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I was using a custom made PIO on my drawing and got a error message in certain drawings. It goes

'An attempt define a Plug-In object named 'xx' failed because format with that name already exists in the current document. The entire operation is canceled.'

When I use the same PIO in a new drawing and copy and paste, it works. I was wondering why this message?

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Yes, Record Format.

I guess the term Format Node is more low-level. When the user defines a Record Format there are two nodes created in the drawing list: a format node that contains field names and types, and a record node that contains default values for those fields.

Anyway, do you see a Record Format on the Data pane with a name that conflicts with the object you are trying to create?

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When you place a plug-in object in a drawing, VectorWorks attempts to create a format node with same name as the plug-in object. This format is used to store the object parameters. If there is already a format node in the drawing with the same name then you will see that error message.

Click on the Object Info palette "Data" tab and look to see if there is already a regular format (i.e. not a plug-in object format) with that name.

The fix would be to rename or delete the existing format before creating the plug-in object.


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  • 1 year later...

I have had some luck running a script containing only:


Your PIO should now insert without the error message, as this will get rid of the name collision that's triggering the problem.

I don't know what this does long-term as far as leaving cruft in the file, as in theory there is now a (hidden) PIO record format with no name in the file. But, also in theory, it should purge once nothing's referring to it.

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