Macro Express Placement

From FreeCAD Documentation

Express Placement

Display and quickly edit a selected object's placement coordinates directly or via expressions.

Macro version: 1.0
Last modified: 2023-08-01
FreeCAD version: created and tested in 0.21
Download: Express Placement
Author: screeneroner
Express Placement
Macro Version
Date last modified
FreeCAD Version(s)
created and tested in 0.21
Default shortcut
See also


Express Placement is a FreeCAD GUI addon. It allows quick editing of the X, Y, Z placement coordinates for the currently selected object.

Difference and benefits

Standard vs Express

One double click to edit object placement instead of four sequential clicks - you may work 4 times faster!

Standard FreeCAD Placement (in red)

The standard FreeCAD built-in editor requires many additional mouse clicks before you actually start parameter editing, especially when using parametric expressions to position your object:

  1. Click on the Base/Placement item in the Property view to unfold the Placement tree.
  2. Click on the Position branch to unfold the X, Y, Z coordinates fields.
  3. Click on the desired coordinate to make the expression editing icon visible.
  4. Click the expression editing icon, which is so small that it may be a challenge to hit it.
    Alternatively, press the "=" key on the keyboard. This may take even longer than clicking the icon.

You must repeat these clicks when you select another object. Again and again...

Express Placement (in green)

The Express Placement macro creates a special panel for you. You may dock this panel to any suitable place. It shows three rows with X, Y, Z coordinates. These coordinates contain values and expression fields. They are available for editing with just one double click.


Addon Manager

Find Express Placement in FreeCAD Addon Manager and install it.

Direct Launch of Express Placement

You may download and use Express Placement addon immediately in your FreeCAD:

  1. Download the express-placement.FCMacro file and place it in the User Macros folder inside your FreeCAD installation folder.
  2. Execute it directly from the FreeCAD main menu Macro / Macros / User Macros.

Installing Express Placement Toolbar Button

To have an ability to quickly switch on the Express Placement table, you may place a button to quickly execute this macro and bring up the Express Placement table:

  1. Download the Express Placement.FCMacro file and place it in the User Macros folder inside your FreeCAD installation folder.
  2. Select the Express Placement macro in the User Macros panel, invoked from the FreeCAD main menu Macro / Macros / User Macros.
  3. Press the Toolbar button and follow the Walkthrough dialog to place the Express Placement button in the desired location in the FreeCAD toolbars.


Just run the Express Placement macro directly or via the toolbar button, and you will see a new docked property window in your FreeCAD UI. You may drag it to any allowed place in the UI and close any time you won't need it. Next time when it will be required again - run the macro or press the toolbar button again to bring up the Express Placement window.

When you decide to change the placement of the selected object, just double-click on the desired cell in the Express Placement window and type a new value or edit the existing one. The new value will be directly written to your model.

If you find this add-on useful and feel it's worth treating me to a couple-triple coffee cups in recognition of my work, at any time you may do it via ☕ Buy me a coffee


Click here to show/hide the Addon source code.

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
__Name__ = "Express Placement"
__Comment__ = "FreeCAD GUI addon that allow quick editing X,Y,Z coordinates of the selected object"
__Author__ = "screeneroner"
__Version__ = "1.0"
__Date__ = "2023-08-01"
__License__ = "GPL-3.0"
__Web__ = ""
__Wiki__ = ""
__Icon__ = ""
__Help__ = "Display and quickly edit selected object placement coordinates directly or via expressions"
__Status__ = "Working"
__Requires__ = "FreeCAD >= 0.19"
__Communication__ = ""

''' ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This macro is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the  
version 3 GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation. 
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY without even  
See the GNU General Public License for more details ( 
This script contains "Buy me a coffee" links to honor the author's hard work and dedication in creating 
all the features present in this code. Removing or altering these links not only violates the GPL license 
but also disregards the significant effort put into making this script valuable for the community. 
If you find value in this script and would like to show appreciation to the author, 
kindly consider visiting the site below and treating the author to a few cups of coffee: 
Your honor and gratitude is greatly appreciated.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ''' 

import FreeCADGui as Gui
import FreeCAD as App
from PySide import QtGui, QtCore

# Define a function to create and display a table
def create_table():
    # Function to update the table with the selected object's data
    def update_table_with_selected_object():
        # Clear the table first

        # Get the selected objects
        selection = Gui.Selection.getSelection()
        # If there's exactly one selected object
        if len(selection) == 1:
            selected_obj = selection[0]
            selected_object = selected_obj
            # Ensure the object isn't a spreadsheet
            if str(selected_obj.TypeId) != "Spreadsheet::Sheet":
                # Populate the table with the object's placement data
                # Store the selected object on the table widget
                table_widget.selected_object = selected_obj

