Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vectorworks e-Stores

For a long time, it has been hard to find a Vectorworks e-store that sells a good range of 3rd-party training and plug-ins for Vectorworks. There is vectordepot, which has been throughly updated. But what has really been missing is an electronic store, like amazon, where you can buy what you want for Vectorworks. 

It seems they are like London buses. Nothing for ages, then two come along at once...

There is a great e-store for the UK and Europe, at This store is an old friend of mine from when I used to work in London, so I know it can be trusted. You will find them  really knowledgeable with Vectorworks, and they provide great support and training. They have just set up the e-store for automated purchasing. Look for this store to expand its line of products. 

There is a fantastic new e-store from the New Zealand Vectorworks Distributor, Megabits Trust. This store covers training, manuals, courses and additions to Vectorworks (plug-ins). I have enjoyed working with megabits for over 12 years now, and I throughly recommend them. The megabits site is becoming a one-stop shop to get the best from Vectorworks. They have printed manuals, electronic movie based manuals, short manuals, online training courses and the best of the commercial plug-ins to expand you Vectorworks. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Vectorworks Position in Auckland, New Zealand

DesignTRIBE are currently seeking two experienced draftspeople/ technicians to join us in our team to work on an exciting tertiary development drafting package for 4-6 month contract from mid-May.

One position is available for architectural graduate/ draftsperson with 5 years min. local experience, and one position for technician with 8-10 years min experience.

Must be able to work in a team, have a good sense of humour, and have had experience with Vectorworks
Please contact by Friday 30 April, with CV and examples of recent work.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Diehl Technology LLC releases TABULUS 2010 Service Pack

Diehl Technology LLC releases TABULUS 2010 Service Pack 1, introducing new spreadsheet organization tools


Michael Bendler
VP, Sales & Marketing
Diehl Technology LLC

Columbia, Maryland, April 21, 2010—Diehl Technology LLC announced the release of TABULUS 2010 Service Pack 1, The Table Oriented Spreadsheet software for Microsoft Windows.

Service Pack 1 (SP1) is the first of 3 quarterly releases planned by the company this year. SP1 introduces several new organization tools to assist users in organizing their data: Summarize, Create groups from Columns, and Filtering. SP1 also contains a number of fixes and other feature improvements like new Calendar display options.

TABULUS is for spreadsheets users who want a simple solution to their more complex spreadsheet and business modeling needs. TABULUS combines the flexibility of a traditional spreadsheet with the structured approach developed for databases and financial products, to produce a more reliable, more maintainable solution to spreadsheet needs.

TABULUS contains an OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) style database suitable for Business Modeling and analysis of a variety of business data. TABULUS uses the structure of the model to create professional quality presentations automatically without tediously setting each cell attributes.

The ‘drag and drop’ feature is the most efficient and effective means of moving information around the interface. I think any accountant, bookkeeper, controller or CFO who operates in multi-dimensional corporate environment and must get data quickly and accurately needs to have TABULUS within reach on a daily basis” says Tony Philips, TPJaveton Enterprises

Traditional spreadsheet errors can be caused by simple copy and paste of cells, blocks of cells, deletion or insertion of rows, and columns. Business decisions based off of incorrect spreadsheet data can cost an organization exponentially by the time the error is caught. TABULUS changes all of that with tables which can easily be dragged around and placed where needed within the file and worked with separately or together.

To increase accuracy and save time, use the built-in formulas. TABULUS reduces formula maintenance by over 95%, because single formulas can be applied to thousands of cells at the same time, and common formulas such as sums are written and maintained by the system. Fewer formulas save time as well as reduce the need to check for errors. Read our report, “10 Ways to reduce spreadsheet errors”.

To try the FREE 30 day trial of TABULUS 2010, visit

TABULUS 2010 is $495 USD per license and $195 each additional year maintenance.

