We demonstrate a novel approach for electron-beam lithography (EBL) of periodic nanostructures. This technique can rapidly produce arrays of various metallic and etched nanostructures with line and pitch dimensions approaching the beam spot size. Our approach is based on often neglected functionality which is inherent in most modern EBL systems. The raster/vector beam exposure system of the EBL software is exploited to produce arrays of pixel-like spots without the need to define coordinates for each spot in the array. Producing large arrays with traditional EBL techniques is cumbersome during pattern design, usually leads to large data files and easily results in system memory overload during patterning. In Dots-on-the-fly (DOTF) patterning, instead of specifying the locations of individual spots, a boundary for the array is given and the spacing between spots within the boundary is specified by the beam step size. A designed pattern element thus becomes a container object, with beam spacing acting as a parameterized location list for an array of spots confined by that container. With the DOTF method, a single pattern element, such as a square, rectangle or circle, can be used to produce a large array containing thousands of spots. In addition to simple arrays of nano-dots, we expand the technique to produce more complex, highly tunable arrays and structures on substrates of silicon, ITO/ FTO coated glass, as well as uncoated fused silica, quartz and sapphire.