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Everything posted by jan15

  1. Yes, pdf995 acts like it's a printer. You select it in Printer Setup instead of your Epson or HP, then select a paper size and orientation as with any printer, and set Properties if you want. But you don't need to check "Print to File" because that's all it ever does. It creates a normal PDF file. Available at pdf995.com A nice way to look at PDF's, by the way, is Foxit Reader. It's free and it loads instantly. From foxitsoftware.com The other route is similar, but an actual printer driver is used, and the file it creates isn't in PDF or any other such format. It's the stream of printer codes that the operating system would send through the parallel or USB cable to that specific printer to create that specific print. You intercept the stream of printer codes and save it as a disk file, which the print shop can send directly to their printer port. They don't have to use VW or Autocad or Acrobat, and they don't have to do any print setup because you've already done that.
  2. I've been exporting large format PDF's for years using pdf995 ($10 or free with adware). Lots of other PDF writers available too, including Acrobat (I had trouble with Acrobat when I first tried to print 24x36 with it long ago). Do you know about the VectorWorks Viewer? If your print shop is amenable they can install the free viewer and then you can just send them your MCD files. Another option is to find out what plotter they use, download its driver from the manufacturer's site, install it on your system as if you had that model plotter, and then print to it, checking the box that says "Print to File." Send them the file that it creates, which most printers love because they can just send it directly to their printer port without doing any print set-up. It might be good to send a PDF anyway, so they can tell whether the print came out right. As with any new plotter, there may be glitches at first.
  3. I agree with Mike M, Peter, and VG, and when I was in the midwest and the northwest I never heard of any architect doing otherwise. But here on the east coast, I've met architects and structural engineers who assume it's part of the engineer's job to work out the exact geometry of the frame in all 3 dimensions.
  4. This has been discussed numerous times over the years, to no effect. Personally, I couldn't operate VectorWorks if I had to choose between shift-key combinations and pull-down menus. Both methods are too slow, and the shift-keys would take a heavy toll on my wrist (unless I were to use two hands for them, which would be extremely slow). I use a macro utility to map the 24 commands I use most to unshifted function keys, and a special keyboard that has that many function keys. Between that and the letter keys for tools, my mouse hand rarely has to do anything except pick objects and points in the drawing window.
  5. Ctrl-V for paste because it's right next to C. And Ctrl-X for cut because it's next to C on the other side.
  6. Import into a new blank file, then paste into the current file.
  7. Benson, are you using line thickness to represent the width of the kerf? Wouldn't it be better to use a double-line or a wall object, representing the two edges of the kerf? Especially since you want to know how much material is left between the edges of two kerfs.
  8. That's the joy of Autocad. You're constantly thinking things like, "Let's see, this is 1/4" scale, and this font in the other drawing was 3.25" high at 3/8" scale, so I should make it .375/.25x3.25", which is 4.875" high. Right? Or is it the other way around? No, the scale is smaller so the text should be larger. I wonder if it would be o.k. to just make it 5" high... or would that look too big? Let's see, 5/4.875 = 1.025641025. That's like the difference between 13 point and 12.675 point. I guess that's o.k." If you're not interested in the building or the drawing, this gives you a nice distraction to occupy your mind. But if you are interested in those things, it's hell on earth.
  9. I would assume that a lot of people are using 1:1 design layers, for full compatibility when Autocad users are sharing their files. The problem described here with dash styles has always been common in Autocad, though it would never have come up in Vectorworks before there were sheet layers and viewports.
  10. "Snap to Loci" in VW Preferences.
  11. It's another case of VW not being exactly like Autocad, which Chris is trying to correct one item at a time. AC has none of VW's Layer Options, but it does have layer locking.
