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I'm wondering what is the best way to use the window PIO. If I create a window to a spec and get the textures, etc to be how I want them I can then make a symbol out of that window, right? The advantage being is any changes to that symbol update all the windows in the model. Or if I duplicate the PIO, any changes and I need to change each occurrence individually, but the PIO will show up on the VW generated Window Schedule, and the symbols don't. Is there something I'm missing? I guess I'm curious as to how others handle this, so I can try to develop my own method.

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I used to do it like you (create symbol), but it becomes cumbersome when there are changes. I now just simply edit each individual window. If you get you classes right (style 1, style 2 etc) then the 3d appearance will on all of them at once.

There's bound to be times when creating the symbol is faster, and leaving windows editable is faster.

I figure if you have to open the file in 12 months time, remembering which windows are symbols and which aren't is probably too hard, and just overly complicates the job.

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the PIO will show up on the VW generated Window Schedule, and the symbols don't. Is there something I'm missing? I guess I'm curious as to how others handle this, so I can try to develop my own method.

You can generate a report of symbols, too. It may be difficult to list window symbols only, though, unless you set up your own data record(s). I'd go for one record for everything, then separate windows, doors, furniture and what have you by data (in a field called eg Item).

It is usually a good idea to have a drawing or diagram of each windows; you can also have two-cell worksheets that tally the number or each symbol in the window schedule drawing.

Into cell A1, type the name of the symbol. Into cell B1, put formula =COUNT(S=A1)-1. Then make copies of this worksheet and just type the name.

With a large number of types this becomes quite cumbersome, I'm afraid, but at least it works.

In very large projects, other approaches (using symbols, though) are needed to complement this/these.

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You can create a symbol out of a Plugin Object and keep it as a plugin object.

This advantage lets you tweak the instance in the OIP just as you would a normal plugin object, but the symbol also exists in the drawing. As universal changes are made to the symbol, all instances are then updated with the symbol edits.

To do this, create a symbol.

Click on the Options button (once everything's been named, etc)

Checkmark "Convert to Plugin Object"

When the symbol is inserted into the drawing, the object type is acutally whatever the root PIO object started as.

If you do this with a door, you can name the symbol Door Style 3 (or something) and have the symbol insert as a PIO.

You'll then get all the editing capabilities of a PIO via the OIP.

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This is a fundamental limitation of VectorWorks that toobiloo has touched on though.

The current paradigm of symbols and PIOs means that when you choose to make your symbol using a PIO you lose the ability of that PIO to interact intelligently with the rest of your model. But if you use PIOs on their own they can become cumbersome and prone to mistakes when you need to edit them en masse.

One problem I've had with the loss of intelligence, for instance, when using a PIO-based window symbol was that it meant my windows no longer new which were the left and rights sides of the wall (so they didn't insert how I expected) and I couldn't use PIO features such as wall cavity returns. (and you have the same limitation with regard to records)

My immediate reaction was to suggest that VectorWorks should be altered so that symbols didn't stop PIOs from being intelligent, but, as Islandmon pointed out in response at the time, the behaivoural limitations of symbols can be viewed not as a weakness but as a strength, forcing awareness of precise insertions as well as protecting against undesirable global changes from outside the Resource's container.

So it seems to me that there needs to be a new paradigm altogether, one that makes the editing of PIOs en masse as easy as editing a symbol.

I've posted a wishlist item here:


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I don't understand - rather than being inserted as "Symbol in Wall", the symbol (when created and converted to PIO) says "Window in Wall" or "Door in Wall".

All the PIO options are available to that inserted object, as well as all the power behind using symbols as a universal object definition.

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I'm doing that now. I create a window from the PIO to a certain spec and save it as a PIO. I then can use that anywhere that that window occurs. I like this because the PIO remains highly editable, but the draw back is if there is a change that need to be made to all of those window, I need to manually go to each occurrence and make the change. That process is time consuming and prone to mistakes. I maybe missing some easier way, but perhaps a toggle box in the OIP that would allow changes made to one PIO to effect all the other instances of that PIO in the file?

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Katie, Christiaan is correct in observing that a symbol in a wall behaves differently from a PIO in a wall, in certain particular ways. One example is if you edit your wall parameters, the symbol won't track that as well as a PIO. The simple solution is what many of us have wanted: a way to select multiple windows, and edit them en masse.

Say you want to change the width of your interior casings (trim). Being able to shift-click or use a script to select multiple PIO windows, then in the OIP change the width of the interior trim, could save a ton of time.

