Sunday, May 31, 2009

Excited About the Future of Vectorworks?

When wall styles first came out, people asked to the ability to put the wall components on different classes. We got that in Vectorworks 2008.
When landscapers complained that placing large areas of planting was unworkable, we got the Landscape Area tool in 2009.
When architects complained that the roof framer could not place purlins on top of rafters, we got that ability in Vectorworks 2009. 
I don’t know what the future of Vectorworks is, but I do know the people that make Vectorworks listen to the users, so you should tell them what the future of Vectorworks should be. The community board is a great place to tell NNA what you think is missing, so they can think about adding it:
It takes a while for suggestions to make it into Vectorworks, but don’t despair. Sometimes new ideas are quick to arrive, sometimes they take time. 
So, am I excited about the future of Vectorworks? 
Yes! When NNA listens to users I realize we have a long term program that we can invest into. It makes sense for my clients to invest in manuals, courses and al sorts of training. 
Get to the Community Board, get involved in it and help make Vectorworks better. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Exits Group

I thought it was me making a mistake, but others have pointed this out as well. 
If you hit the key twice, you exit groups, viewports, symbol editing and all the other container type objects. So, if you want a quick way to exit groups and so on, this is it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Press Release - Short Sharp Manuals

(Napier, New Zealand) 29 May 2009 Archoncad announces Short Sharp Manuals 

NEW - SHORT SHARP MANUALS - unlock the power of Vectorworks!!!
Archoncad is pleased to announce SHORT SHARP MANUALS - a resource 'library' of concise manuals each exploring a single Vectorworks topic - to show you how to unlock the power of Vectorworks.

This new training resource is designed to sharpen your Vectorworks skills using a single task manual that explores and explains a single area of Vectorworks.
Each SHORT SHARP MANUAL clearly demonstrates key learning tasks and techniques, with 15-25 pages of step-by-step instructions and screenshots. By focusing on single topics, we give you access to new Vectorworks skills and techniques in small meaningful chunks!

Respected Vectorworks training author, Jonathan Pickup said...
"I have a great example of these manuals helping a client. The client found an area of Vectorworks that he was really struggling with - how create an automated room finish schedule. So, he downloaded my SHORT SHARP manual 'Creating a Room Finishes Schedule' and followed the very good description of how to do this. He has found the investment in the manuals to be truly worthwhile and great value to his business.
He also discovered my manual was the only place he could learn how to use this technique, as there does not seem to be any explanation of how to set up an automated Room Finish Schedule in NNA published User Guides, or Professional Learning Series DVD’s, on the VectorWorks web site, in any of the NNA VectorWorks forums or data bases or in any history of the VectorWorks User Discussion List.
This is just one story - there are many other examples of these short sharp manuals unlocking the power of Vectorworks and providing my clients with new services to offer their clients. " 
The Short Sharp manual is published exclusively on-line at There are currently 14 SHORT SHARP Manuals available, and they are quick and easy to download. And they are very economical (exceptional value for money)!

Jonathan Pickup also said... "We will be adding one or two new manuals each month, and welcome feedback and suggestions for future short sharp manual topics. In this way, we will build a fantastic resource for the Vectorworks users community and enable our clients to optimize Vectorworks capability"
For more information, please visit

Jonathan Pickup is an architect trained in New Zealand and in the UK with many years of experience. He has over 15 years of experience in writing and producing Vectorworks manuals and providing customer support. His company, ArchonCAD, is the premier provider of third-party manuals and training resources for Vectorworks.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Jonathan Pickup
follow me on twitter:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Resource Browser Thumbnail view

I’m just writing a section in my new productivity manual, and I remembered this trick. Right now I'm writing about how to make your own stair library. 
The stairs so up on the Resource Browser in plan view if that was the view when you created the symbols. 
They look OK, but what if you wanted to know more the stair?
You can select all the symbols in the Resource Browser.
Right mouse click on one of the symbols. Choose the view you want. All your symbols have the same view. Now I find it easier to see what each stair looks like. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Short Sharp Training Monthly

