Jump to content
  • Origins and Large Coordinate Values

    PVA - Jim

    Context and Introduction:

    All CAD programs use a program-internal fixed zero point for all geometric calculations, whether its the calculation of an intersecting point or the perspective of a doubly-curved NURBS surface. In Vectorworks we call this internal zero point the "Vectorworks origin".

    This point is 0,0,0. Which means 0 in the X axis, 0 in the Y axis and 0 in the Z axis as well.

    If a drawing is too far away from the Vectorworks origin, this can cause problems such as objects not interacting with eachother properly or hatches being displayed incorrectly. 

    If you start with a new, blank document, the center of the page boundary is always centered on the Vectorworks origin. This also applies to the "User-defined origin", as it appears in the rulers at the top and left of the drawing area by default. 

    The user-definated origin, as the name would suggest, is the origin point specified by the user. It is possible to set the user-defined origin thousands of miles away from the drawing elements, Which allows users to work with real-world coordinates, often done when working with imported shapefiles. However, there is a proper way to accomplish this.


    Always draw near the Vectorworks internal origin! You should never move the page boundary to far-off geometry, but instead move the drawing elements on the sheet TO the origin.

    To have your objects exist at a real world coordinate, you should set your user-defined origin relative to your page area, so that the user defined origin is far from the Vectorworks internal origin, instead of your geometry.

    The most common issues can be avoided entirely by following these guidelines:


    • If you are working with a country-specific or a predetermined coordinate system, you need to move the drawing elements so that they are within the page boundary. After that, you can set the user-defined coordinate system using Tools > Set Origin..., selecting the third option; "Next mouse click is:" to allow for the correct X and Y values. After doing this, you can click the corresponding point in your drawing.
    • When importing DXF/DWG files, use the import option "Center after import". This automatically moves the imported elements towards the Vectorworks internal origin and moves the user-defined origin to reflect the offset of the imported coordinates from the Vectorworks coordinate system.
    • If you use Copy and Paste to bring geometry into your document, you need to ensure that the user-defined origin is located at the correct position. Use the command "Set Origin..." as described above to do this before pasting geometry.

    Edited by JimW

      Report Article

    User Feedback

    There are no comments to display.

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...