There are a number of settings that can be altered in Vectorworks to increase overall speed and responsiveness. These are most useful for users with older or slower hardware, but even users with powerful or brand new machines can benefit from these tweaks.
Under Tools > Options > Vectorworks Preferences, there are a number of settings that can improve performance directly.
2D Conversion Res:
This option, when set to "Very High" will display the smoothest and cleanest lines in Plan view, but can be particularly taxing on a weak video card. Setting this to "Low" will improve zooming and panning speed significantly, but will not adversely affect the quality of your renders, exports or prints. This option only controls how the drawing is displayed onscreen, not the final product.
If you intend to include multiple rendered viewports or images in your drawing, before you being importing, setting this option to JPEG instead of PNG will improve zooming and panning speed significantly at the cost of the display resolution of those images and viewports. As with 2D Conversion Res, this does not affect final printouts, just the objects you see onscreen in Vectorworks.
Zoom Line Thickness:
With this option enabled, zooming in and out on lines that have specific thicknesses set will display as if you looked at them on printed paper with a magnifying glass, thicker lines will become much thicker at higher zoom levels. When disabled, all lines appear the same at any zoom level. This option does not affect printing and PDF export, the lines will still be printed with the specified thickness regardless.
Use VectorCaching for faster drawing:
This option allows Vectorworks to cache complex polylines or hatches in your systems RAM. Speed will increase in regards to zooming or panning around a document, but significantly more RAM will be utilized.
If you are on a machine with very little memory available (usually 2GB or less) you would normally want this disabled as it can actually slow the drawing down even more. If you have 4GB of memory or more, this will usually improve your drafting experience.
GDI Imaging / Quartz Imaging:
On Mac and Windows, this setting is controlled by different types of technology. On Windows it is called GDI Imaging, on a Mac its labeled Quartz Imaging. Regardless of the name, they essentially behave the same.
Disabling this option will increase zooming, panning and drafting speed, but it has a few adverse effects. With this option turned off, the following functions of Vectorworks are disabled:
- Rounded line ends
- Fills in Planar 3D objects
- Individual Object Opacity
- Layer Transparency
- X-ray fills mode
This option is only available when GDI/Quartz Imaging is enabled. Anti Aliasing will attempt to smooth the edges of objects for a smoother appearance at the cost of performance. Panning, Zooming and Rendering in Wireframe or OpenGL may take longer with this option enabled.
Use Enhanced Navigation Graphics:
This option does not affect printed or exported output, but can considerably improve how Vectorworks appears when zooming, panning or moving objects. The enhanced graphics can dramatically slow down an older machine or one with a limited integrated graphics card, if you encounter slowness, you should disable this option. If this option is unavailable or grayed out, then your graphics hardware is incapable of supporting this feature at all.
Maximum number of undos:
This controls how many undo actions will be stored when working in Vectorworks. Normally this can be set at 25 and left alone. Setting this to higher amounts will slow down Vectorworks dramatically, expecially in large files.
These options will only affect 3D views, renderings and objects. These options primarily affect the speed of general 3D drafting in Vectorworks. They can all be set to their lowest settings and dramatically improve use on a slower machine.
Keep in mind that all of the options in this tab only affect what objects look like in Wireframe or OpenGL rendering modes. In Final Quality Renderworks or the other more advanced modes for example; the detail of objects will be controlled by the individual settings for that rendering mode, instead of this tab.
This controls how 3d objects will appear in flyover mode. The further this is slid to Detailed, the more Vectorworks will try to display all of the details of the model during the actual rotation process. This does not affect what objects look like when not being rotated by the flyover tool.
Retain Rendering Model:
When rotating via the flyover tool, some complex objects will revert to generic shapes or cubes until rotation is complete. If this bar is slid to never, nearly all objects will quickly become simple blocks in order to get the fastest rotation response time. If slid to Always, Vectorworks will try to keep objects rendered as they are flown around as much as possible.
3D conversion resolution:
This determines how much detail is applied to 3d objects in wireframe or in the openGL render mode. Low will draw very few vertices but will respond the fastest, Very High will draw as many vertices as possible, but can be slower on inadequate hardware. A very powerful machine can have this set to Very High with no noticeable difference in drawing speed.
Use Enhanced OpenGL Shadows:
If you have Renderworks, this option will cause OpenGL to use a much more accurate and higher quality shadow processing method. These shadows are accurate enough for exact solar and shade calculations in conjunction with the Heliodon tool.