About Diehl Technology LLC please visit
TABULUS 2010®, Diehl Technology LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Mr. Diehl remains Chairman of Nemetschek North America, makers of Vectorworks. Vectorworks is a registered trademark of Nemetschek North America, Inc. ###

archoncad Newsletter May 2010

Welcome to the May edition of the archoncad newsletter. The theme this month is how to help your business. Learning is important. If you wanted to cut down a tree, you'd use a sharp chainsaw. Learning is like sharpening the saw.
  1. Training is always important, and free training always seems to be popular. This month we will be looking at the Stair Tools. Click on this link for details.
  2. Each week the guys at Vectorworking ( create a news digest. The digest is a round up all the news and links they can find for Vectorworks. Check it out at the Vectorworking site, down on the left-hand side. While you are there, become a member of Vectorworking, it's an open community for all of us and there is some valuable information there.
  3. VectorWorks offers the possibility of creating spreadsheets within the drawing. That means you can count things, create databases, extract information. Read more...
  4. I can help you with one-on-one consultancy and customization. Let me help you to get get better and have more fun with Vectorworks. Email me, or skpye me for details, and don't forget about the online courses starting in May 2010
  5. Book Review - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The seven habits are so important to not just your business, but also your life. So, you could say that is book is not just a business book. Read More...

Jonathan Pickup
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Inicio rápido de Vectorworks 2010 (Capacitación Corta) (Spanish Edition) (Kindle Edition)

Bienvenido a Guía de inicio rápido de VectorWorks 2010. Esta guía le mostrará la forma rápida de empezar aprender las habilidades básicas en VectorWorks 2010. Vamos a trabajar en unos ejercicios que explicaran los conceptos básicos, formas de trabajar y cómo dibujar con rapidez en 2D. Tabla de Contenidos Introducción Configurar su Dibujo Configurar el área del dibujo Unidades del Dibujo Escala del Dibujo Configuracion del Smart Cursor Creando información en Vectorworks Creación de un Rectangul Dibujar con la Barra de Datos Flotantes Dibujar con Cuadros de Diálogo Selección y Deselección Selección Selección de Multiples Objectos Deselección Elimiar Objectos Aplicar Atributos Gráficos Dimensiones

This manual is a very quick start to using Vectorworks 2010. This manual is ideal for users that want to understand the basic concepts behind Vectorworks 2010, translated into spanish Table of Contents Getting Started Set Up Your Drawing Drawing Setup Drawing Units Drawing Scale Smart Cursor Settings Creating Information in Vectorworks Creating a Rectangle Drawing With The Floating Data Bar Drawing With Dialog Boxes Selecting and De-Selecting Selecting Selecting Multiple Objects De-selecting Deleting Objects Applying Graphic Attributes Dimensions

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Should Vectorworks be Used in Schools?

Should Vectorworks focus on High Schools?

The answer is that Vectorworks simply cannot afford NOT to focus on High Schools.

It my belief, that Vectorworks should be actively involved in schools, high schools and universities.
A good friend of mine (and a lecturer at Unitec in Auckland) used to say to me, “Jonathan, what you need to do is to get their mindshare. Get their mindshare, market share will follow” 

I wrote my first Vectorworks manual for schools for Vectorworks version 8.5. That was some time ago, but we needed support from Vectorworks and its distributors to make this a success. I updated this for Vectorworks version 11 and Vectorworks 12.5.  Several schools have purchased this system from me and have had great results. Imagine, a high school student that learned Vectorworks 11 in 2004, would now be graduating university, and most likely, using Vectorworks commercially.

Design and Technology is being taught at high school, almost from the first year at high school. The students are no longer waiting until university to learn CAD, they are learning from year 11 onwards. At least two universities have said to me that is not their job to teach CAD The universities are looking to high schools to teach CAD. If Vectorworks does not focus their energy on getting Vectorworks into high schools, the users will be learning other CAD programs and Vectorworks will have to move users from these other programs. It isn't too late to attach this market and give the students a better alternative. 

I have recently been helping a high school friend that wanted to use Vectorworks for a project. By using the 3D Modeling manual and Essential Tutorial Manual he was able to create a really cool coffee machine. This was a major project for him, and he was able to create orthographic drawings, a product range and a movie. Now that he has achieved so much with Vectorworks, isn’t it likely that he will carry on with it?

Here is another example… In 2008 we put up a series of posters in a New Zealand  University Landscape Design School promoting Vectorworks and downloadable student copies, we made student copies available through a web site portal and we did demos to students and lecturers.

