Sunday, October 15, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
￼Here is a typical example. You’ve made an object and you made the correct texture, but still the texture is not showing up.
You can see on the Object Info Palette that I have applied the texture correctly, but if you look at the Attributes Palette you can see that the object has no fill. This means that it will stay wireframe.
￼Look at this example. I have changed the Attributes Palette so that the object has a solid fill. Everything else has remained the same.
Now the object is displaying the correct texture.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
This trick doesn’t always work, so it is a last hope solution. If you can get most of you drawing using this method, you may only have to redraw a small amount. Also, this trick only works with Design Layers, so all the annotations that you add to the viewports will be lost.
There is one trick that I have given out a few times lately where the file is corrupt or crashing frequently. Remember that this works sometimes, it doesn’t always work. If it can work then it is a life saver. I have sometimes used it to access a file that is so corrupt that it won’t open.
This trick uses WorkGroup Referencing. Refer to the VectorWorks Architect Manual, or the VectorWorks Landmark manual (also covered in the archoncad manual Setting up Large Projects available at http://www.archoncad.co.nz ).
• Leave the corrupt file closed and open a new file.
￼• From the Menu Bar chose Tools > Workgroup References…
￼• We have to add the file that is corrupt, click on the New button.
• Find the file on your computer. Then click on the Open button.
￼• The New Reference dialog box gives you control over which layers to attach to the current file.
• Select all the layers that you want, but do not select any layers that have layer links on them, layer links can not be imported. Remember that only Design Layers can be imported.
• Then click on the OK button.
￼• So far this is just the same as the manual. Now for the trick.
￼• Delete the Workgroup Reference. This will break the link to the corrupt file.
￼• You get a dialog box asking you what to do with all the resources that you have referenced into the current file. Choose to keep them all and they will all stay in the current file, imported from the corrupt file.
￼• The Workgroup References dialog box is empty. No files are currently linked, but the layers that you choose from the corrupt file remain in your file, and all the information on the imported layers comes in as well.
If this method doesn’t work the first time try importing the layers one at a time. Attach one layer, Save the file. Remove the layer. Save the file. Attach the next layer and so on. You may find that only one of the layers is corrupt. If you do, leave that layer out and attach the others and remove them, keeping all the resources.
You could end up with all but one layer saved. That is better than redrawing the complete file.
You should also have a backup strategy so that you could go back to yesterdays file, or the day before. That file may not be corrupt.
7th July 2009
I know people that are still accessing this blog, but it was written 3 years ago. Vectorworks now has a new interface for this area, so some of the instructions need to change.
You access the References from the Tool Menu, choose Organization...
Click on the References Tab
Click on the setting button.
Choose Design layer import
For detailed instructions on using Workgroup Referencing try this short shart manual:
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
There is a quick way to get rid of the 2D stuff. From the Menu Bar choose:
View > Stack Layers
This is the same view with Stack Layers turned on. Notice that all the 2D stuff has vanished?
Stack Layers is only available in Architect and Designer versions of VectorWorks.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Saturday, September 30, 2006
double X key = Deselect All
Friday, September 29, 2006
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
￼Here is an example. Draw an area of hardscape. You can use the hardscape tool to do this or you can draw the 2D shape that you want and then use the Objects From Polyline... command from the Modify menu.
￼Draw an area on top of your hardscape. Use a solid object like a rectangle, polygon or circle.
Select both objects.
From the Menu bar choose
Modify > Clip Surface.
You can see the result, the hardscape area has been edited to match. This will make it a lot faster to edit hardscapes and other similar objects like ceiling grids, spaces and so on.
￼On the Object Info Palette click on the button for the Render settingS.
This will open the Hidden Line Render Settings.
If there is a tick on the Sketch Hidden Line results then click on it to turn it off.
If the tick is not on, but your elevation is still rendered you will have to go back the 3D Model layer and check the Document Default sketch style...
Click on the OK Button.
￼Update your elevation viewport by clicking on the update button on the Object Info Palette.
Now you have hard line elevations.
Friday, September 15, 2006
This will copy the class settings, the class overrides and you can copy the viewport attributes from one file to another. If a class doesn’t exist in new file you get a warning, but all the other classes are copied.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
When you are learning VectorWorks you will￼ find it easier to change back to the 2D Selection tool after you have finished with a tool. This will stop you accidentally creating more things.
After you have placed a symbol from the Resource Browser change back to the 2D Selection tool. That will stop you accidentally adding more symbols in your file.