This month, the Short Sharp Training monthly manual looked at detailing. I have seen several tutorials and tips and tricks for creating drawings, but hardly any for drawing details. Strange really, when we spend so much time on our detailing as architects and landscapers. This month the manual was a big effort, 41 pages! Sometimes I wonder if i am writing too much or covering the wrong information, so it’s nice when I get an email from a subscriber that really likes the monthly manuals and online training. 
Hi Jonathan,
I was in Texas on business during your last presentation, thinking I could join your meeting from there, but alas, it was not to be.  (Way disappointing.) I just finished going through your PDF and its embedded videos, and again, I have to tell you you're great.  I'm amazed how much material you covered in a relatively short time and then managed to write down as well.  Fabulous work which I appreciate immensely.  Hoping that [you are] increasing the number of your subscribers.  Should be! 
The ability to pick up a few productive tricks each month should not be over rated. Most of my experienced users learn a trick or two every month, less experienced users learn a technique that saves them a few minutes a day. A few minutes a day. it doesn’t sound much, until you figure that is 15 mins each week, an hour a month. the next month you learn a new technique and you are saving 2 hours a month, 24 hours a year. 

Vectorworks Library

What is the Vectorworks library? That’s a terrible question really. it should be ”What ARE the Vectorworks libraries? 
Symbol library (which you can store anywhere)
Symbol libraries for tools (stored in the Defaults folder)
Layer and class standards (stored in the Standards folder)
Hatch library (stored in the Defaults folder)
Gradient Library (stored in the Defaults folder)
Wall Style library (stored in the Defaults folder)
The Notes database (which you can store anywhere)
A default template with all the default tool preferences set (stored in the Templates folder). 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Guides - What Are They Good For?

I like guides. They are really useful for helping to draw, for setting out, for setback lines and so on.
Guides are easy to create. Draw a line or any other object, then go to the Menu bar and choose Modify > Guides > Make Guides. Vectorworks turns your objects into guides, moves them onto a class for you and locks the objects so you do not accidently move or delete them.
You can leave the guides turned on in the design layer for working. 

When it comes to a viewport, you can choose to have the guides visible if you want. 
Because the guides are on a class, you can choose to have a viewport with the guides turned off. This allows you to work with the guides turned on in the design layer, but the guides will be invisible for printing. 

Hi, I’m John

I’ve been using Vectorworks since version 10, so I thought I pretty much knew everything. I upgraded to Vectorworks 2009 and thought I would get a few pointers on the upgrade. I was reluctant to employ Jonathan over the Internet to teach me. After all, why not get him here with me for a day or so, I mean how intensive could it be. Really  though, I don’t trust all this new technology, but because I’ve know Jonathan for a long time, I decided to trust him.
“Boy, am I glad I tried this out! I thought I knew a lot about Vectorworks, it turns out i was just playing with it. Jonathan and I had 2 one hour sessions each day. At every session Jonathan was amazing at unlocking the power of Vectorworks and making it easy for me to understand. The online training system with Jonathan works so well, I'm now a true believer of this technology!"  John 
Be like John, get upskilled.
Go to or email to find out more!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Konstrukshon CPD Weblog

I want to recommend this blog for people in the construction industry. It is focused on the UK, but I still find it interesting reading. The guy that writes the blog, Steve Scaysbrook, is a good sort and I often chat with Steve via skype ( 
I don’t know where he gets all his information, but he really has a large spread of information on his blog site. 
Steve recently moved his site and he needs to build support. Please visit and subscribe to his blog. 