Today we got an order from a student who had downloaded in the last year and now wants a full licence for his work.

This just shows that if you can get their mindshare on then orders and loyalty will follow.

When Vectorworks users look for employees, make sure you advertise in the newspaper and on the Internet. Schools, and especially universities, use these adverts to choose the software they will be teaching or supporting. Make sure Vectorworks gets a mention.

What about getting you, the readers – who are all Vectorworks users and enthusiasts – to contact your local schools to urge the administrations to consider Vectorworks as a software of choice for their design courses. Who better to demonstrate the value of Vectorworks training than real-world users?

archoncad now has a dedicated Special Interest Group for Teachers and Educators.
Click here to find out more...

Book Review - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Book Review - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I have read this book more than once, and I rate this book very highly. I have the audiobook version of this as well, so I can hear the book in the car or in when I'm doing something else, like bike riding.

The seven habits are so important to not just your business, but also your life. So, you could say that is book is not just a business book, it is about creating a highly effective lifestyle.  Stephen R Covey uses the phrase highly effective rather than successful, because the book is about achieving what you want, which other may not see as successful.

When you first look at the habits, they seem like common sence. As Stephen R Covey says, common sense is not always common practice.  Here are some of the my favorites:

  • Be Proactive
  • Start with the end in mind
  • Put first things first
  • Think Win/Win
  • Sharpen the Saw

The reason I read this book so often it that it helps me to get myself back on track, and put the important things first (not always money). This book also helps me to think about my business and when I look at my copy, the margins are full of notes and ideas.

Do yourself a favor, read this book.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Vectorworks Tutorials on Amazon Kindle

I finally got my hands on my very own Amazon Kindle. It has some wonderful features, and I am really enjoying it. Before I go too far, a big thank you to Roger W. for helping me to get the Kindle.

When you first buy a Kindle online, you buy it through your Amazon account. When you do this, amazon then links the Kindle to your account. So far, this doesn't sound very unusual, but when you get your Kindle and open it, it knows who the owner of the Kindle is, it comes pre-linked to your account. The great part of this is that it when you buy a kindle book on the Internet, iphone, blackberry, PC or mac, the book is wireless delivered to you Kindle. You do not have to ask for it, you do not have to approve it. It just arrives.

While I was waiting for my Kindle, I bought a few books on my Kindle for iphone application. When the kindle arrived, I had to charge the battery, but then when it was going, the books started to arrive, wirelessly, directly to the kindle. I think this is the part I really like.

The screen on the Kindle is very good for reading. It uses an E Ink screen. This type of screen is great in sunlight, room light and so on, but it is not backlit, so it needs a light source. So, for normal book reading, it's great. It's a shame that it is a grey-scale screen. All my nice color images that I fill up my manuals with are displayed in grey-scale and are not as readable as they a computer.

One of the things I really like is the ability to open a book or a manual on the kindle and read it for a while. then sync the kindle, and go to the computer. When you sync the computer and open the same book, you are on the same page you left on your kindle.

When you open a kindle book on your phone or computer, you see the images in color. You can get a Kindle app for the iphone, blackberry and ipad. So, the problem with the  greyscale kindle screen doesn't apply.

 I can't try my manuals on the ipad, but I have seen them on an iphone. The look good on the iphone, they must be amazing on the ipad.

A really important technique with a kindle book is the ability to add notes and comments. Often when I'm reading a good book on business, I have a thought on how I can use what I am learning. I'm terrible with books that I own, they have pencil comments all over the margins. With a kindle book, and it doesn't matter what device you are using, you can write notes and comments on it. When you sync, the notes are available on all devices. The Amazon web site says that annotation on the mac will be available soon, but I can certainly do this on the kindle and iphone.

You do not need a Kindle from Amazon to read kindle books. Amazon have made apps for several devices, so you can use your current computer, phone and tablet to read kindle books. This site has all the apps. Get yours today.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Batch Convert Your Old Vectorworks Files to 2010

I have been helping a friend with setting up the User Folder. I noticed as I helped him, that several of his old library files had not been converted to Vectorworks 2010. This happens to me every time I update my version of Vectorworks. There is a solutions though, Vectorworks has a batch convert command. 

