the community, Autodesk Exchange Apps for Autodesk Inventor helps you achieve greater speed, accuracy, and automation from concept to manufacturing.

Connect with Inventor