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Mbuck

Take 2 - A dozen things that annoyed me about the VW 2D interface

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Some time back I listed a dozen things that annoyed me about the VW 2D interface. I am please to note that some of these limitations have been lifted in VW11. This proves that NNA does listen to it users - this has always been NNA?s major strength. I take pleasure in updating my list with reference to some of the new features in VW11, I have also added some of my current thoughts on possible enhances to VectorWorks toolset and user interface. No doubt NNA has already many of these issues in its gun sight but one can never assume anything and hopefully these squeaky wheels gets oiled in VectorsWorks 11.5 and 12.

1. A new preference setting which prevents dash line styles, which are applied to polylines, polygons or just lines, from ending with gaps at their corner points.

VW 11 now has this feature although it is not optional.

2. The ability to use previous view (zoom previous) whilst in pause/boomerang mode.

VW 11 still doesn?t allow this.

3. The ability to lock onto nearest points by giving the user additional functionality (say pressing the P key) to dynamically toggling between a series of the nearest lock-on points.

VW 11 still doesn?t allow this but I think NNA should look very seriously about the whole issue of object selection and user feed back as to when and if an object is selected. The old mac type selection handle idea is now ancient history and just doesn?t give a user enough visual feedback. A model that may be worth assessing is the way Intergraph SmartSketch 4 handles this issue. There are also some other very good ideas in that program that could be borrowed. I like the idea of being able to rotate, lock and mirror and object without having to evoke special tools. Also the connector line tool is a great idea this is a cross between NNA?s wall tool and Microsoft?s Visio?s connectors i.e. line work which interacts with symbols (they are automatically flipped according to the line orientation) and the lines can auto connect when moved something like NNA walls but with more flexibility in the way they create displacement offsets and the like.

4. Changing the position of the fields L (Length) and A (Angle) data display bar. These parameters should be in the initial tab positions, and X and Y should be last.

VW 11 has not implemented this but shift tab with VW1 data display bar makes the data display bar much easier to use.

5. The Callout tool should have an option which allows the user to dynamically change the shoulder length of the leader.

VW 11 now has this feature but unfortunately they have deleted numerical input as an option.

6. Since hatch patterns are an editable characteristic, which oftentimes need to be redefined on the fly, this need is no different to editing symbols and groups. Why then doesn?t the new double click feature (which is fantastic) open up the hatch dialog so that the hatch can be redefined with the least amount of effort.

VW 11 still doesn?t allow this but I see the double click as consistent user interface behaviour for example at present double clicking on the text when using the callout tool opens a text edit box, a user in my opinion would expect that double clicking on an object?s graphic attributes should behave in a similar manner.

Double click on a wall brings up the wall stye editor;

Double click on the hatch pattern brings up the hatch style editor;

Double click on the gradient fill brings up the gradient settings; and

Double click on the image fill brings up the image settings; and so on.

7. A new preference setting which sets the resource browser background colour to black when using a black background to draw.

Reason:

VW 11 still doesn?t have this feature.

8. The trim tool trims around cuts a line to the boundary edge of a closed object, say a rectangle tiled right at 45 degrees. Change this object to a symbol and the line is cut not to the bounding edge but to the bounding box or rather the symbols handle extent. This tool should always cut a line to the objects bounding edge and it should not matter if it is a symbol, group or closed object.

Reason:

VW 11 now has this feature.

9. 2D User defined coordinate system.

VW 11 still doesn?t have this feature.

10. Consolidate the custom selection tools in to one more intuitive tool who amongst us really understands the custom selection 2 tool is for.

When will NNA deliver us a simple yet very powerful magic wand selection tool?

11. Build Katerina Panagiotakis?s Class Utilities utility into VectorWorks 11 interface also extending its functionality to layer control.

VW 11 still doesn?t have this feature.

Maybe the new magic wand tool could also feature the following

? Classes All On - Turns all classes in the drawing on.

? Class Current - Sets the active class to a selected object.

? Class Delete - Deletes the class of a selected object and all objects in that class.

? Class Gray - Grays all items in the class of a selected object.

? Class Hide - Hides all items in the class of a selected object.

? Class Isolate - Turns off all classes except the class) of selected object.

? Class Select - Selects all objects in the class of a selected object.

? Object Hide - Hides a selected object.

It must be said that the class and layer visibility pallets go someway towards this end but are a interim and not a final solution.

12. Layer linking I can?t explain why exactly but it?s a pain, especially if one layer is in plan view, but unbeknownst to the user, some other layers are in top 3D view and one wonders why he cannot select or snap to objects in on those layers. This must be very confusing for a new user because it often trips me up.

Probably VW least understood feature but thankfully we now have viewports which makes the 2D application of this feature obsolete.

My final wish which was not part of my original 12 is that somehow VW the 2D and 3D interfaces can be harmonised. The separation of the environments is both Vectorworks weakness and its strength. The hybrid environment is good for plan presentation purposes, but many new users, especially former ACAD users, must ask themselves as I do - ?Why can?t I??

? Use a dashed styled 3D polyline?

? Why is there no 3D text?

? Why are there no 3D dimensions?

? Why do smart walls become dumb walls when moved or manipulated within the 3D environment i.e. the auto-connect feature and other wall tools are rendered useless in the 3D environment?

? Why can?t I simply stretch a 3D wall or move a 3Ddoor or window within a 3D wall?

? Why do I have to use specialised 3D tools why don?t the tools simply know they are now working within the 3D environment?

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Mbuck,

I agree with most of your points, especially 3 and 9.

SNAP - The ability to toggle through overlapping snap points is long overdue. A little more feedback such as differentiating an endpoint from a midpoint would also help.

OBJECT HANDLES - First priority is to allow users to choose a size and colour for grips. Longer term, VW needs to leave behind the kiddie-cad handles, and highlight objects properly - see Revit or AutoCAD for good examples.

2D WORKING PLANES - This must be the most common item on the wishlist that NNA choose to ignore. I don't know what is so difficult about this, when the program already has them in 3D. I also agree that the 2D and 3D environments should be integrated.

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