  12. Autocad hatch definitions are kept in a separate .PAT file, not in the .DWG file. But there's enough information in the .DWG file that VW can create any hatch object that's in the .DWG file, and when it does, it creates a VW hatch definition for it in the .MCD file. So you can't import an Autocad hatch definition that's provided only in the form of a .PAT file, but if they give you a .DWG file that actually uses that hatch pattern in at least one object, then it will automatically import. Incidentally, that hatch importing trick is something Autocad itself can't do with Autocad files. It can display any hatch in any .DWG file someone sends you, but it doesn't create a hatch definition for it. So if you don't already have it in your own .PAT file, you can't use it to create new hatch objects or to edit one that's already there. Bear that in mind when you export to DWG and send it to a colleague. You should select the "Export Hatch Pattern Files" option, and send the colleague the .PAT file that VW creates.
  13. Cheer up, Chris. You're not the devil. You're a nice guy, as anyone can see. You're trying to create order out of chaos, a noble pursuit. But some of us have discovered a different kind of order, which depends heavily on the little tiny Attributes palette. For me, the thing you do with class thickness is handled by the default thicknesses on the Attributes palette. I use only those thicknesses, so if I have to adjust line weights later I know I can custom select one or more of them and change it (and change the default also). It doesn't happen very often. Assigning thickness happens constantly all day long, so that's the action that needs to be streamlined. If there were lineweight archetypes (where you assign a number 1 through 5 to each object instead of an actual thickness, and you can change the thickness associated with each archetype any time you want), I would use that. But I hate mixing thickness with the other uses of classes, and having 5 times as many classes so that the full range of thicknesses is available in all classes, and pulling down that huge list of classes every time I want to assign thickness, and having to read through all the class names as I do it. It's slow and clunky, and distracting.
  14. Yes, McLaugh, if you read through the thread you'll see that Chris knows there are plenty of options for different users, but he wants to eliminate that and force everyone to work the way he does. Or, rather, the way his minions are required to (sorry, Chris, I didn't mean to suggest that you do any actual drafting yourself). Maybe there should be another industry series version, called VectorWorks Administrator. They have different needs than the individual architect who does his own drawings.
  15. Chris, apart from my own interest in the Attributes palette, I don't understand why you would prefer this change over the status quo. As it is, you can give your drones a template file with all default attributes set to Class Style, and a custom workspace in which VW starts up with the Attributes palette hidden. They'd have to open a new palette to set attributes by object, which would discourage them from doing it. Isn't that what you want, to force them to use Class Style except in rare cases? Why clutter up the OIP with something you don't want them to use much?
  16. The only thing I can think of that would cause the problem is if the X-axis lines are actually on a different layer, at a different scale. You might try drawing a dimension object showing the length of the 33' line, and then post a screen shot and also a scan of the print-out with a scale lying next to the line. It seems very unlikely that it's a glitch in the software, but if all else fails you could try removing and reinstalling. They don't support version 8 on XP, but I personally used that set-up for about a year and never had any problem. I don't remember which Windows Service Pack I had, but I remember being afraid to install a later one because of rumors that it conflicted with some older applications.
  17. If everyone is agreed that it's not necessary to get rid of the attributes palette altogether, then maybe the title of the thread should be changed to prevent others getting the same wrong impression that I got. I have no objection to the rest. I can't comment on whether attributes should be added to the OIP, since I don't use the latter enough to have an opinion. The reason I don't use it is that it dedicates a lot of space and geometry to information that I don't use, but for people who do use that information and/or don't mind the distraction, it may be best to attach the Attributes palette to it. Of course a team has to agree on CAD standards, and that's always difficult. My experience of working in large offices suggests that's usually the fault of the standards, which are invariably designed by the most anal-retentive member of the team, and thus unintelligible to many of the others. I never had difficulty conforming to them (being fairly A-R myself), but I could understand how people without a programming background might have a problem. The knee-jerk response of those in control is always to blame those who are not in control, to think in terms of learning disorders instead of teaching disorders. If people can't follow your CAD system, you should look closer at the system. When a system makes sense to people, they can use it. When it contradicts their super-ordinate constructs, it alienates them from their natural intelligence and makes them appear stupid.
