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Posts posted by jan15

  1. useful in finding spacing of center lines w/o having to crunch out the numbers.

    If what you really want is equally spaced centerlines filling an allotted space, there's a neater way to do that:

    - draw a centerline

    - while it's still selected, group it

    - go into the group by double-clicking on it

    - offset or array the centerline to get the number of centerlines you want (the offset distance doesn't matter, just so they're all offset the same)

    - exit the group by clicking outside it

    - drag-stretch the group to fit into the allotted space.

    And maybe drag-stretch it in the other axis to set the length of all the centerlines.

    Line Into Segments is good if what you really want is a line divided into segments.

  2. I have a low star rating, for instance, because some people are delicate flowers and don't like hearing robust criticism of their religious choice in CAD software.
    I'm the same way. I've got a zero rating, but it's only because of issues people have with their mothers, due to severe toilet-training they received as children.
  3. Of course this same type of problem occurs when one AC user sends the DWG file to another. In case that's any consolation.

    In the Autocad world, the user does the heavy lifting. And that becomes a matter of workman's pride. Software that does the arithmetic for you is seen as effete -- like a car with electric windows.

  4. ... Their client specifies the title block style and it's full of shx fonts with various colours (specifying different thicknesses to the text). ...
    Wouldn't it be better to do that with a bitmap image? Even in Autocad that would be easier to do and less likely to go awry.

    The only good reason for creating company logos in Autocad was that it didn't support bitmap images till about 10 years ago. And maybe because Autocad LT still can't attach them and has to use a huge chunk of storage space to put images into DWG files as OLE objects.

  5. David, I don't understand what you mean about waiting for Autocad's osnap visual cues. On my not very high-powered system they appear faster than I can see them. They're a little slower in VW, but there's a trade-off in that they're more sophisticated, plus with all the other tricks VW has you're not so dependent on constraints as on AC osnaps.

    I'm a keyboardist, too, but I use just 4 function keys to control Autocad osnaps. Each Fn key gives me an osnap override combination in a single keystroke (with no space or enter). If no command is active (and therefore an override would have no meaning), the same Fn key instead sets my default osnaps. In other words, the Fn key has the same dual function as an osnap icon, except that each icon represents only a single osnap mode whereas each of my Fn keys represents a combination of one or more modes. Some of the modes play well together, not interfering with each other, so there's really never any need to make one of those the sole mode (except for your experience of the visual cues being too slow). And since it's a key instead of an icon, I can keep drawing with my mouse hand while issuing the override with my right hand.

    With that system, I found that 6 function keys would do everything I ever need with osnaps:

    1. int, endp, mid, nea

    2. per

    3. cen

    4. qua

    5. nod, tan

    6. non

    But I used 5 & 6 so rarely that I dropped them and instead use icons for those settings.

  6. ...It is a problem sometimes selecting all the bounding objects in a complex shape if it wasn't drawn as a polyline. ...
    You don't have to pick just the bounding objects. You can draw a selection window around everything in the area, or use Ctrl-A or the Select All pull-down command. The Combine Into Surface tool will only consider selected objects it they bound the pick point. Just deselect any objects you want it to ignore.

    But in VW we tend to use surfaces instead of lines to create 2D geometry. That's not just because surfaces automatically come with a hatch or fill. It's also because surfaces were always very easy to create and edit in VW, and they let you control a whole bunch of lines as one object. Check out the Add & Clip Surface tools, and the many modes of the 2D Reshape tool.

  7. The multiple lines on top of each other in Autocad might be related to its crude snapping system. For example, if you try to copy some objects with only Endpoint snap on, you could inadvertently duplicate them in place. Since Endpoint is the only snap that's active, the nearest endpoint of any object you click on will be used, even if you click in the middle of the object, or at an intersection with some other object. So if the first click point was that same endpoint, you'd get duplicates. And you wouldn't know that you'd done anything, because AC doesn't show handles on the newly created objects the way VW does, and it deselects everything at the end of every operation.

    But it's just as easy to get inadvertent duplicates in VW, by holding down Ctrl and clicking on an object. If AC users do it more often, it's only because they're not as smart.

  8. GWS, do you understand that a viewport is just a window into the design layer? It shows objects that aren't part of the sheet layer. So of course the only way to give someone a file showing what's visible on a sheet layer with viewports is to give them the contents of the design layer also. The sheet layer gives them the window, and the design layer gives them the thing that's seen through the window. That's the way Autocad works, too.

    Do you want to give the Acad user a 2D drawing of what's shown in the viewport, like Sketchup's Export to 2D DWG? That's not something you can do just by converting VW to DWG file format. You'd have to create the 2D geometry in VW, and then export.

  9. The Export facility is more for converting a VW file to DWG format, not so much for changing the contents of the file. But you can use it that way by keeping the things you don't want to export in special non-export classes. Then turn those classes off before exporting and opt not to export hidden classes.

  10. VW Tools work like SU tools.

    VW Commands work like AC commands.

    VW Symbols are like AC blocks & SU components.

    VW Groups are like SU groups.

    VW Classes are like AC/SU layers.

    VW Sheet Layers are like AC layout tabs.

    VW Design Layer is like AC's model tab.

    If you're not sharing drawings with AC users, you can use multiple Design Layers, and you can give them scales other than 1:1 if you want. And you can combine Design Layers that have the same layer scale, making 2 or more of them visible at the same time. When combined, they have a stacking order, as do objects within each layer; that becomes important if you use filled polygons that can cover up objects behind them. Filled or hatched polygons are very useful in VW 2D work, especially when drawing elevations.