I will be running a free online training session called SHORT SHARP TRAINING, covering creating construction details. I ran this session in May and I was overwhelmed by the response. I have decided to offer this session again in June. 
I have seen many tips and tricks on creating drawings, but not many on creating construction drawings. When I was writing the short manual on creating construction drawings, I wanted to cover creating construction details, but I felt that would have made the manual too long. 
So how do you create details? That is what we will be covering. We will need components to assemble into details. These could be pieces of timber (lumber), flashings, weatherboards (siding), fixings, hatching, and so on. Where do you make this stuff and where should you store it?

Can you use your sections to make your details? Should you?
See the calendar for times and dates:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Revisions on Drawings

I saw a a neat trick the other day for controlling revisions on drawings. each revision has a revision cloud, using the Vectorworks revision cloud tool, and a stamp, using the Vectorworks revision stamp. The clouds and bubbles are placed in the Annotation part of each viewport. 
But that is not the neat trick. The neat part is that each cloud and stamp is assigned to a class. So the bubble and stamp for revision A is assigned to the class Revision-A. And the revision B is assigned to the class Revision-B and so on. 
This allows you to control the revision bubbles and stamps from the Object Info palette, by changing the classes on each viewport. 
Once I realized what what was going on, I thought this was really cool. 

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hi, I’m Joe

"I am a sole practitioner, so time and cost are important to me, but worse than that, there is no one else I can ask to do my work. If I'm not at work for a day, my work won't get done, I'll have to work harder to catch up. I've been looking around at other design professionals and I see that others are using CAD to expand their businesses, improve productivity, and to keep their businesses alive in a recession by offering new services. I'm new to Vectorworks and I'm not sure how to make the most from my investment in Vectorworks. The problem with spending two whole days in some stuffy training seminar is that it will cost me two days of lost productivity. The cost of the course is nothing compared the the trouble of making up the two days I'm not at work. Besides, I would be in a large group, how would I get individual attention, the training might go to fast, they might cover too much each day for me to remember. I wish they would arrange these seminars closer to where I work. I see some seminars on the other side of the country, which means I would have to fly, the ones that are closer, still mean hours of driving. What a waste of my time, and at what cost to the environment?
Ideally, I want structured training, in a small group of people so I can get individual attention, in small chunks so I can digest each session, and put into practice what I've learned before I move on to the next session. And I want the training to be close to my office, so close that I don't have to take my car would be good."  Joe 
Archoncad now offers you effective In-Depth Training - when you want it, without leaving the comfort of your office or workspace! Why? Because we want you to get the best from Vectorworks! To become more skilled, productive and creative! And it's truly cost effective!
Go to or email to find out more!

Where should you look for the Best Vectorworks Manuals?

I saw this on the NNA Community Board:
Just to let everyone know that I am making progress on the Room Finish Schedule and am making it work.  There is a very good description as to how to set up a Room Finish Schedule on Jonathan Pickup’s site  Roger has been bugging me to join Jonathan’s user group for quite a while and I finally did so last week.  I found an explanation on how to set up the automated Room Finish Schedule in Issue 0809 September 2008—Room Finishes Schedule and this investment is turning out to be well worth it.
As far as I can tell, there doesn’t seem to be a bug as initially stated by NNA Tech Support.  There also doesn’t seem to be any explanation of how to set up an automated Room Finish Schedule in NNA published User Guides, or Professional Learning Series DVD’s, on the VectorWorks web site, in any of the NNA VectorWorks forums or data bases or in any history of the VectorWorks User Discussion List.  So, Jonathan is providing a much needed learning tool for this issue and I am looking forward to viewing the other learning tools and guides for other issues.  Kudos for Jonathan for doing so (and no he didn’t ask me to plug his site for him!).
So, if you are looking for the best Vectorworks manuals, the manuals that really unlock the power of Vectorworks you need archoncad manuals!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Eyebrow Dormer Window

I’m updating my roofing notes at the moment, and making them into a Productivity Manual. Right now I was looking at a dormer roof. 

If you edit the settings on the dormer you can make an eyebrow dormer. I used the option for the Bat Dormer and played with the settings to get this.