Some people have a habit of clicking in the drawing area when they have finished with a tool. Changing to the 2D Selection Tool will stop this being a problem.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
From the annotation tool set choose the VAA Title ￼block tool. When you choose this tool you get a ghost image of the title block on the screen.
￼Double click anywhere to place the title block. This tool is designed to fit the title block to your piece of paper, much like the VectorWorks Drawing border tool. The title block will come in with a border and crop marks. This is the default setting that you can adjust if you want to.
￼To get rid of the crop marks, go to the Object Info Palette and find the pop-up menu for Draw Crop Marks. Choose the option Not for Any Title Block to turn off the crop marks for all the title blocks in the file.
￼Finally, to get rid of the border, don’t turn the border off from the Object Info Palette. Use the Attributes palette to give the title block no fill and a line colour of white. The title block itself won’t be affected, just the border.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
So the answer about putting annotation on design layers or viewports depends on what you are trying to show and what you have drawn so far.
For plans, I recommend putting all the annotations, dimensions and detail references on the design layer, the same design layer as the walls.
You can make several drawings from the same wall layer if you use classes to filter the information.
For example, you can draw the foundation plan on the same layer as the walls. By putting the foundation walls on a class and putting the foundation dimensions and detail references on the same class, you can turn off all the other notes, details and details references and see the ones for the foundations.
By putting all the other walls on classes and putting the framing dimensions, notes and detail references on the same class you can turn off the foundation walls, detail references and notes, leaving the framing plan the way you want.
These two example examples show that it’s better to include your annotation on the design layers for plan type drawings, or for drawings that are 2 dimensional.
For drawings that use the 3D parts of VectorWorks, it’s better to include the notes and dimensions in the Annotation part of the viewport.
￼In this example the elevations and sections are live views of the building using a front view for the elevation and using the section viewports for the sections. In this example you have to put the annotations in to the viewport, there is no other way. If you try to put the dimensions and text on the design layer it will not show in the viewport.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
we gained a lot from the topics discussed. Especially interesting was the Worksheet tool, that has potential in so many areas. Also the Create Section Viewport tool has convinced us we need to upgrade to Version 12. Each user group session we do makes us realise the power Vectorworks has. Looking forward to the next one.
We have been attending the meetings for approximately the last 12 months and without exception, we have never left a meeting without having picked up at least one hint that has proved invaluable and not only made drawing easier but saved a huge amount of time. It may only be something small and incredibly obvious to you but is often an aside from the general topic and may be a point made by you or one of the other users attending.
I have always thought that worksheets are an under-used area of VectorWorks. Worksheets are amazingly powerful. They can be used to calculate things like;
- the buliding/Site coverage;
- how many electrical objects in the building;
- if you’re working on an interior design, how many desks in each are of the building;
- how many plants you have in each area of the landscape design. You can even set the spacing as an option and have VectorWorks calculate the number of plants for a drawn area. If you change the spacing, or change the area the number of plants will change.
All the people that came to the user group had a copy of my essential manual but many had not completed the exercises in the essential manual on worksheets. My advice to them was to go back and try out the worksheet exercises and play the movies, there is a lot of valuable stuff in the movies on how to use worksheets.
If you want to learn more about worksheets, buy my Essential Manual, or the short sharp manual on worksheets.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Thursday, August 10, 2006
I’ve not used this tool a lot, not until I saw someone on the Nemetschek North America chat list that needed a corrugated iron symbol.
I have a corrugated iron symbol and so I tried placing it in the file that the Repetitive Unit tool uses. And it works really well. For Roofing you need to add your symbol file to the following folder on a windows machine:
Program files\VectorWorks 12\Libraries\Defaults\Repetitive Unit\Roofing
and on a Macintosh:
Applications: VectorWorks: Libraries: Defaults: Repetitive Unit: Roofing:
Now when you use the Repetitive Unit tool you will be asked to choose a folder first, choose the Roofing Folder, then you choose a symbol, choose your symbol for corrugated roofing.
Now draw the line for the roof and your corrugated roofing will be created. The repetitive unit is really useful and can be used for roofing, wall cladding (siding) and for framing.
The podcast this week shows some of these uses...
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Saturday, July 15, 2006
I do have some simple rules...
Monday, June 26, 2006
Friday, June 02, 2006
When you upgrade to VectorWorks 12, especially if you are upgrading from a older version of VectorWorks (pre-11). One of the major changes that we have been using since VectorWorks 11 is viewports. Viewports are really powerful and will change (should change) the way you draw and set up your drawings. For example, before we had viewports we used to need to use layers with different scales to show the same information at different scales, now with viewports you can draw the information once and use two viewports at different scales on the same drawing. You can have different class settings on each viewport, something that was impossible without viewports.