    Since you want to migrate to 3D, a good way to start might be to use the Wall tool to do your 2D plan drawings, with window and door objects plugged in to the walls. It's a good way to draw plans, plus whenever you want you can just decide to give those objects a third dimension; then your plan automatically becomes both a 2D plan and a 3D model, with some things visible only in plan view and other things visible only in 3D views.

  11. Sorry. I guess I made that sound confusing. I was just talking about importing DWG files and getting whatever hatch patterns are used in them. I didn't mean to suggest that you can import the PAT file itself. There has to be a hatch entity in the DWG file that uses the pattern you want.

    And I was saying that sometimes they're distributed that way, as both a PAT and a DWG. But sometimes not, sometimes only as a PAT file, since that's all you really need in Autocad. In that case, we're out of luck.

    Experimenting just now, it doesn't seem to matter where the PAT file is. I guess you don't even need it. That's amazing. VW's import facility seems able to figure out the pattern and create a VW hatch, even without the PAT file.

  12. An associative hatch is an intelligent object, a re-sizable and re-shapable window into hatch-world. A non-associative hatch is just a Group containing a bunch of lines.

    As Ray Libby pointed out in another thread, you can control the start point of an associative hatch by putting it in a Symbol and then moving the symbol to where you want the hatch.

  13. ...And you can convert Autocad-type hatches if they're used in a DWG file. Sometimes they're distributed that way, a bunch of hatch patterns used in a DWG file to show what they look like, together with a PAT file that actually contains the hatch definition. If you import the DWG while the PAT is in the same folder, VectorWorks will make its own hatch definition in the VW drawing file. Then you can copy that resource to other files.

  14. Expanding a little on what Ray said, you could create a template file by deleting all drawing objects but keeping all the architect's classes, with the right ones turned on. Import into a blank file, as Ray said (a plain blank file, not necessarily based on that template file), then Select All, Copy, and Paste-in-Place from the import file into a new file based on the template.

    If you want to bring the architect's stuff into your own file, and maybe replace the last version they sent you, consider reserving a layer for it, with none of your stuff on that layer. Paste everything from the import file onto that layer. Pasting puts everything onto the active layer but in whatever class it was in before, creating any class that's not already in the target file. Then, when you get a new version, just delete that layer. That will delete everything that was in the old version, even things in classes that are turned off. Don't purge, or you'll lose the class settings. Create that layer again, or maybe create a new one called ArchVersion37, and paste from the import file onto that layer.

    I made it sound complicated, but the whole procedure takes a few seconds.

  15. If you're used to using the numeric keypad to enter line lengths in AC, you can do something similar in VW. It may seem awkward at first, but actually it can be much faster once you get the hang of it.

    The Enter key on the keypad works like the Tab key as far as getting into the data bar and moving through it, plus it's an Enter key, so it locks in whatever value you type OR whatever value the cursor has given it. One caveat: The values that appear as the cursor moves are approximations, to whatever accuracy you've set for dimensions, so don't accept those values unless you're using constrain-to-grid.

    I would also suggest trying to get out of the habit of drawing Lines. I think of the Rectangle as the most basic entity in VW. In combination with the data bar it gives you X and Y dimensions with just 2 clicks (or X and Y in re your grid rotation). Then use Clip Surface, Add Surfaces, and Reshape to combine the rectangles into complex shapes which are all one entity and which automatically include a hatch or other type of surface fill if you want it. In some cases you might want to trace along those shapes with the Wall tool (and in other cases just draw with the Wall tool using the Data Bar), and then add plug-in objects like doors and windows to the walls.

    And if you're not sharing the files back and forth with AC users, I would suggest using a lot of Groups (they're like in Sketchup, not like what AC calls a Group) to divide a drawing up into units that will stay together as other things change; and using stacking of layers and of objects within layers so that their surface fills hide whatever is behind them. Remember that Layers are for that and other special purposes. The equivalent to the AC "Layer" is the VW Class.

  16. Aaron, since you like to use the keyboard, you might also want to consider getting a macro recording/playback program, such as Keyboard Express or Macro Express. I found that very helpful when switching over from AC. I much prefer VW now, but macros give you a lot more options in customizing any software.

    I'm finding myself taking deep breaths every 5 mins so i don't explode!
    That's an Autocad feature. VectorWorks will make you calmer and more tolerant. :)
  17. I haven't seen this problem. I've sometimes had VW and AC on the same machine, passing drawings back and forth, and texts have never been distorted as in the PNG files posted earlier. There've been slight changes with some fonts, but nothing you'd notice without careful examination. I just tried it with Arial Narrow, the font used in those posted images. I enclosed the text in a rectangle, and in the DWG file it looked exactly the same.

    Cecilia, why don't you create a file containing only a text entity that gets distorted in this way, enclosed in a rectangle to show the size it's supposed to be, and then post a DWG export from it? Posting DWG files works now.

  18. Yes, that must be it. It's what I was trying to say in all three of my previous posts ? that he's not really in the data bar ? but I guess I didn't make it clear.

    I thought you were suggesting he's not in the Line tool because of this:

    I suspect that the tool is not being initiated, and he either needs to click on the drawing to start the tool, and use tab to get to the data bar
    and because I thought you were answering the question I posed in response to it:

    Why do you think he's not in the line tool?
    Sorry for the confusion.

    My data bar shows all the time, and I get into the first cell by hitting the keypad Enter key once. But in my second post I suggested trying multiple Tabs to get into the data bar, because Jeff said he has to press Tab just to see the data bar.

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