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Hello all -

I am drawing a room plan for an event and could do with some advice. The drawing is a simple, top down 2d plan.

My client wants to have three or four different layout options. Chairs arranged differently, the set different sizes / shapes etc.

What is the best way to organise my file ? I currently have :

4 design layers - 1 main, Option 1, Option 2, Option 3

Each physical item (ie building, chairs, set, projection) assigned to it's own class.

The building and other physical items that can't change are drawn on the main layer.

Then I have three saved views and three sheet layers each showing the correct configuration. I also have a report on each of the three sheet layers which counts the quantity of chairs automatically.

It kind of works, but is a bit tedious. Any one got any other suggestions ? An alternative would be to do it on one sheet layer, and copy the building etc. over.

What do you think ?

Many thanks,


Edited by Andrew Davies
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I wouldn't worry about maintaining Saved Views and Sheet Layers. Forget the Saved Views and simply double-click on your Viewports to get to the relevant and correctly configured Design Layers (this is more robust as you don't have to worry about configuring your Saved Views to match your Viewports).

It sounds like you may not need to worry about using Classes either but doing so will provide you with more flexibility when presenting your layouts so I'd keep to that habit.

An alternative would be to do it on one sheet layer, and copy the building etc. over.

Not sure what you mean here? Are you suggesting you could present all options on one Sheet Layer? Yeah, why not. Just move your current Viewports all onto one Sheet.

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I draft meetings and events almost every day, and that is how I do it. In fact, my default template has layers labeled Building, Theatre, Classroom, Banquet, Scenic, AV, etc. I drop the appropriate elements into each layer, and then create sheet layers for each seating config.

The one thing I do that may help - I start with one sheet layer with a view port, drop in my dimensions and callouts, get it looking all pretty. Then I duplicate that sheet layer, and in the new viewport I change the layer visibility to the next seating config, change a couple of callouts. That way I'm not starting from scratch for each, and the drawings look consistant.

Also, you can copy annotations from a viewport, and Paste in Place to another.


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Hello Christiaan and David

That's really helped - thank you!

Am probably going to keep using classes for seats, sightlines, building, staging, technical etc. then separate design layers for each seating layout. Have tried that the last couple of days and it seems to work.

Christiaan - when I said "An alternative would be to do it on one sheet layer, and copy the building etc. over." I meant to draw the rooms walls etc, group them and then copy them into a different place on the same design layer - once for each different seating layout. I would then draw the different layouts on each of the copies (hope that makes sense !) and set up different viewports on separate sheet layers. But I think I will forget that method now anyway !

Also - that's a great tip Christiaan - to double click the viewport to edit the design layer that way - I hadn't seen that option.

One thing that really confused me was how a symbol can be assigned a class, (for example "chair") when inserting it into a drawing - but it can also have a class definition embedded within the symbol ("seat" for example). This caused me a lot of confusion, as I was assigning the class "chair" to a chair, then wondering why I couldn't edit it when my active class was "chair". I then realised that when I edited the symbol, it was assigned the class "seat" within the symbol definition. Do many people get caught out like that or is it just me ! (at least I now know)

Many thanks again,


PS - David - as we work in a similar field, can I ask - do you draw in 3d in Vectorworks ??

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I do draw in 3D in VW, and I render in Cinema 4D. All my symbols are hybrid 2D/3D, and the 3D components are classed in a way that makes exporting to C4D as efficient as possible.

As Christian mentioned, the "double classing" in symbols is both a blessing and a curse. That's a big reason why I lean towards design layers; it has worked out for me, at least, as a much easier way to control visibility and clutter; if I just need to be working on one aspect, say AV, it's easy to set all the other layers to Gray, leave Classes to Show/Snap/Modify, and not worry about selecting or modifying the "wrong" things.

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