Saturday, December 07, 2013

Back to Basics - Editing Exercises with Vectorworks

It is easy to forget these basic techniques unless you practice them. The other day I was helping a client with a complex shape. The shape needed stretching, but when they used the Selection tool, it had the effect of changing the shape. What they really needed was the Reshape tool (refer to the exercise called Stretch).This is why it is so important to keep your basic skills up to date.
In another case, a client was asking about a tool that would remove an unwanted portion of a line back to a boundary object (Trim tool). I have several examples, but they all have the same basis, it is important to keep your basic training up do date.
Often when I see users struggling, they are not struggling so much with the advanced features of Vectorworks, they are often struggling with the basic tools and concepts. That is why we are going to have some back to basics sessions. This manual session is looking at editing tools from the Basic tool set and editing commands from the Modify menu. 
Basic Editing Tools
These exercises are designed to teach you how to use the basic editing tools in Vectorworks. Some people think of these exercises are too simple for them, so they don’t complete them. This is a mistake. These exercises are designed to show you the different options that are available for each tool.

The things you learn in this exercise will be important regardless of what you do in Vectorworks, so it’s important for you to complete these exercises and understand the tools that they cover.

If you don’t use Vectorworks for a little while it’s also useful to come back and repeat these exercises to refresh your memory on how these tools work.

In the manual you get an exercise file that is divided up into a series of layers. Each layer has a series of points on it for carrying out specific exercises and instructions for carrying out the exercise. The instructions are listed below and repeated on the drawings. There is a picture of the tool that you are supposed to use for the exercise.

The exercises are designed to teach you how to draw things in VectorWorks. Each tool that you choose in VectorWorks has options about how you use that tool. The options are shown on the Tool bar. The purpose of these exercises is to get you to use each option (mode) for each tool, and to learn how to use each tool.

When you have completed the instructions on the first layer go to the layer button and choose the next layer down in the list. Do the same for all the layers until you get to the bottom of the layer list.


This tool is used to copy attributes from an object and apply them to other objects that may or may not be selected. This is a very powerful tool and can be used to copy more than just the graphic attributes.

Select Similar

This tool will select all objects that are similar. This makes it easy to select all of your walls, without accidentally selecting other objects.

When you open the Preferences dialog box from the Tool bar, you will see all the options for choosing how similar objects are. The objects can be similar based on the object type, the class, or a combination of object and class. 
You will notice in this image that there are many more choices besides class and object.
You can also save your favorite settings making it easy to restore them.

Attribute Mapping

The attribute mapping tool can be used to adjust your graphics ( hatches, gradients, etc.) as well as being able to adjust textures and decals.

Reshape Tool

This is one of the most powerful tools that you need to learn and Vectorworks. Not only do you use this tool to reshape polygons, you also use it to reshape all polygon-based objects (plants, roofs, site models, etc.).
Also refer to the exercise called Stretch. It also uses the reshape tool.

Rotate Tool

This tool is used to rotate objects, groups, symbols, etc. Do not use this tool to rotate your view. You can rotate the selected object, or by changing your options in the Tool bar, you can rotate a copy of the selected object.

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