In my previous post I mentioned that the “A” command alias launches the ever popular ARC command, but there are many less popular yet equally useful commands in the AutoCAD alphabet! One of my favorite “A” commands is ALIGN. The ALIGN command has been in AutoCAD for as long as I can remember and it would get my vote as “the most underappreciated command”. ALIGN is often considered a 3D command but it can be just as useful for 2D drawing.
Use the ALIGN command to align a selected object with another object in the drawing. You can launch the ALIGN command by typing the “AL” command alias. You’re prompted to provide 2 or 3 sets of points depending if you’re aligning in 2D or 3D space. The first pair of points (source and destination) determines the move point. The second pair of points (source and destination) determines the rotation. If you’re using this tool to align objects in a 2D drawing, press Enter to continue through the prompt for a third set of points without picking. The following image illustrates the results when aligning various sets of points on the selected triangle (source) with points on the rectangle (destination). In each case notice that point 1 (on the triangle) moves to point 2 (on the rectangle). The triangle then rotates so that point 3 aligns with point 4.
In addition to moving and rotating, the ALIGN command provides an option to scale the selected object during the same operation. After picking two pairs of source/destination points and continuing through the third set of points, you can enter Yes to the last prompt “Scale objects based on alignment points?” AutoCAD automatically moves, rotates, and scales the selected objects making the source points coincident with the destination points.