Manage Sketch Features

In OCAD you can draw sketches directly using the Sketch toolbar or import them from the OCAD Sketch App via the OCAD Sketch App Data Exchange tool.

What is the best way to manage these sketches? How do I make sure that I draw all sketches?

Manage Sketch Features
All sketches are listed in the menu Sketch > Manage Sketch Features.
When a sketch is selected in the list, the OCAD drawing area is centered on it.

Manage sketch features dialog.

Show Sketches
Under Menu Sketch > Options there are different display options that make sense depending on the situation. We recommend testing different transparency and opacity settings, e.g. if sketch features should be behind map objects or not.

Sketch options dialog.
  • Opacity: An sketch feature opacity of 100% will cover the map objects behind it.
Opacity 100%, transparent unchecked, display sketch layer behind map unchecked.
Opacity 70%, transparency off, display sketch layer behind map unchecked.
  • Transparent: If the rendering of the sketch features is slow, the transparency should be turned off.
Opacity 70%, transparency on, display sketch layer behind map unchecked.
  • Display sketch layer behind map: We recommend to activate this option during the final drawing. For mapping in the terrain with a Windows tablet and OCAD Desktop, it’s better to have the sketches before the map. In the OCAD Sketch App, the Sketch layer is always before the map.
Display Sketch Layer before map. Transparency off.
Display Sketch Layer behind map. Transparency off.

Hide sketch features: All sketches can be hidden in the toolbar or under menu Sketch > Hide. Advanced users can also use a Shortcut.

Delete Sketches
The following options are available for deleting sketches.

  • Eraser
    The eraser in the sketch toolbar can be used to erase sketch features completely or partially. In contrast to custom OCAD map objects no preliminary feature selection is needed for this. Depending on the zoom level, sketch features can be erased with varying degrees of coarseness. Zoom out to quickly delete features over a large area.
  • Delete All Sketch Features
    The function in the menu Sketch > Delete All Sketch Features deletes all sketch features.
  • Manage sketches
    Sketches can be deleted individually in the menu Sketch > Manage Sketch Features.
Different ways to delete sketches.

Visual Inspection
At the end of the final map work, the question arises: Have I worked through all my sketches?
In case the sketches were deleted or erased during the final map work, you can check the list under Sketch > Manage Sketch Features.

If the sketches were not deleted during the final map work, a visual check is necessary. To make the sketches clearly visible, the map and background maps can be displayed transparently or not at all.

  • Switch to Draft mode and use the slider in the View toolbar to set the opacity of the map (M) and background map (B) to the far left.
  • Alternatively, you can hide the map and the background map (menu Map > Hide; menu Background Map > Hide All).
Sketch features with hidden map.

6 Tips to Edit Vertices

Vertices are used to define the position of points, lines and areas. In this blog post we will show you how to edit vertices in the most efficient way.

#01: Set mark size large enough

First, make sure that the size of the vertices is large enough. You can change the mark size and mark color in the Drawing and Editing section in the OCAD Preferences. In the same section, you can also scale the size of the mouse cursor.

#02: Move vertices

To move a vertex, select the Select Objects and Edit Vertex icon in the Edit and Drawing Toolbar and drag the vertex to the new position. Double click on a vertex and move it then with the arrow keys. Instead of moving a single vertex, you can also click on a segment (section between two vertices) and drag it.

#03: Add and remove vertices

You can use the icons in the toolbar to add or remove vertices (see picture below).
However, you should definitely know these two shortcuts.

  • A Vertex can also be added, when you press the Shift and Ctrl key simultaneous while clicking on the object.
  • A Vertex can be removed, when you press the Ctrl key while clicking on an existing vertex.
  • Hold down the Ctrl key and the left mouse key while moving over the vertices to remove multiple vertices, e.g. to smooth buildings from imported cadastral data. The mouse movement works like an eraser for the vertices of the selected object.

