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Worst things in VW 2010

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The new-fangled arty-farty hoity-toity Help is just b-dy awful!

Looks absolutely dreadful, almost as bad as other Adobe's recent ?creations?. Goes to Welcome every time, thereby losing the topic one is interested in. Ohh, if one happens to be able to click on the Help window, it is where you left it, but that is not necessarily possible or easy.

Only one window of Help can be open.

Get rid of this nonsense, Mr. NNA! Give us back the browser-based system!

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True that the new Help is far too colorful, but it is much more functional than the old version. The old one would hog resources (at least on the mac). The favorites on the new one are very clever and the indexing and searching are much more intuitive.

I do wish I did not have to install Adobe AIR to use a help system, however, as it's just one more interface to have onboard.

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I agree with Kool-Aid that the new Help is utterly useless. If you type in "reference files" you find "preference" comes up first. If you are not going to distribute usable User's Guides, you better have a good Help system.

Also, I suggest a "What's New" section of help that is just commands and features new to Release 2010.

The movie that covers what's new goes way to fast and skips over the "how-to's" on each command.

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Bring back printed manuals in addition to the electronic copies... I don't care about the number of trees saved (can't see why you need to sacrifice a tree to print a manual) or reduced shipping costs by having them only in electronic form, its simply marketing speak for cost (ie end user value) reduction and a chance to sell an extra and up the effective price.

There is nothing like having a printed manual to thumb through whilst not sat in front of your computer.

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Bring back the manual but rewrite it to be context based and not the unconnected bits of information it is/was.

Charge $100 for the manual. We recycle so the tree argument seems weak.

Regardless of how good it is or isn't, the Help file will always feel like learning Vwks through the small end of binoculars.

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Guest Alexandra


When we selected a new kind of help system for Vectorworks 2010, we were trying to improve the user experience, resolve past complaints, as well as move into the realm of "Web 2.0" by providing the ability to for you to customize the help with your own links and comments.

Apparently, for some of you, we have not yet succeeded. However, some explanation may bring you to a warmer feeling about the help system.

As you may know, AIR is a technology provided by Adobe, and it's becoming more and more widespread. It's used by FedEx, eBay, the New York Times, and other mega companies for a variety of web applications (learn more at http://www.adobe.com/products/air/).

That being said, like any software, it has bugs. One of these bugs is a Mac-only issue that you have discussed here. If you access "What's This?" help twice, you will be brought to the Welcome page the second time. Adobe is aware of this bug but we have no control over when it will get fixed. In the meantime, and sorry about this, you'll have to close the help window in between "What's This?" requests.

The search is not always ideal, I agree. About 75% of the time, I can find what I want, but it depends on what I am searching for. It's what I'd call "finicky" - sometimes the term you think to search for may be too vague, appears too often, or does not appear at all in the text.(The new search is actually an improvement over the previous help system search.) In your example, if you search for "Referencing" or, using quotes, "referenced files" - you will get relevant search results.

If you cannot find what you are searching for, try a slightly different term, try using quotes, and/or try using the index. Again, Adobe is aware that the search isn't working perfectly, and they will hopefully improve this in the future.

As for other comments, Jaime said, "I suggest a "What's New" section of help that is just commands and features new to Release 2010." Please search, yes, search, for new features or "New Features". The first section of the Fundamentals, Design Series, and VectorScript Language Guide have contained a list of new features, with links to those descriptions, for the past many versions of Vectorworks. I hope you find this helpful.

Another comment I can address: "Then help could link to a variety of helpful resources...including this techboard." Please click on the Favorites tab and you can do just that, by clicking on "Vectorworks Community Board." You can also add your own links and RSS feeds here.

If you long for the days of the printed manual, we try to satisfy that craving by including PDFs of all the manuals. Just click on "Additional Documentation" in the help system Table of Contents.

As a writer, I also like and appreciate a printed manual, but you won't find many companies that provide them any longer. Some users have suggested bringing the PDFs to an office supply type of store, where they can print it and bind it for you. If you simply prefer the format of the old manuals to that of the help system, then please use the PDFs.

The "Welcome" portion of the help provides an overview of how to use the help system. Please give the new help system a try and you may find that it's not so evil after all.


Alexandra Duffy

Senior Technical Writer

Nemetschek NA

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As you may know, AIR is a technology provided by Adobe, and it's becoming more and more widespread. It's used by FedEx, eBay, the New York Times, and other mega companies for a variety of web applications (learn more at http://www.adobe.com/products/air/).

OK. If we'd follow this lead, we'd dump VectorWorks and move to AutoCAD, used by megacompanies of our fields.

I'm not even remotely interested who has created the system or who are using it. If anything, the word ?Adobe? rings warning bells: just the other week I received their latest which told that Acrobat solves 99% of problems in businesses.

Edited by Kool Aid
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Maybe NNA could provide non-exclusive copyright permission to print the manuals in bulk and sell them to interested persons.

It would save wasteful printing, and provide what some customers deem necessary.

The logistics for NNA would be minimal and it would not impact an existing revenue stream.

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Here's the thing with the help system:

The strength of any software is based on the quality of its help system. Otherwise you lose new users.

As an architect, I don't give a about help that concerns lighting, mechanical or even landscape versions of the software. It was much more clear when fundamentals and trade specific publications were issued. I didn't have to wade thru gobos etc when trying to look up lighting for architecture. Melding it all together in one forum may be cost effective for the company, but worthless for the users. Furthermore the information and instruction is not what it used to be in earlier versions. For example, while the info on placing keynotes is clear, finding the keynote legend is something else. There is no information about where the legend lives or how to find it.

And yes, the Adobe interface stinks, especially that it defaults back to the welcome page every time you go back to it.

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Given the problems with OSX's help indexer, those who have to develop commercial applications for the MAC don't have many options...never mind those unfortunate few who have to find something dual platform - like NNA.

What puzzles me about this thread though, is why Mac users are relying on help in the first place.

Apparently they don't brew the Cupertino Kool-Aid like they used to.

Edited by brudgers
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