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how to adapt to vw from autocad...

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okay, i'm trying really hard to like vw, but it's hard to let go of autocad for many, silly, small reasons, such as is there a way to modify the default way of seeing things selected (instead of having the blue handles at the end of lines)? is there a way to manually input the length of lines as you're drawing?

any other tips or documentation to suggest?


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In VW2008, you can change the selection highlighting (new to 2008 so you won't have it in VW12). Go the the VectorWorks Preferences, Display Pane, and click on the Selection Indication button and make sure that you have the Use Selection Highlighting box checked.

To manually enter a value, click to start the line and then hit TAB. This will take you into the data fields of the Data Bar. Depending on how you have your preferences (under the little black triangle at the right end of the mode bar), you might have to press tab twice to actually get to the first field. Use Tab to select the field you want and then use the keyboard to enter the data (length) that you want. This works in "all" of the drawing tools.


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It's a big adjustment.

The biggest key is time, in my opinion.

Vectorworks just plain operates differently.

The biggest frustration is a lack of operational consistency between various high level objects such as doors and windows...they just don't have identical behaviour in places that they should.

Pat's podcasts have been very helpful for getting my head around the differences.

The one's with Francois Levy are particularly good.

Jonathan Pickup's books I would also reccommend.

But above all, time is still key.

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If you're used to using the numeric keypad to enter line lengths in AC, you can do something similar in VW. It may seem awkward at first, but actually it can be much faster once you get the hang of it.

The Enter key on the keypad works like the Tab key as far as getting into the data bar and moving through it, plus it's an Enter key, so it locks in whatever value you type OR whatever value the cursor has given it. One caveat: The values that appear as the cursor moves are approximations, to whatever accuracy you've set for dimensions, so don't accept those values unless you're using constrain-to-grid.

I would also suggest trying to get out of the habit of drawing Lines. I think of the Rectangle as the most basic entity in VW. In combination with the data bar it gives you X and Y dimensions with just 2 clicks (or X and Y in re your grid rotation). Then use Clip Surface, Add Surfaces, and Reshape to combine the rectangles into complex shapes which are all one entity and which automatically include a hatch or other type of surface fill if you want it. In some cases you might want to trace along those shapes with the Wall tool (and in other cases just draw with the Wall tool using the Data Bar), and then add plug-in objects like doors and windows to the walls.

And if you're not sharing the files back and forth with AC users, I would suggest using a lot of Groups (they're like in Sketchup, not like what AC calls a Group) to divide a drawing up into units that will stay together as other things change; and using stacking of layers and of objects within layers so that their surface fills hide whatever is behind them. Remember that Layers are for that and other special purposes. The equivalent to the AC "Layer" is the VW Class.

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