#04 Toggle between vertices

Toggle between the different vertex types (normal vertex – dash vertex – corner vertex) with pressed Ctrl+Space key and click on a vertex.

#05 Edit vertices and tangents of Bézier curves

If you draw a Bézier curve and are unhappy with the last vertex drawn, simply click the backspace key. The last tangent will be deleted and you can try again. You can delete as many tangents as you like up to the beginning of the line. The last two tangent end points can also be edited while drawing.

#06: Get faster into the edit mode

Select the following settings as shown below in the OCAD Preferences. When you draw an object, right-click to close it and get to edit mode. Another right-click switches back to drawing mode.

More OCAD Tips and Tricks

Visit the OCAD Wiki page Tips with Keyboard and Mouse to further optimize your drawing and editing skills in OCAD.

Object direction

For some line and point symbols, object orientation matters. Here comes a small instruction, how the object direction can be edited.

  • Line Symbols
    Most line symbols consist of only one line without additional tags (e.g. contour line or path). Other line symbols such as fences, cliffs, earth banks also have tags within the symbol definition and therefore it is important where the start and end points of these symbols are located.

In the OCAD symbol sets, the tags of the symbols always point to the right when drawing an object.

If the tags point to the wrong direction, you must reverse the object direction (Menu Object > Reverse Object Direction or create a Shortcut), so that the first vertex becomes the last one and vice versa.

  • Point Symbols
    Most point symbols are oriented to North (e.g. tower, small depression). For others, such as wells, springs or small cliffs, you can specify a particular direction for the object. Click and drag in the direction you want the point object to face. The drawn point object can also be adjusted afterwards using the Indicate direction of area pattern, point or text object function.
  • Area Symbols
    As with point symbols, the object direction does not matter for most area symbols. Area symbols such as vegetation one direction, orchard, or vineyard can also be aligned using the Indicate direction of area pattern, point or text object function. Click once into the drawing area and the selected object will be oriented to North again.

6 Tips to Minimize Mouse Movements

Your mouse pointer covers considerable distances while drawing. This is because you have to constantly switch between symbols, drawing and editing modes, and functions.

Use the following tricks to give your mouse cursor a breather.

#01: Toggle between drawing and editing tools

Select the following settings as shown below in the OCAD Preferences. When you draw an object, right-click to close it and get to edit mode. Another right-click switches back to drawing mode.

#02: Select symbol in drawing area

When you select an object in the drawing area, the corresponding symbol is auto-selected by default. This can be faster than selecting the symbol in the symbol box.

#03: Set preferred drawing tool

Edit a symbol to choose a preferred drawing tool. When you click on a symbol in the symbol box, the preferred drawing tool of this symbol will now be selected.
The symbols of the supplied OCAD symbol sets have a preferred drawing tool assigned to each of them.

#04 Work with shortcuts

Shortcuts help you to execute functions via key combinations, e.g. fill an object, reverse its direction or change its symbol.

#05 Customize toolbar

The toolbar contains many functions by default. Do you need all of them?
You can also dock the toolbars to the sides or move them to the drawing area.

#06 OCAD Tips and Tricks

Last but not least, if you master the OCAD tips and tricks, you will automatically minimize mouse movements and save a lot of time.

Get a free OCAD Starter License for World Orienteering Day

World Orienteering Day (WOD) is a project of the International Orienteering Federation to increase the visibility and accessibility of orienteering worldwide.

This year, between the dates May 17th and May 23rd 2023, any orienteering activity held can be registered as a World Orienteering Day event.

As in previous years, we provide free OCAD Starter licenses to draw orienteering maps and set courses for this event.

How to get a license:

  • Register a WOD event here
  • Send an email to and request a license
  • You will get the license information by email from WOD

OCAD Starter does not only include the Course Setting Module, but also the New Map Wizard, with which you can create an orienteering map anywhere in the world with just a few clicks.

You can find out how to do so in our World Orienteering Day Tutorial.

Register now and become a part of WOD!