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I'm looking for something analogous to the sketch feature in SolidWorks, but for creation of graphics. For those who haven't used SolidWorks, here's a video of a sketch being made.

Essentially, I need to be able to create shapes with numerically defined dimensions and relative positions (this line is this long, these two points are this far apart, the angle between these lines is this many degrees), then go in and give each shape a color/pattern fill, line thickness and color, etc. I've been doing this sort of thing with PowerPoint up until now, and there has to be a better tool out there.

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    What should be the output of this tool? What kind of information, in what file format? – Nicolas Raoul Mar 1 '17 at 6:10
  • For which operating system, with what budget? – Mawg says reinstate Monica Sep 27 '18 at 12:42
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How about sketchup ( http://www.sketchup.com ) or Layout a component of sketchup.

Layout has these features. requested features

Sketchup has many more features see video below.

http://www.sketchup.com/learn/videos/58

http://www.sketchup.com/learn/videos/60

Tape,Measure,protrator, arc and more.

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Maybe have a look at Inkscape. You can specify the position/size of shapes using a variety of units such as mm/cm, px or ft/ins. Shape fill and stroke can be changed, stroke can have end markers, such as arrows.

It has an align & distribute feature which will place shapes relative to each other/drawing area/selection. It can save/export in a variety of file formats (native SVG or things like EPS/PDF).

enter image description here

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I've only recently learned of Solvespace which does exactly as the OP requested. It's a parametric 2D/3D drawing program. One creates sketches with parameters constraining the design.

I had wanted a 2D drawing program that used constraints when I discovered Solvespace. Even though Solvespace is 3D capable, one does not have to use that feature. Output formats fit common protocols making it at least as useful as Inkscape, which I also use frequently.

Solvespace 2D drawing

There are a few well done tutorials on the internet, specifically YouTube which helped me greatly to understand how to use the program.

The OP's reference to SolidWorks sketches (also similar to that of Fusion 360) is spot-on as well.

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