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What's the most efficient way to use plant symbols?


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I'm new to Vectorworks 2008. I used V11.0 2 years ago, and was really happy with it. At that time I had 15-20 plant symbols that I would place in my drawings, changing the spread if I needed to for variety. Then I would manually call-out each one, and hand count them.

Now I'm ready to step it up a little. I regularly use about 150-200 plants in my designs. Is it wise to make a separate symbol for each of these plants? Will that make it easier to label and count them and make a plant list?

Please bear with me if this isn't the right kind of question for this forum. I'm work alone, am new to the software, and I'm still learning. Thanks!

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Hello and welcome back to Vectorworks! Count circles? Never again!

You need to set up a worksheet plant list. If you don't know how to do this you can use one of the sample plant lists already made by VW. In the Resource Browser, under the Files drop down menu, choose Add New Favorite File. Go to Program Files /Vectorworks 2008/Libraries/ Defaults/ Records Schedules/PLant lists and select it. The file will then appear as a favourite in your resource browser. CLick on the drop down menu (with a house next to it) and select . Click on PLant lists, and then drag one onto your drawing. It will automatically add up your plants! After you add new plants you need to double click on the list in the ddrawing, click on the little down arrow below the title, then select recalculate and the new plants will the appear too.

If you don't like those choices, there are a couple of ready made ones under the favorite Plant Objects, down at the bottom. Othewise you need to learn how to make a worksheet. Another post perhaps...

Labels in VW are called tags and you just need to make sure the tag display is set to left or right in the plant definition dialog, rather than none. They will appear automatically. Blimey, no need to call out each one manually!

Whether you make unique symbols or not is a style choice. I think the plan gets too busy with a unique symbol for every plant. Somtimes I prefer simple circles, slightly irregular, with representative coloured gradients as a fill. But everyone has their own look.

Good luck!

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The problem that I find with VW plants is that you need a symbol for each species of plant you are going to plant. Whilst the underlying symbol may be the same, you end up having to duplicate different plant symbols for say Bergenia 'Bressingham White', Bergenia cordifolia 'Purpurea' etc but each being a seperate symbol.

It would much prefer it to be able to create instances of the same underlying plant, differing in data (name, container size etc) but not in graphical representation. For instance I have generic symbols representing plants for ultimate spread small, medium and large herbaceous, then similar for shrubs etc. Then, when dropping different plants/species in the plan, only the data, plant name etc differs, but the underlying symbol stays the same. Thus, if you edited the symbol, it would change for all plants/species using that symbol rather than just the single species.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Ian, I'm thinking you can do exactly what you are thinking by first assigning the one type of Bergenia to a preferred graphic symbol and by doing it, you may have created a duplicate of the symbol defaulted as "perennial 03"...so if you have dupplicated that defaulted symbol and renamed it to take on the data and name of the Bergenia, and you wanted to assign a different Bergenia to the same graphic symbol...then in the definition of the first Bergenia, use the duplicate option and rename the next same symbol to the new Bergenia species/variety...same process. Vectorworks will remember the difference between the symbols, even if you may not...and the way you would remind yourself is to have the tags turned on when you want to see where each variety was placed...if you choose to differentiate the symbols, you could always approach this in the 2d edit screen and vary the symbol in the slightest way you find necessary or all together different.

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Hi Eric

Thanks for getting back - wow your first post! However I'm not sure if we are on the same page!

I think what you are explaining is what I do now. The problem is, the act of duplicating the plant creates a copy of the symbol rather than a new instance of an existing symbol.

So if I want to change the graphic look of the symbol (say you want to present to a client in a different style), I have to do it to all instances of plant, rather than just a few base symbols.

From what I can see, the plant tool works similar to the symbol place as group option, when I want it to act as a place as symbol. Purely speculating here, I presume that it has to work like this as symbols cannot be resized, and thus, whilst they remain a symbol, they are a brand new clone rather than just an instance of a single symbol.

How the plant tool works right now is that whilst you can edit a 'preferred graphic symbol', once the duplication has taken place, there is no longer a relationship between parent and child, so you have effectively doubled up on symbols for what is otherwise graphically identical. Take an underlying plant, call it 'Bergenia sp.'. Duplicate it, call new plant 'Bergenia cordifolia'. Now change graphic properties for 'Bergenia sp.' and these will not be reflected as a change to 'Bergenia cordifolia' which is what I want to happen.

Am I missing something?

Edited by IanH
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Ian...no, you are correct about the created individual symbols...a change to one does nothing to change the others, once you have made a duplicate symbol...unless you imbed a symbol within the 2D edit...which I have never tried, but perhaps could work. For example, you may take a symbol with green base and white blooms, and before duplicating, get into 2d edit, copy the graphics paste in designlayer (outside of edit) and make a symbol... copy, return to 2d edit, remove graphics and paste the new symbol, exit. Duplicate plant object definition (and symbol)...if you want to enhance the graphics in 2d edit, then exit edit...you should have the ability to affect a change globally with the symbol that is imbedded...now mind you I have not tried this, and once out of some tie-ups today, I will try this and see if you can imbed a symbol in the 2d edit of the plant object. You may try this to and let us know if there is success.

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Alas it appears not not work. The moment the duplicate is performed, the encased symbol is simply decomposed into its constituent parts. But it was a good thought - I may even have tried this at some time in the past.

One for the wish list.

BTW. Welcome to the forum Eric.

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