Go to the Menu Bar.
Choose  File > Batch Convert...

Choose the folder for the start location.
Choose the folder for the end. 
Click OK.

This will convert all the files in the source folder and place them in the destination folder. This should let you covert all the library files in your old version of Vectorworks and place them in the the new location, for the new version of Vectorworks. 

Vector-workout Guide to Visualization with Vectorworks 2010

I have started to work on a visualization manual for Vectorworks 2010, called the Vector-workout Guide to Visualization. The idea of this manual is to cover 4 main areas that come to together for a rendered view:
  1. Preparation
  2. Lighting
  3. Textures
  4. Rendering
I have made some progress on the setting out and structure of the manual, but I wanted to get feedback from reader and users. I want to know if I am missing topics, have I got the right mix of topics, do I need more movies in an area, would this manual be useful, should there be more task-based problems explained.

Please, give me your comments.

Here is the suggested Table of Contents:
Setting a View with Set 3D View  
Renderworks Camera  
Saved Views  
Camera Match  
Create 3D Objects  
Edit 3D Objects  
Add 3D Objects  
Websites For 3D Models  
Adding Floors and Ceiling  
Set Lighting Options  
Background Lighting  
Set Sun Position  
Placing a Directional Light  
Placing a Point Light  
Placing a Spot Light  
Placing a Custom Light  
Placing a Line Light  
Placing an Area Light  
How to Make Area Lights Glow 
Don’t Place Too Many Lights 
Creating A Simple Texture - Granite 
Editing a Simple Texture - Reflectivity
Editing a Simple Texture - Transparency 
Editing a Simple Texture - Glass 
Editing a Simple Texture - Bump Rendering 
Hidden Line Rendering 
Dashed Hidden Line Rendering 
OpenGL Rendering 
OpenGL Options 
Custom Renderworks
Final Quality Renderworks
Custom Radiosity
Final Quality Radiosity

201 Vectorworks Landmark Course

I have a 201 Vectorworks Landmark course starting next week. This course is ideal for Vectorworks users that want to draw their landmark projects in 3D. I think that drawing your projects in 3D is very important. I have one client that moved form 2D plans to 3D presentations. They found that the conversion rate from concept to construction on site went from 40% for the 2D drawings to 90% for the 3D presentation.

In this course, we start with a blank file. This is to show you how to set up your drawing, units and dimensions. Then we will create a site plan using the Property Line tool. This is a great tool for drawing a property because it uses surveyor's bearings.

Next we create a 3D site and a quick building with doors and windows. This gives you the context for your landscape.

Then we draw a deck addition to the building, add the planting and hardscape and set up our 3D views and make drawings.

You can book for this course, at this site

Weekly Vectorworks News Digest - at Vectorworking

I was talking to my friends at Vectorworking ( yesterday. We were, of course, talking about Vectorworks. They asked me if I had looked at the Vectorworks News Digest. I had to admit that I had never seen it.

The Vectorworks News digest is a weekly roundup of all the Vectorworks news they can find. It is in a Digest format, which mens you get a heading and a link. This format works well for looking over a vast range of information for the topics that interest you.

Here is a sample from the current digest....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Using Colors for Line Weight in Vectorworks

I have just had a call from a client about using classes in Vectorworks to control line weight. When users come from AutoCAD,  they are often used to using Color by Layer. This allows the user to see the line weights of the lines on the drawings by the color of the lines.

This post has been moved to here...

Vector Depot gets Makeover - Plug-ins for Vectorworks

There is a third party site where you can find shared Vectorworks objects, tools, hatches and plug-in objects,

I have recommended this site several times, and now the site has had a makeover, to make the site easier to navigate and find what you want. The reason this site is so useful is the amount of stuff you can find here. Many of the products are free and there are some you have to pay for.

For example, there are a couple of tools to help you to improve your drawings. One of the tools is a drawing label object, and the other tool is one of mine, that Mike Moore in Australia updated to work in viewports.