    # Function to populate the table with an object's placement data
    def populate_table_with_placement(selected_obj):
        # Clear the table first
        # Get the object's placement
        placement = selected_obj.Placement
        # Update each row of the table with the object's placement data
        for row in range(3):  # Limit to 3 instead of row_count
            value_widget = QtGui.QTableWidgetItem()
            value_widget.setText(str(getattr(placement.Base, ["x", "y", "z"][row])))
            table_widget.setItem(row, 0, value_widget)
        # Get the object's properties
        properties_list = selected_obj.ExpressionEngine
        # If the object has properties
        if properties_list is not None:
            # For each property that involves placement
            for prop in properties_list:
                if prop[0] in [".Placement.Base.x", ".Placement.Base.y", ".Placement.Base.z"]:
                    # Get the attribute's name
                    attribute = prop[0].split(".")[-1]
                    # Set the corresponding cell's value
                    expression_label = QtGui.QTableWidgetItem()
                    table_widget.setItem(["x", "y", "z"].index(attribute), 1, expression_label)
        # Add the new row with the support data
        support_label_widget = QtGui.QLabel(" ")
        support_link_widget = QtGui.QLabel( u'\u2615' + '  <a href="">Buy me a coffee</a>  ')
        support_link_widget.setAlignment(QtCore.Qt.AlignRight | QtCore.Qt.AlignVCenter)
        table_widget.setCellWidget(3, 0, support_label_widget)
        table_widget.setCellWidget(3, 1, support_link_widget)
        # Adjust the height of each row
        header = table_widget.horizontalHeader()
        for row in range(row_count):
            table_widget.setRowHeight(row, 18)

    # Function to clear the table
    def clear_table():
        for row in range(row_count):
            for col in range(column_count):
                table_widget.takeItem(row, col)

    # Function to update the selected object's placement values based on edits to the table
    def update_values(row):
        item = table_widget.item(row, 0)
        if item is not None:
            # Get the edited text
            edited_text = item.text()
            # Get the label of the value that was edited
            value_label = ["x", "y", "z"][row]
            # Get the selected object
            selected_obj = table_widget.selected_object
            # Get the object's placement
            placement = selected_obj.Placement

            # If the edited text is not empty
            if edited_text != "":
                    # Try to convert the edited text to a float
                    edited_value = float(edited_text)
                    # Update the corresponding placement value
                    if value_label == "x":
                        placement.Base.x = edited_value
                    elif value_label == "y":
                        placement.Base.y = edited_value
                    elif value_label == "z":
                        placement.Base.z = edited_value
                except ValueError:
                    # If the text can't be converted to a float, print an error message
                    print("Invalid value entered. The value must be a valid number.")

                # Update the object's placement
                selected_obj.Placement = placement

                # Recompute the document to reflect the changes
                # print(f"Updated value: {edited_value} in row {row}, column 0")

                # Reselect the object to refresh the table data

    # Function to update the selected object's expression values based on edits to the table
    def update_expression(row):
        item = table_widget.item(row, 1)
        if item is not None:
            # Get the edited text
            edited_text = item.text()
            # Get the label of the expression that was edited
            expression_label = ["x", "y", "z"][row]
            # Get the selected object
            selected_obj = table_widget.selected_object
            # Get the attribute's name
            attribute = f".Placement.Base.{expression_label}"

            # Update the attribute's expression
            selected_obj.setExpression(attribute, edited_text if edited_text != "" else None)

            # Recompute the document to reflect the changes
            # print(f"Updated expression: {edited_text} in row {row}, column 1")

            # Reselect the object to refresh the table data

    # Function to reselect an object
    def reselect_object(selected_obj):
        # Clear the current selection
        # Add the selected object to the selection

    # Define the table's dimensions
    row_count = 4
    column_count = 2

    # Create the table widget
    table_widget = QtGui.QTableWidget(row_count, column_count)
    table_widget.setHorizontalHeaderLabels(["Value", "Expression"])
    table_widget.setVerticalHeaderLabels(["x", "y", "z", " "])

    # Left align the headers
    header = table_widget.horizontalHeader()

    # Adjust columns to contents


    # Assign a delegate to handle cell edits
    delegate = QtGui.QItemDelegate()

    # Connect signals to handle cell edits
    delegate.commitData.connect(lambda: update_values(table_widget.currentRow()) if table_widget.currentColumn() == 0 else None)
        lambda: update_expression(table_widget.currentRow()) if table_widget.currentColumn() == 1 else None

    # Define a class to observe selection changes
    class SelectionObserver:
        # When an object is selected, update the table
        def addSelection(self, doc, obj, sub, pnt):

        # When an object is deselected, update the table
        def removeSelection(self, doc, obj, sub):

    # Create an instance of the observer class
    selection_observer = SelectionObserver()
    # Add the observer to the selection

    # Update the table with the currently selected object's data

    # Make the last column stretch to fill the remaining space

    # Get the main window
    mainWindow = Gui.getMainWindow()

    # Check if the dock widget already exists
    dock_widget = mainWindow.findChild(QtGui.QDockWidget, "ExpressPlacementWidget")

    # If the dock widget does not exist, create it
    if dock_widget is None:
        dock_widget = QtGui.QDockWidget("Express Placement")
        dock_widget.setObjectName("ExpressPlacementWidget")  # Assign an object name to the dock widget
        mainWindow.addDockWidget(QtCore.Qt.LeftDockWidgetArea, dock_widget)

    # Set the dock widget's widget to the table
    # Make sure the dock widget is visible

# Create and display the table