Service Pack 3 released for VectorWorks 2009

March 31, 2009

Nemetschek released Service Pack 3 for VectorWorks 2009. This may be old news as the notification was sent out on March 26. You can find out more about the Service Pack and decide if you should install it by checking out the Nemetschek web site

Or if you just want to get right to the install, run VectorWorks and go to the “About VectorWorks” dialog box and click “Check for Updates.” This upgrade is available only for professional licenses according to Nemetschek.

PodCAD Podcast

March 24, 2009

Don’t miss episode 813 of the PodCad PodCast. Get it at the iTunes store or directly from

Also, scroll down for an important Welcome message from the author.

The Drawing Title Tool and Viewports

March 24, 2009

Did you know that the DRAWING TITLE tool can automatically display the name of the drawing that you are titling along with the correct scale of that drawing? Heres how; select the DRAWING TITLE tool and then select the Preferences Button to get to the Object Properties for this tool. (A Preference Button can be found for all tools that have parameters that you can pre-set, which is almost every tool, on the tool bar. It is always located at the right end of the row of buttons. Sometimes it is the only button). Now that you have the Object Properties open for this tool, you can set “Dwg Title:” to “DETAIL.” and set “Scale Display Style:” to “Scale Label” and click “OK.”

Now the trick is to insert the DRAWING TITLE into the ANNOTATIONS of the viewport. You did take the time when you made your viewports to name them properly didn’t you? If you did, when you place the object it will display the name of the viewport and the scale of the viewport. Also, when you place the next DRAWING TITLE in the next viewport, it automatically numbers the bubble for you in succession. For example, if you were setting up a detail sheet.

One caveat, if you change the name of your viewport, the DRAWING TITLE object does not automatically update itself to the new name. You have to enter the ANNOTATIONS of the viewport and change the objet manually from the Object Info Pallette.

Need help with ANNOTATIONS and VIEWPORTS? Just Ask!

Borders and Title Blocks

March 24, 2009

I was recently asked by a colleague why I kept the border and title block in a separate file from other building files. “Great question” I said with enthusiasm! As you know, there are certain elements to a title block that are consistently the same on all sheets, and there are some elements that are different. For example, the border, lines that make up the title block, logo, client information, and issue date typically are identical from sheet to sheet. Items such as the title of the sheet, the sheet, number, and revision information are things that are typically unique to every sheet. Therefore, I put all the information that stays the same from sheet to sheet in a file by itself and use WORKGROUP REFERENCING to insert that border & title block sheet into all the other files. If the date of the drawings change and you want that new issue date reflected on all sheets, it is a matter of simply editing one single instance of that date in one single file in one single place. Also, once client information is entered into this one instance of the title block, it will appear consistently throughout the set of plans. No more worrying about things like fonts being different sizes on different sheets; misspellings in the title block on some sheets but not others; the wrong date appearing on some sheets while the correct date shows up on others. You simply enter everything once, spell check it once, and you have a clean, coordinated, consistent set of drawings. You can even put locus at the places you want to insert individual text on individual sheets. For example, you might want to put a LOCUS in the center of the block for the sheets number, and a LOCUS in the center of the box for the sheet title, etc. so when you place the individual text on each sheet, it all appears in the same place from sheet to sheet.

“But how do I get the border and title block onto my sheet?” he asked. Once you have the layer that has your title block WORKGROUP REFERENCED into your drawing, you then create a viewport of the title block on the sheet that you want the title block to appear on.

Need help with WORKGROUP REFERENCING or creating VIEWPORTS? Post a comment and we can dive right in.

Welcome to the VectorSphere!

March 20, 2009

Well, this is my first post and I’m very excited to be getting started. The purpose of this site is to discuss anything and everything that has to do with VectorWorks with particular focus on tips, tricks, rants, and raves. I hope that this blog will become a collaborative educational resource for VectorWorks users everywhere. I’m also interested in “wish list” items that you might have in mind. With any luck, we can get the attention of Nemetschek and get them to incorporate the most wanted features. Don’t forget to check out the links at the right hand side of this page. If you have a link that you think I should include, please e-mail it to me for consideration.

Here is a brief history of my VectorWorks experience. I started using VectorWorks in 1989 when it was called MiniCad. I started with whatever version was current at the time. I think it was a flavor of version 6 but some sources tell me it was a flavor of version 4. Whichever the case, I upgraded from version 6 to version 8. From there I didn’t upgrade until version 11, then 12, then 2008. I have not upgraded to version 2009 yet, and a source close to Nemetschek tells me that I should probably hold out for version 2010. More on that later along with my take on Nemetschek making the move to an annual upgrade model. I prefer the Mac platform, especially for working in VectorWorks, however I have had a little experience working in VectorWorks on the PC platform. I’ve been using Apple computers since 1985 and have PC experience dating back to about the mid 90’s. For a more detailed background on me, please check out my “About BJP” page. You can also learn more about me and see examples of my work at

I’m not really a negative person but I want to start out with a rant of mine regarding the annual upgrade model that Nemetschek has imposed. But before I get into it too far, I’d like to say that I am dedicated to VectorWorks and as far as I can tell I will never convert. I’ve used SketchUp, ArchiCAD, and AutoCAD, and various other low level CAD programs, and I can honestly say, VectorWorks is the best of all CAD worlds! On to my rant… I’m angry that Nemetschek has moved to an annual upgrade schedule for many reasons. The main one is that now when they release a new version, all production and big fixes stop completely on the old version. As everyone knows, including Nemetschek, not all the bugs are worked out of a previous version before they move on. Version 12.5 was the closest to being bug free, I believe. Most software companies continue to develop and create bug fixes for at least one version prior to the current one. In some case even two or three versions back. Nemetschek doesn’t even fix anything one version back. If you use VW2008, and there are features that don’t work, you are out of luck. They will NEVER work. If you want those features fixed you are FORCED to upgrade. And there is no guaranty that the features you were having problems with in a previous version will be fixed in the current version. It’s a crap shoot. Roll the dice!

Okay, so now you’ve gotten over your anger and psychotic rage and decided to upgrade. Guess what, most of you are probably in the same boat as I am. Not only are you forced to upgrade just to fix a few features that may or may not work in the newer version, but now you have to buy new hardware because your current system doesn’t meet the system requirements to run the newest version of VW. This makes my blood boil! Mr. Diehl, what were you thinking???

I want to know how YOU feel about this topic? Please leave me a comment with your rants or raves. Is this a good business model or is Nemetschek taking advantage of it’s current customer base? What do YOU think?