We have made these tools free so you can download them and start using them. We have also made them open source so you can see how they were made and learn to make your own. Maybe you can make the tools better and share them back.

There are a huge range of things that people have shared.  This shows just a small amount of the symbols you can get from VectorDepot. There are so many, I can't list them all, you need to visit this site and look through the symbols that are available.

VectorDepot is not just for the latest Vectorworks. There are a huge number of old tools for older versions of Vectorworks. I have used several of these, and I still use a few of these tools in my current version of Vectorworks (2010), so don't forget to look at the older plug-ins.

There has been some discussion lately about the support for 3rd party things for Vectorworks. This i s a long-standing 3rd party site that supports Vectorworks.

Please support this site!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Productivity is Not Just About Speed

I have just spend several minutes with the designer of the Landru Design tools, Andrew Dunning. These tools are designed for the entertainment industry and they are fantastic. I interviewed Andrew so that he could show me the tools, but during the interview, it struck me that he tools offered a lot of feedback to the designer.

The interview was so long, it had to be broken into two parts.
Part one:

Part two:

What struck me during the interview was the ability to see the results of your choices. For example, when Andrew was showing the projector screen in part one, you can see the viewing area of the projector in plan. this allows you to see the results of your choices. If you had the seating layout on the plan, you would see the area or seating covered. If the projector is too small, not everyone will be able to see the screen, and that will be very easy to see in plan.

So, within seconds of making your choices on the projector tool, you have visual feedback about the results of your choices.

The speaker tool has the same visual feedback in plan, and in 3D, so you can quickly check your design to make sure the audience will get adequate sound.

These tools made me think about productivity, and I think Andrew and I talked about it in the interview. This feedback that Andrew's tools provide can make it faster and easier to design a good presentation. But is productivity really just about speed. I can see the feedback you get from these tools can make your designs better; in a short time you could try several designs until you have the solution you want. So, you can improve the quality of your work. I think that improving the quality of your work is as important as improving the speed of your work. In the long run, the quality of your work is the most important thing, far more important than the speed.

What about landscape and architects? You may not be needing the tools that Andrew has created, but you have other tools that can help you improve the quality of your work. Building a 3D model of your site, adding simple 3D models of your project and checking the solar study will help you to improve the quality of the project. You can see within a few minutes if the project can be lived in the way you wanted.

I think that the true test of increased productivity when using CAD (like Vectorworks) is an increase in quality as well as an increase in speed. Training is a why to learn the best from your software, and I can help you to get the best from Vectorworks. See my web site:

Friday, April 02, 2010

Posting Comments

I want to encourage you to follow this blog if you are reading it. Click on the Follow button, so you can find out when I have updated the blog.

I would love to have your comments. What topics would you like? What topics do you want me to stay away from?

Thanks for visiting, Jonathan

Introduction to Worksheets in Vectorworks 2008-2010

VectorWorks offers the possibility of  creating spreadsheets within the drawing.  That means you can count things, create databases, extract information from objects and do mathematical operations and functions without having to leave VectorWorks.

This post has been relocated...

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Jonathan Pickup to visit USA

After too many years, I am planning a return to USA for a short trip in mid-June 2010. The aim of the trip is to meet many of the people I have been working with, and to meet user groups. I will start my trip on the east coast around Philadelphia, Maryland and NYC.

If you have a user group, please get in touch with me, I'd love to come and share my knowledge of Vectorworks with you. I am planning on coming to NYC to meet the user group. If you are in NYC, get in touch with the user group there and tell them you are interested, book your place now!

If you are in eastern PA, get in touch with Steve  and tell him you want to be there. We should have a lot of fun, i was at Steve's group today over skype. It should be a lot better to be in person. 

If you are in Maryland, New Jersey, Philadelphia, or nearby, get in touch with your local user group. I would like to talk to them about having me visit. I will in in San Francisco or Fresno from 24-27 June. 

If you would be willing to show me around you office, or town, get in touch with me. One reason for my trip is to look at the way people use Vectorworks. If you have a multi-user environment and you would to show me how you use Vectorworks, I'd like to listen. If you would like to show me round your town, then please get in touch. 

I am currently looking for sponsors and hosts. If you can help please email me