It’s a bit hard to explain the implications of using ViewPorts in this blog, but if you are upgrading look for a good manual that will explain these new concepts to you. I have had some clients recently that upgraded from VectorWorks 9 to VectorWorks 12 and we discussed how they need to review my Essential manual so that they can get a grasp on the new concepts in VectorWorks 12.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Nemetschek North America are working hard to bring you a Universal Binary version of VectorWorks that will run on the Intel-based Macintoshes, but it has not been released yet. Information from Nemetschek North America suggests that you should be careful, that Nemetschek North America cannot recommend VectorWorks running in an Intel based Macintosh yet. There is full article at:
So, should you buy one? I think that that’s a tricky question. First your VectorWorks will not run well on it. If you are using other applications like Photoshop or InDesign, they will not run native on your new Intel-mac but the reports so far are that they will run, they just won’t run fast. All the Apple software such as iLife, iCal, iPhoto and Address Book will run native and will be FAST! I checked the Microsoft web site and all the Office applications will work on your Intel-Mac except Virtual PC.
So the real sticking point may be just VectorWorks. It’s not ready for Intel-Mac’s but it will be ready before too long. The version of VectorWorks that will work with Intel-Mac’s will be 12.5. Keep your eye open for it. If you really want to buy an Intel-Mac, go ahead and use it for everything except VectorWorks. Keep your old computer for a little while...
Friday, May 19, 2006
I‘m really happy to tell you all that I have just put the finishing touches on my new VectorWorks manual for landscapers. This manual is specifically designed to get you going quickly with placing and counting plants (Landscapers have been telling me that they want to do this as quickly as possible). I show you 4 different projects and with each project you will learn a more about how you can use VectorWorks for landscaping.
The manual starts with placing and counting basic plants on a scanned plan. The next project we learn to import the scan, add some custom plants and count them. The third project shows you how to import a DXF/DWG file and add the plans and landscape areas and it also shows you how to count those areas.
The final project starts an empty file and works through setting up the file, creating a 3D site model, placing a 3D house on the site, adding plants, roads, adding site modifiers and creating a drawing.
The manual also contains an appendix where some topics are covered in greater detail.
This manual is available now from :
Sunday, May 14, 2006
The picture above is from a one of my manuals. The reason I’m using this picture is to demonstrate an issue that come up recently with a client. The client wanted to draw something like this but they hadn’t read my Essential Manual, so they were having trouble with basic concepts and they were missing basic skills. After some telephone chatting the client has been using the Essential Manual to improve and to build a basic knowledge (or foundation) in VectorWorks.
The Essential manual is like building good foundations before you a house.
Would you start to make the roof or make the windows of a house before you put the foundations down? Of course you wouldn’t, you’d do things in order and put in some good foundations first. Then you’d put in the floor structure and the walls and build up the house. That’s what the Essential Manual is designed for, to give you a foundation for your VectorWorks knowledge. All the other manuals will build on the knowledge that you get from going through the Essential Manual.
I know when you start the Essential Manual you might be thinking “I don’t see the relevance of this...” But stick with it. To understand the relevance try working on an office project or try working through one of the advanced manuals, you soon see that you need these basic skills, the foundation knowledge...
Friday, May 12, 2006
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
I often get asked “how long will it take me to to get good at using VectorWorks?” The answer may surprise some people, it depends on how much effort you put in.
I have some clients that want to get started, and will put in a whole day of training, they will even pay me to be there for the whole day. While I’m there I get them to agree that they will use VectorWorks every day but when I leave they don’t use VectorWorks for weeks. When I call to see how they are getting, they tell me how hard it is to learn VectorWorks. “Are you using VectorWorks every day?” I ask. “Well, no,” they say “I’ve been busy...”
Learning VectorWorks is the same as learning anything. Keep using it. Use it every day. Work through the training exercises every day if you don’t want to work on a project. Really, it’s the training exercises that you should work through. My Essential Manual has gotten 100’s of people trained to use VectorWorks effectively. I have some clients that always use my manual to train their staff because it gives them a good foundation in VectorWorks...
So how long could it take? I have some clients that get their staff up and running in a couple of weeks, because they use my manual (with the exercises and movies) and because they use VectorWorks every day.
