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Combined Poly(gon)(line) tool

Mark Taylor


Why are there Polygons? It seems to me that the Polyline tool does everything that the Polygon tool does plus a whole lot more.

With polylines I can apply visibility to any edge, but with polygons I can only close the last edge of an "open" form.

With polylines I can draw a variety of nodes and curved connectors, but with polygons I can only draw straight lines.

My thought is that they should be combined into one tool.


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Polylines are bugged when using a tile fill in combination with a rotated viewport. The fill just doesn't show up. This problem isn't there with polygons.

I think polygons were first, then polylines. So they are both there now. And I think that's really fine! Because you know that when selecting a polygon, there are no roundings and visa versa.

Edited by DWorks
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I'm continuing this conversation that stopped back in 2011.

So it seems from studying the various comments about polylines and polygons here and in other threads that no one really knows what they are about and why they exist as two things. It sounds like a programming challenge that then got passed on into the user interface for all of us to wrestle with this silly combination of tools.


Edited by Mark Taylor
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

They are still handled as separate object types due to the various formats we need to be able to import and export.

You can convert objects all to polygons if you want them to all register that way for Select Similar or Custom Selection etc with Modify > Convert > Convert to Polygons.

Or use whichever tool works best for the situation.

Edited by JimW
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in GIS you cannot draw an unclosed shape with a polygon, its always closes itself, you instead have to use a polyline. For instance, when tracing a public footpath off of a map onto your design, you would have to use a polyline if it doesnt connect up in a loop. when exporting it will separate the files into 2, polygons and polylines.

i dont think this is just an issue in GIS, it think it is also the case in others, so i dont think you will be able to get rid of both..... unless VW does some kind of conversion on import

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There may be good reasons for the separation, but they are completely wrong for the user. Again, this is a programming conundrum that has been passed onto the user.

Here is what it should be:

1. Grab the one combined tool (arc, line, polyline, and polygon - and maybe even freehand and multi-line) and run with it.

2. Draw a line, or a curve, or a complex line, or a complex shape.

3. Leave it open or closed. Or, change whether something is open or closed.

4. Edit segments.

5. Make simplifying transformations.

4. Use fills.

5. Perform 3D operations.

There seems to be no consensus about polylines and polygons - not on the forums and not in the user manuals. Let the software do its work because I don't want to do it.

Dammmit, Jim! I'm a doctor, not an escalator.

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There may be good reasons for the separation, but they are completely wrong for the user. Again, this is a programming conundrum that has been passed onto the user.

I think you are being a bit harsh. i do not see a problem with using a line tool, then an arc tool, or using a polyline tool to draw what i want. at some point the user has to become skilled in using different tools to achieve what they want.

The idea that the user can draw whatever they want and Vectorworks will sort it out, seems extreme. where do you stop this? if i draw a circle, will Vectorworks know that its plant, and make it into a plant? where do you draw the line on this?

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That was more of an example of integration. This thread is mainly about the confusing nature of the polyline and polygon tools.

With that said, I am aware of be able to choose multiple tools for various reasons. I'm not suggesting to get rid of the rectangle tool or the circle tool, or even the simple line tool, for example, but I am interested in getting rid of redundancy.

It seems that the polyline and polygon tools have too much overlap. I can draw more complex shapes with the polyline tool. I believe either can have fills, or be open or closed in some way, or have fills in some way. There does not seem to be a consensus from users or manuals why one would be used over the other.

I will post a more detailed request in the wishlist.

Thanks for all the responses!

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One tool capable of the following:

1. draw continuous lines, arcs, curves (maybe even freehand and multi-line)

2. finish as a line or a shape

3. choose whether the entity is open or closed

-a) a line that is visually open could be closed as a shape and receive a fill of some kind

-b) a shape that is visually closed could be an open connected line without a fill

4. edit individual segments or sections

5. apply point simplifying transformations to complex curves

6. perform 3D operations

This would be a tool that would end the confusion of the polyline/polygon tool. I'm not suggesting that special tools like circles, rectangles, etc. be eliminated.

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