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I am a retired architect. My firm was 100% Macintosh and fairly large. We started with MiniCAD 5 years ago and stayed with this software, in spite of its growing pains and acquisition by Nemetschek through VW 12.5. I loved this software until I hung up my mouse 2+ years ago and recently upgraded my Macs to Snow Leopard (v.10.6.8). I never thought that my VectorWorks would be incompatible. I hadn't used my VW in a couple of years, but now a wonderful old client wants a set of plans. And I am unable to provide them or access any of my past work!

I called Nemetschek and got the bad news ? yes, my VW 12.5 isn't compatible with Snow Leopard; yes, I must buy a new 2011 from them to open my old files or a 2010 issue from the internet; no, there isn't any other cheaper software out there that will open VW 12.5 files; no, VW will not be issuing any software fixes for this; no, they have no pricing or software-neutered options for retired architects that will allow them to open and print old files. (I simply want to be able to give my old clients a print set of plans, or to open files to answer questions if that have any.) Nemetschek says take the whole loaf hit, or nothing! This is wrong!

My warning to you is to move away from Vectorworks and Nemetschek while you can because they will not support you when you are not longer in business. It is improper behavior for a CAD company, whose customers supported them through the years, to fail to provide at least a primitive way of accessing, editing title blocks, and printing their old files. All that needs to be done is eliminate the "save" option which for all intents neuters the applications.

My questions for the world are:

1) Is there a workaround for my dilemma? What can I do to trick my Mac to overlook the destroyed background?

2) Are there any other CAD apps for the Mac that will read (import) and print VW files?

3) Will you support my appeal, contact Nemetschek and ask them to do what's right so that your files will be accessible in the future?

Thank you boys and girls for any help and support you can give on this. Think of what this could mean to you in the future ? the space you will need to have to store your old drawings when you are no longer practicing; periodically paying thousands for an app that you may never have to use again after you are out of business just to print a set of plans for a happy old client.

Tom S. http://techboard.nemetschek.net/images/icons/default/thumbs_down.gif

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Have you considered the VW2011 Viewer?

"The Viewer is a FREE value-added benefit for Vectorworks 2011 and Vectorworks Industry Series users. The Viewer enables others who do not own Vectorworks software to view and print projects created in Vectorworks 2011, similar to the way in which Adobe Acrobat allows for the sharing of files. The Viewer also allows for on-line collaboration between designers and clients during the creative process. Please note that the version 2011 Viewer allows users to view files created in Vectorworks versions 9 through 2010 as well."

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You have a good point about being able to recover old information and it is something that we all need to think about. This is more likely to happen in the future. When OSX10.7 Lion is released, all of the only PowerPC code will stop running, so there is likely to be lots of orphan code.

Probably not an option for you, but I think that the final output of projects should be archived in multiple formats that are likely to be long lived. PDF and JPEG or TIFF will probably be able to be read for at least the next 20 years, probably the next 200.

Other than that, you need to archive not only the data, but also the work environment. I have machines dating back to a PowerMac 4400 (PowerPC 604 processor) that I can bring on-line if necessary for this kind of situation.

For your problem, I can offer a partial solution. If you send me the files, I will either print them to PDF for you or convert them to VW2011 so you can open them with the reader (though that does not include all of the rendering capabilities). Send me the file to the email address in my signature. If it is over 40MB, then use a service like DropBox to upload the file and send me the link to download.

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We have an old iBook that has a MiniCAD 7 translator version that was supplied to us by our Australian VW distributor to access our old files. I hope I am not getting Julian in trouble, but I would be very surprised if VW Nemetschek wouldn't give you this service. The reality is that to use/access these old files you need to have an old Mac either to run the old apps or to translate the files for use on a new version of the operating system. There is no getting around this.

The best example of this is the US space program. If NASA is going to have problems with legacy data, then we all are.

PS Don't believe that any other software will give you better legacy file issues. It won't, and if it pretends to, it will give you issues in day to day usage.

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I have files that go back to Minicad 5 in my archives as well. I strongly believe Nemetschek should have an online file translator for old files. Upload your old file and they send you a link to a translated version. How difficult would it be for them to support this? Not very. Most other software opens old versions of its own files. Vectorworks has been especially bad in terms of changing the file type.

My two cents.


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Me too. I'm running VW12.5 on OS10.6.8.

This is a huge problem that dotb has discovered though, and it's going to get worse when as Pat has said OS10.7 Lion really switches things off. Goodbye to Appleworks for instance and years of letter and specification files.

We all accumulate archived files and people are going to find that files which may be only a few years old are inaccessible on their new machines running the latest software. As dotb has found out, it's annoying and can be highly embarrassing.

When I eventually upgrade my iMac (which will have Lion preloaded by then) I will have to shell out for the new VW, but additionally I am also going to have to buy an external hard drive and load VW12.5 and my files on it and hope I can continue to access them via my old iBook.

It seems crazy but you have to keep an old computer, maybe a whole series of them, as part of your archive.

Edited by D Wood
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Why don't they just drop the incredibly annoying "File Format Wars" altogether and eliminate the difficulties hidden therein?

It just doesn't make any sense any more. It may have once been a way of protecting individual intellectual properties. but IT licensing laws seem to cover every aspect of protection of their product, so much so, that i have to ensure that while i am using some software that i am still legally entitled to take a "Rest Room Break" without infringing on their licensing laws.

e.g. SpaceClaim has no tight restraints! It'll work with anything! Unless of course you want to open a VW file!! Then you're scuppered!!

By the way, 2011 is not that clever at opening and working with older files.

Be "WARNED" with a few i've been told that "the file has become corrupted" after a few hours working in 2011 and lost the file despite saving it to several different locations as suggested. Yet opening the original in the version in which it was created, it shows no damage or corruption. Just hours of work lost. Yep, Backups fail too!

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