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Exporting to .dwg: rules of thumb for VW setup?




I've been using VW 11.5 and 12.5 for awhile, but I just started working in an architecture office currently on VW 11.5 that works with ACAD sub-consultants on a regular basis. Any advice for how to set-up our layers, classes, and viewports to best facilitate regular, successful export to and import from .dwg files?

Until now, my office has entirely ignored classes, viewports, and sheet layers and has used only design layers (w/ everything in black and white) for all of their drawings. This means that each sheet has its own file. I'm trying to encourage them to make use of Vectorworks class, viewport, and sheet layer capabilities, but realize that I don't actually know if this will make our work more or less difficult.

I would appreciate any advice, tips, warnings, or recommendations about how approach setting up.



2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-core INtel Xeon Mac


Running VW 11.5 (But contemplating the upgrade to 12.5)

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6 answers to this question

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This is a very big subject but I will try to keep it short

1. Talk to your consultants, what do they want from you? often it will be only plans with no text or dimensions. For this reason and many others you must use classes. If the text and dimensions are on separate classes they can be turned off and you can export visible classes only. There is nothing worse to an acad user that having all objects on one class(ie acad layer). You should also remember that anything hidden by a filled object becomes visible in acad so you might want to send a pdf to show what it should look like.

2. I usually export from design layers only. In that way I create a number of small files that can be xrefed into a larger acad drawing. I find it better to avoid exporting sheet layers or viewports.

3. Always import to a new file and if you are likely to get later updates then wgr that file into your masterfile.

3. When importing it is better to avoid dwgs with xrefs embeded but if you can manage it a dwg can be created comprising a number of xrefs that you can import separately. Talk to your consultant.

4. If you do want to import text then agree a common font

5. Get your consultant to assign lineweights to the acad layers. It makes no difference to the way they print but it eliminates the need to map lineweights to colours on import.

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You should also remember that anything hidden by a filled object becomes visible in acad so you might want to send a pdf to show what it should look like.

We always send a PDF with a note saying 'DWG for CAD purposes only, PDF for printing,' but we also don't have a problem with fills. We just turn on "Export 2D fills" (and turn off everything else).

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Another thing to keep in mind that has been an issue for us is that ACad does not have Layers like VW.

So my drawings may have many things in different layers but the same classes all stacked on top of each other. When exported to ACad it all collapses into one very messy layer.

Layers may be the best thing about VW (in my opinion). But the fact that ACad doesn't use them means that I occasionally have to break drawings apart before exporting for my consultants.

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Yes, that's always the main problem in exporting to DWG -- what to do about all the things that Autocad doesn't have. Autodesk probably could have implemented layers/scale/groups/surfaces long ago, but that would have hurt the incompatibility that's been their strongest selling point.

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I think it's fair to say working with AutoCAD is not just a concern of VectorWorks, but all non-AutoDesk products.

Until there is a centralized public CAD file format standard, it's difficult for any software to have a seamless exchange.

I will say VectorWorks provides one of the highest quality exchanges of CAD products on the market, excluding AutoDesk products.

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