  18. I think v8 is when they started using the name VectorWorks. The manual and disk are labelled "MiniCad VectorWorks." Buster, are you saying you drew a 33' long line on a 1/4" = 1'-0" layer, and the Object Info palette says that it's 33' long, and that it's on the 1/4" layer, not some other layer, but it printed out 6.08325" long rather than 8.25" long? And this is only happening in the X direction, not the Y direction? So drawings are printing out with a distorted shape, taller and thinner than they should be? And normally your printer doesn't distort the shape of anything? And you printed directly from VectorWorks, not to a PDF file and then to the printer? That's really weird. Is this the first time you've printed anything from VectorWorks? Have you printed before to the same printer without that problem? What's your computer's operating system?
  19. That mini-mode already exists -- the Attributes palette. Chris says his intent is not primarily to improve the OIP, it's primarily to get rid of the Attributes palette, and specifically so as to prevent me from working the way I do. Not me in particular, of course. If it were just me, he wouldn't care. But he knows that most people do use the Attributes palette, and he wants to put a stop that. He says he knows what's good for them, better than they know themselves, and since he has no other way to bend so many people to his will he's asking NNA to eliminate the Attributes palette.
  20. I assign objects to classes by drawing them while the class is active. On the rare occasions when I make a mistake (it's easy to keep track of classes when there aren't so many of them) and have to change an object's class, I open the Object Info palette temporarily. And then I say to myself, "Well, here's one case where Autocad's interface is better. They don't force you to use that infernal Properties palette just to change an object's 'layer'." (In Autocad and Sketchup, the pull-down list of 'layers' applies to selected objects whenever any are selected.) Moving or copying to other layers is easy via the Copy and Paste-in-Place commands, which for me are both function keys. So you'll have to submit another Wish List item, asking them to get rid of Paste-in-Place. I don't use textures (I do 3D in Sketchup, construction drawings in VW) or databases. I change size and location of objects by dragging, in combination with the data display bar, which is easy for me because I mouse with my left hand and keep my right on the numeric keypad. It's a very quick and easy system, allowing me to concentrate on buildings and drawings rather than on software. I do think everyone should try it, though maybe it wouldn't work for everyone due to different skill sets. I certainly wouldn't suggest getting rid of the features that allow others to work in their own ways, as Chris wants to do.
  21. The added value, as I said in my original post (don't you ever read before replying?), is that the Attributes palette is small. I don't use the Object Info palette, and it's quicker to have a compact palette that has only what I need. Screen clutter, with irrelevant information competing for attention, takes a heavy toll over the course of a day.
  22. If simply removing the attributes palette from the default workspace would satisfy the control freaks and CAD managers, then I have no objection. I know NNA have to cater to those types, because they decide what software the larger firms buy. But they're also interested in the "smart-sized" firm, and you shouldn't assume there are so few of us using VectorWorks differently than you do.
  23. Chris, I'm familiar with the method of setting lineweight by class, having worked in Autocad on DOS computers for many years. Those of us who don't use that method are well aware that the masses would like us to use it. Misery loves company. But this is the first time I've heard anyone ask a software company to help force us into that mode by limiting the flexibility of their product. Your assurance that that's what you really meant is not as comforting as you seem to expect. I don't have any problem managing lineweight by object. If you do, then maybe you should continue with the class thickness approach. People are not all the same. Mike, What's happened to you? You're usually so open-minded.
  24. Getting rid of the attributes palette would be devastating to the way I work. It's the only palette I keep open, and its compact design is greatly appreciated. I have nothing against also putting all the attributes in the Object Info palette. The intent there seems to be to include everything. But I rarely use the OIP, and I would hate to have to keep that giant distraction in the way all the time just so I can set lineweights and fills.
  25. The first two of those default settings are right for exporting 2D work. One would normally want any solid color fills in the drawing to be exported as Autocad hatches, and any images in the drawing to be exported as externally referenced image files (the only way Autocad can do that). On my system the default is to export invisible classes as invisible DXF layers, unless the user selects exporting layers as DXF layers, which in itself is an unusual choice. But certainly saved preferences is the best way to go.
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