Going beyond this, the ideal window tool would be one that automatically creates an interactive window schedule, in the form of a table, showing the window types and instances of different sizes. By modifying the parameters of a type, all instances of that type in different sizes would be modified in the drawing. By modifying the size, or changing the type, of a particular window in the schedule table, that particular window would change in the drawing. Double-clicking on a window in a drawing would take the user to the schedule, where all window parameters could be edited, including the item number. The interactive schedule could also be placed on the drawing as the contract document schedule.

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Pete - Info Editor by Charles Chandler provides the capability to partially do what you want. Available for US$10 from the Market section of Vectordepot. It is worth getting and playing with. http://www.vectordepot.com/market/

Info Editor allows editing all record data stored in the drawing file. Records are used to store data and PIO parameters in the drawing. This extremely useful tool allows editing of multiple records at one time. This is very handy for items in walls that can not currently be selected and edited as a group.

For example if you need to change all your windows to make the exterior trim thickness 6" instead of 4" you can fire up Info Editor and search for all the window records. The tool will show all the windows and the associated record data. Select all the windows and modify the parameter for the exterior trim thickness.... or you could do this the way you do now, one at a time.

There is some more information on it here: http://www.softwarecustomizationservices.com/products/info%20editor/

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Toobiloo -

One way around this is to change one of the windows, then use the eyedropper tool to pickup the attributes of that window (or door or what have you) and apply it (paint bucket mode) to the other windows (or whatever) by simply clicking on it.

Pete -

If you save a window as a symbol, use the insertion option as a pio, then edit the symbol - are you finding the changes are not reflected in the drawing?

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Katie, yes, if the symbol is inserted as a PIO, it's a PIO and behaves like a PIO. But then editing the saved symbol does not change the instances of inserted symbols, only future insertions. There is a new wish list item on window editing that has some further discussion about how some users would like to see this tool evolve.

Toobiloo, I think Katie's advice on using the eyedropper tool might be the best bet for you with the VectorWorks that we have today. I frequently insert windows by just dropping in whatever default window is loaded, use the eyedropper tool to make it a copy of a window I've already edited, then adjust the size and height if those need to be different.

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If you save a window as a symbol, use the insertion option as a pio, then edit the symbol - are you finding the changes are not reflected in the drawing?

Are these changes to a symbol that is set to be inserted as a plugin object supposed to be updated to instances that have already been inserted. I am not seeing that when I do this. Am I doing something wrong here? It does however update any new instances I insert but not any that have been inserted previously.

The multiple selection of objects inserted in walls has been mentioned numerous times. This is a great idea and am not sure what technical issue is holding VW back to make this a feature.

The eye dropper tool works great, except when you just want to change a single parameter rather than all the parameters. Say I want to change the trim size on multiple windows that are different types and sizes. The eye dropper tool then is not a feasible option.

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I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one wrestling with this issue! But, I am using symbols pretty successfully for windows.

My current project has 180 windows, and only 11 window types ("Type A," "Type B," etc.). So, I only have 11 symbols to deal with, which is great, especially when it comes to editing them, and there's no need to search for all instances of a particular type to use the eye-dropper tool. Also, I'm pretty sure 180 PIO's would take a lot more file memory than 180 instances of 11 symbols.

In response to toobiloo's original question, windows that are symbols can be easily reported on the Window Schedule, as follows:

1.) In the database row header, right-click and select "Set Criteria."

2.) Change the three pull-down windows to read "Type - Is - Window."

3.) Check the "Including components of Symbols" box (this will find the window PIO's within the symbols).

4.) Back in the schedule worksheet, with the database row header selected, drag the "Sum" icon into the "Mark" column. This will consolidate each of the different window types (so that, in my case for example, instead of a schedule with 180 rows, one for each window, there are only 11 rows, one for each window type.

Hope that helps!


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That sounds intresting. The only problem is when two windows are mulled together. Using the window tool works great to show multiple units in plan/3D but when it come to scheduling, a window object can not have mult window tags so that they are labeled correctly. Would you have a separate tag for multiple window assemblies that have different standard sized windows? Also, i found it necessary to create new symbols for identical windows that are in a wall with a different thickness. I currently just label my windows manually using the number stamp tool, untill I figure out a better way that works for us.

Edited by dcont
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Windows that are mulled together I have treated as separate window types. Even though larger mulled windows might be field assembled, conceptually, it seems reasonable to treat multiple windows mulled together as single units. Particularly since manufacturers often provide the mullion details.

Regarding different wall thickness, yes, that complicates things. The exterior walls for my current project are all the same. If they weren't, I think I'd be inclined to have different symbols for different wall thicknesses for each window type... ...I think. But, obviously, things rapidly become more cumbersome as window types and/or different wall thicknesses are introduced. So...

In all cases, particularly for doors, I agree that there's plenty of room for NNA to make improvements.

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