Some people benefit from a personal training. A day or two of personal training (combined with my manuals) and they are off and running. The personal training is really important for people that need help with sorting out the concept in their head of how VectorWorks makes drawings.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Now that you are set up to work on your computer you should make sure that you keep your diary and contacts up to date. I don’t mean that nice black diary that you got from a supplier last year, I mean using your Mac for your contacts and calendars.
There is an Address Book for your contacts and iCal for your diary. They work OK but they are not designed for professional use. The Address Book is not a contact manager that can keep track of 1000’s of contacts, nor can it link to the calendar so that as you add notes to the meeting, the notes are linked to the contact file. That’s what a true contact manager would do, but it is really easy to use. So if you want to have better control over your contacts what can you do?
There are at least two options:
Now Contact and Now Up-To-Date
Now Contact and Now Up-To-Date
NUD (Now Contact and
Now Up-To-Date) are two separate
applications that work together to
give you a contact manager and a
Now Up to Date
I have been using NUD for several years and it has some great features, but it also has some ommisions. One of my favourite features is the way that it can link to my palm pilot and keep all my categories in tact. When I tried this with the standard Address Book and iCal the results were unpleasant, they would not keep the categories that I wanted and I found that the syncronsing was very slow. This is when I changed to NUD.
Connecting my Palm to NUD took a short time to sort out (a conflict in the conduits) and once sorted it has been fast and reliable. So reliable that I have come reply heavily on it. You can’t tell if a contact has been created on the computer or the Palm, and detailed meeting notes can be created on the computer and edited on the Palm. When I have synchronised you can’t tell where the notes were created or where they were edited.
With NUD you can link meeting
with a contact.
When you do this, NUD then adds the
meeting to the contacts details. This is
a great way to have a detailed record
of the meetings that you’ve had with
a client, especially if you’ve had the
client for several years.
This is pretty neat, but the best part of
this is that if you add notes to the
meeting on the calendar, the notes are
added to the contact. I have used this
function many times to record the
minutes of the meeting on my laptop.
The minutes are then added to the notesof the contact. When you go back to the client some time later, you can see
what you discussed last time, the action
you should have taken (normal meeting
stuff really) and so on, but the neat part is that it all appears in the notes for the client. You could have many years of notes… It has become a habit now to write the minutes of the meeting direct into the calender while I am on site, or to write them later when I have a moment (either on my laptop or my palm pilot).
NUD has the ability to dial a phone number but it will only use the internal modem on your computer, it can’t be switched to use your mobile phone for example. I think that this is a glaring fault and one that NowSoftware “are looking at adding to a future release…” But then they also said that when I got my fist copy of OS X, 3 years ago. The Apple address book has the ability to dial your mobile phone and send SMS.
NUD has the ability to store the contacts and calendar on a server and let everyone in the office synchronise to it. You can even set this up so that you can be off-site and still sync contacts and meetings. I have been doing this for the last 3 years with a server in a different town. Unit the last version of NUD it worked very well, but they really mucked up the upgrade and now it’s not working. I have spoken to the NZ distributor and they are unable to resolve this with the people that make NUD. I suspect that if you started with NUD now (without the legacy issues) it would work fine. It’s a shame really, it was a nice bit of software, so I have started to look at another contact manager that will be able to do all that NUD can do, and more!
I will tell you more about Daylite 3.0 next month now that I have started to use it. It’s going to take me a while to get used to it.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Here is a trick I have been using a lot lately. Often when you’re working in VectorWorks you want to edit the plug-ins, edit the defaults libraries, edit templates and so on. All these things require you to find the VectorWorks folder. If you don’t know a shortcut, you have to open the hard-drive, find the Applications folder, then find the VectorWorks folder...
A really quick way to do this is to hold down the apple key on the keyboard then click on your copy of VectorWorks in the dock. It takes you straight to your VectorWorks folder.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
It’s been a busy week this week, so I haven’t had a lot of time to think about what to say. I’ve been helping a client with interiorCAD for the last two weeks. I’ve been on site with the staff for about 1 ½ hrs every day and now we are at the part where we connect to the CNC machine. I made a small change to set up in interiorCAD and the parts for the unit came into WoodWOP perfectly, not only that but they can be used directly in WoodNEST as well to optimise the parts on the boards. After a couple of weeks of training it’s all working out well.
A couple of issues have come up:
• memory - some people are trying to run VectorWorks and interiorCAD with a small amount of memory, you should have at least 1GB of memory to run VectorWorks or interiorCAD. Yes, you can manage on less but you are running a business. Surely it’s not about just managing, I thought the issue was about giving you and your staff the right tools for the job. I added 512MB of ram to my PC yesterday, it cost me $115NZ. That’s not a lot of money to keep VectorWorks running happily.
