**Original Article Date:** *Feb 5, 2001*

Learn how to place elements at absolute coordinates using MicroStation's precision input.

*2001-02-05* Titled *Understanding Precision Input*.

*2003-12-16* Updated for clarity and added a bit about V8.5.

*2007-02-15* Updated for clarity

Learn how to place elements at absolute coordinates using MicroStation's precision input. This article used to be called *Understanding Precision Input* and was originally posted 2001-02-05.

*Updated 2003-12-16* For clarity and also added a bit about V8.5

Here are three methods for using MicroStation's precision input:

**Method #1 – Using the XY= keyin**

Select your element placement tool.

The images and instructions below are based on the *Place SmartLine* tool.

The prompt will read: *Enter first point*

Go to the keyin window and keyin: *XY=X-value,Y-value*.

For example: *XY=15,11*

The first vertex is now anchored at that absolute location.

The prompt now reads: *Enter end point*

Just keyin your absolute coordinates.

For example: *XY=17,14*

Continue placing points in this manner.

When done press the *Reset* to complete.

If you can't find the element on your screen, do a *Fit View*.

Snap to the ends of the element to verify its placement.

The coordinates will appear in the status bar.

**Method #2 – Using AccuDraw**

You can also use AccuDraw's precision input window:

Select your placement tool.

Press the letter *M* on the keyboard.

This will open a dockable dialog called *Data Point Keyin*.

Select the input type from the pick list and enter your values.

This dialog will only open if AccuDraw has the input focus when you press the letter *M*. Also, it will remain open on your screen until you close it. For single coordinate keyins, press the letter *P*. It will bring up the same dialog but will be dismissed it after entering one keyin.

This same dialog is available for use without AccuDraw.

Just key in *point keyin single* or *point keyin multiple* and dock for easy access!

**Method #3 – Using the Precision Input dialog**

*Not available in V8!*

The last method available to you is to use the *Precision Input* dialog which you can activate with the *dialog precision* keyin. From there, it's just a matter of keying in your coordinate values and poking the *Apply* button.

**Note about V8.5**

MicroStation V8.5 has a new syntax for the *XY=* keyin that allows for relative coordinates. This is accomplished by the use of *#* which instructs MicroStation to keep the value relative, or rather - keep the current value of the coordinate.

The syntax for using *#* with the *XY=* keyin is:

*#* leaves the coordinate X, Y, or Z value as is.

*#10* adds *10* to the current value of the X, Y or Z coordinate.

*#-10* subtracts 10 from the current value of the X, Y or Z coordinate.

For example, you have a line with a vertex at *XY=6,7* and you wish to move it to *XY=7,7*.

Just keyin *XY=7,#* which will move the vertex to absolute X of 7 and leave the Y as is.

Another example:

To add 10 units to the existing X and leave the Y as is, the keyin would be *XY=#10,#*

Or, to subtract 5 units from the Y and leave the X as is: *XY=#,#-5*

Likewise:

*XY=#,10* (2D) keep the same x value, but make the y value 10.

*XY=#,10* (3D) keep the same X value, but make the Y value 10, and the Z value 0.

*XY=#,#10* (2D) keep the same X value but add 10 to the Y coordinate.

*XY=#-10,#20* (2D) subtract 10 from the X coordinate and add 20 to the Y coordinate.

*XY=#10,#10,50* (3D) add 10 to the X and Y coordinates and make the Z coordinate 50.

Note: the *#* does not work for the *point distance* command since it would require MicroStation to remember/store the distance from the last two datapoints.

With many thanks to *Barry Bentley* and *Gino Cortesi* for sharing this tip on the discussion groups.

AskInga Article #18