Jump to content

Transition from AutoCAD to Vectorworks

Recommended Posts


I'm teaching 2 co-workers how to use Vectorworks, but they're 'old school' in their drafting methods ie: everything is done with 2d linework in AutoCAD.

The ideal VW workflow is much different (and in my opinion better) but they're quite resistant to change their ways. I understand why, since they've been doing things one way for 15+ years.

They get excited about VW when they see what I can do with the program but then they get frustrated trying to use it themselves.

I could really use some advice to help them make the transition from AutoCAD to VW.

Any tips, tricks, compromises and/or success stories would really help me out. Has anyone else delt with a similar situation?

Thanks and sorry for the long-winded post!


Link to comment

Its really hard to get Autocad users to change from drawing with lines. Some of the techniques I've used are to show them how:

- Quickly you can draw up a reasonably complex paved area using Add Surface and Subtract Surface.

- Drawn areas can be hatched or filled.

- You can use the Objects from Polyline command to create other objects.

- You can draw multi component hatched walls with doors and windows in them and how easy it is to change and/or move these doors and windows around.

- Walls will stay connected when you move them and the slab objects will automatically follow them.

- Roofs can be created from shapes or walls.

Link to comment

When I started using MiniCad 7 (an earlier Vectorworks), I used the workspace editor to assign key commands for lines, rectangles, offset, pan, as similar to what I was using in Autocad (I just used the acad.pgp file as a printed reference). So that switching between the two programs during the transition was much easier for me.

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...


I am another recent convert from ACad all my professional life to now using Vectorworks - I am also finding it very frustrating at times. I have to say that so far, if I could combine elements from the latest ACad and the latest Vectorworks then we would have the ideal program - but thats probably not for this post to discuss.

I think the most important advice I can give you is to tell them that they need to stop comparing the two, as the work flow is very different and invariably their work rate will be much slower and frustrating at times [new program, so not unexpected right?].

In the beginning all I did was compare and that didn't help my learning because ultimately I couldn't get out of the - ACAD was better - mindset - which is going to happen when you suddenly are unable to use the program you have been using for 10+ years.

Good luck!

Link to comment

My big hurdle was letting go of the "drawing with sticks" mindset in Autocad vs. the "assembling with objects" approach in Vectorworks. My brain was so geared toward using lineweight to draw something in 2d which merely represented something 3d that I would completely forget that I am not actually drawing in Vectorworks. For the most part, I "build" in Vectorworks. Sure, I would eventually draw stuff later on in my process through the viewports, but using lines merely became the "icing".

I'd bet that if I ran an audit of a novice VW (and former Acad) user's file of a project, their file would have thousands upon thousands of lines, and very little use of a good number of plug in objects, hatch patterns, and hybrid symbols. This is just fine, and a normal part of the learning curve.

have fun. you are not alone :)

Link to comment

Yeah, it's so tough when you use a program for such a long time and ways of clicking / shortcuts are engrained. I've been there too :)

It's going pretty well now! The largest challenges for them, like you say, are drawing/editing objects + polygons rather than lines.

building vs. drawing is such a great way to put it.

The 'trainees' have even tought me a couple tricks now ;) such as hitting a shortcut key twice to bring up the properties.

In hindsight I probably should have invested in one of the beginner training manuals for them as well.

Thanks again for your time to reply! Good luck also.


Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...