• screen size - I have been teaching VectorWorks to people that have a 15” monitor (1024x768 resolution). This is OK for my laptop, I only use it on the road, but my main machine has much more screen area than that. I use 2 monitors on my main machine, each one set to 1280x1024 resolution. This allows me to see a lot more of the drawing in VectorWorks and I can keep the Navigation Palette, Resource Browser and the Object Info Palette all open on the screen. I think that 1280x1024 (17” LCD) is the minimum for running VectorWorks. Get the tools that you need to do the job. The job will be a lot more fun that way...
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Some of you might know that as well as writing manuals and blogs, I also provide VectorWorks training and support for my clients and I run the VectorWorks User Group in New Zealand. How valuable is this support?
I was recently chatting to an overseas client on the internet. He has been using VectorWorks for a while but he has decided to invest in some training. After about ½ an hour training he said, “Oh, that’s cool. You’ve just saved me about 20mins a day!”
Think about that, 60 mins invested, 20min/day return. In the first week the return is 1hr and 20 mins. In the first month the return is 6 ½ hrs! Now, not every training session has such good returns, some training sessions will teach you how to do something new, some will reinforce that you are working in the right way.
I have some users that have been coming to the User Group for several years. They still get one or two tips from the User Group meetings. If you came to a user group once a month and and learned how to save 10 mins a day, it would save you nearly 3 ½ hours a month! Isn’t that worth it?
Sunday, March 12, 2006
A good friend was wondering if it was easy to make 3D details in VectorWorks. I used to this is all the time for small details that would be easier to understand as a 3D view.
We should be asking the building component manufactures to supply us with 3D CAD details. Some of them are starting to look at this but we need to ask them specifically for VectorWorks details so that they learn how many of us there are.
To quote my friend:
“The rational of this being, that as so many details in NZS 3604 are shown as 3D drawings to be able to easily create 3D details like post/beam junction complete with Bomac brackets, washers, bolts & nuts, would be very advantageous. And further, with the greater attention to flashings in E2, to be able to create these little darlings as 3D models in VectorWorks would also be wonderful. Like figure 13 from NZBC E2/AS1. (parapet to wall junction including saddle flashing). It will make it easier to get approval for the drawings, as it will be easier for the approving officer to see what you mean.”
And I guess this means it will be easier for the builder as well...
Thursday, March 02, 2006
When you use the roof framer, VectorWorks calls a text file that contains your standard roof framing sizes. This text file can be edited outside VectorWorks which makes it quicker to edit, and you can copy and paste between files. On a Mac this file is stored in:
your user name > Library > Application Support > VectorWorks > 12 > Plug-ins > VW_Arch > Data > here are the files.
I opened up the files in a simple text editor and edited the file. I got rid of all the sizes that I didn’t want and added the sizes that I wanted. Now it has al my standard sizes in it, and when I reinstall VectorWorks, I still have the sizes that I want.
I haven’t found these files on a windows machine but I will look today. If someone wants to email me and tell me, I’ll update this blog.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Friday, February 17, 2006
I had a phone call yesterday from a friend of mine. He was having trouble with the compose command. He’s tracing over the site plan with lines then filleting the corners and composing the shape.
I suggested to him that it would be a lot easier to use the Polygon tool to trace over the shape and then use the fillet tool, or use the 2D Reshape tool, to modify the shape to suit the site plan. It would be quicker and it removes the need to compose the shape at the end.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Now you should work on a real project. Working on a real projects will put you under pressure to finish. This will help you to apply the skills that you have learned.
To improve your skill you should attend user group meetings and courses. The VectorWorks users that attend the user groups get better every month.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Preferences in VectorWorks are user choices that can change the way that VectorWorks appears to work, can change the way that drawings appear and can control some of the keyboard shortcuts.
There are two sorts of Preferences in VectorWorks, VectorWorks Preferences that affect all the files and Document Preferences that control settings specific to a file.
There are several preferences to choose from and the choices depend on your way of drawing. We will be covering Preferences in the first user group meeting this year, to be held in February.
Document Context where you right click away from everything;
Object Context where you right click on an object.
One of the commands I use a lot is Add Surface. I used to have a keyboard shortcut for this, but that means taking your hand off the mouse. I added this command to the right-mouse using the Workspace Editor. Now when I want to use Add Surface, I can right-mouse click and choose Add Surface straight away.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
There are other reasons, and I’ll cover these as I have an example to write about.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
For more information check out the web site :