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Fergus Burke

stepped window reveals for windows

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Hi all,

I've searched the forums but not discovered how to generate stepped reveals for windows in walls. The opening has say a width of 1,01m on the external facade and a width of 1/2 brick more, 1,135m on the room side. Window then sits behind the projecting external leaf.

Thanks for any help. I've tried various settings with negative offsets but they produce unstable results.


VW2010 & VW2015

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Not sure if this will help, but I found a 10+ year old thread discussing splayed reveals at windows with the following suggestion, it might apply to stepped reveals: Symbols in walls

To make splays work with wall objects in VectorWorks, you must make the splays part of the window symbol. Draw the window symbol (you can start with a Window object) the way you want, then draw the splays the way you want at either jamb. Select the whole thing and make it a symbol. The insertion point of the symbol should be on the centerline of the wall. This means that you'll have to make a symbol for each window and type of wall construction that you want splayed.

I haven't used splayed windows, so the suggested workflow may not be required in more recent versions of Vw.

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Is this what you are looking for - Standard rebated windows and doors.

The attached file is a screenshot of a 10mm facing brick blink over the kit - Client required all opening to be brickwork sizes. Unfortunately VW cannot show firestops or lintels for timber frame (which is a shame). The Cill detailing is getting better, but still a long way to go.

It is actually quite straightforward - once you get round the quirks of VW.

1. Create your window and put it in the wall (Take a note of your jamb and wall width).

This is typical apartment external wall (U-Value 0.19)


372mm wall (2 x 12.5mm plasterboard / service void 140mm kit / 9.5mm OSB / 50mm cavity / 102.5mm Facing Brick)

Window jamb = 65mm thick

Will require an offset of 51mm to sit the window frame on the inner brick face (Standard detailing)

2. Adjust the window offset - It always has to be moved. Who wants to put a window in the middle of the cavity????

2. In window settings - go to components and select 1 external component (no splay. This will now put a drag grip on the LH side of the window. To adjust the blink size, just select and drag. I usually select / drag then hit tab and enter the distance (10 / 15 / 20mm) as required. If you have a roughcast finish to the external leaf, select 2 external components (and so on).

3. The Internal is just the same as the external although you can also drag the internal finish horizontally and vertically (either by feel or by specified distance).

Hope this helps.


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You could use create wall projections and recesses. (AEC) and push your window back to wherever you want with plan wall offest in your window OIP.

So you can get something like the attached.


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It is possible (but it should be easier than this NV!):

1. Take your window and make it into a Symbol

2. Edit the 2D Component and draw the window reveal with 2D elements so that it looks like you want around the window (see image below, I made one red so that you can see what I added) make sure the window has full break without caps to make the 2D and the wall merge.


3. Edit the 3D wall hole component and create a 3D element that will be cut out of the wall to create the correct reveal in 3D. (In the image below I just created a random shape to show what is possible.....)


Edited by Vincent C

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Thanks guys for all the suggestions but this just shows that the problem has not been addressed and there is no good solution available. We've been using VW since the early noughties and this has always been a problem. We just updated all licences to 2015 and I had been hoping the issue had been addressed.

Creating a symbol with reveals for each and every window type and wall type is not practicable. To date we've been inserting windows with straight jambs and then adding rectangles to show the reveals. This works for us when we're showing existing buildings with blacked in walls but obviously does not work for newbuild or 3d applications. I've used 2 wall objects with a cased opening but this is messy unless you're only drawing a couple of windows.

We've tried using walls with an external component but the results are often unpredictable but this seems the only way available so we'll have to persevere until a tool is added to make it easier.

The other ideas are also very specific to particular window sizes or types so are probably not practicable.

But thanks anyway!

If anyone thinks of anything new, please feel free to continue the thread.


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Fergus- it's already pretty clear what functionality you want the Window PIO to have, but if you submit a new wishlist item for it, it will have a better chance of getting implemented. Include a link to this thread to make it easier on JimW.

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We have had some success with using a symbol consisting of a window with two wall end caps adjacent to it to create the custom reveals. We then apply this symbol to the wall.

We've managed to get it working in both 2D and 3D but it is fiddly to set up and is pretty unstable when you want to edit any of the properties of the window. We've therefore given up this process on the whole unless we have a window which is placed between two walls of different thickness/materials.

We generally wrap wall components within the window to create the effect Fergus is asking for at scales up to 1:50. I appreciate it doesn't look great on screen but when you print it out at the correct scale it looks fine. We then use traditionally drawn 2D window details at scales greater than 1:50.

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In VW2010: I've now tried out using a single 510mm leaf wall (black for existing building) then in window settings using a negative jamb width (-63.5mm for 1/4 brick)and a 95mm plan wall offset calculated to leave me a jamb outside the window of 125mm (window as casement with sash width 80mm, depth 70mm). This places the window in the wall and the window frame embedded in the wall. I then add interior trim with width -63.5mm and thickness calculated to be the remainder of the wall thickness (=wall thickness - 125mm for the outer jamb - window frame thickness, here 70mm)

Show wall lines is switched on.

The 2d plan representation is ok, there are 2 extra lines for the interior trim that I could do without but I can use the window and vary the width or the casements or placement for the wall depth. For other walls I need new settings for offset and interior trim thickness.


The other option is to use the exterior components method. I have to then define each external wall type with an external 63.5mm component, all in black and then set the offset again as before and then set the jamb width to be 63.5mm or greater. This works quite well and is good in both 2d and 3d.

Method 1) is good becaue I don't need to worry about my wall definitions but then I need to fiddle with the window settings a lot. And there are extra lines in 2d and it doesn't work on the internal side in 3d as the trim is solid.

Method 2) is good if I set up wall definitions and just generally have an external leaf of 63.5mm in all external walls and set up the window frame measurements for the first window. All I need to calculate is the offset. You can adjust the offset for multiple windows but the 63.5mm reveals do not automatically follow the window frames and have to be adjusted individually which is a pity.

What we also really need are the box-type double casement windows prevalent here. Method 2) is best as I can copy and drag the windows to make the inner window, at least in 1:50 or smaller it looks fine.


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Has any better way of dealing with this emerged since 2015?


I'm in VW2018 and trying to decipher the methods described by @Fergus Burke above (so far without success)


To avoid confusion the kind of detail I want to replicate is something like the screenshot below: the window is rebated behind an external brick layer. I have no intention of getting VW to show the actual buildup detail correctly but I just want to be able to show a window opening where the reveal opening to the room is wider than the aperture in the brickwork looking from outside. It just needs to look right on 1:50 plan and in 3d for the purpose of elevations etc.




Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 18.30.33.jpg

Edited by line-weight

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@line-weight I'd be really interested to know how far you got with this enquiry + if/how you get your doors/windows to look half-decent in plan, section + 3D. It seems bizarre that you can set edge conditions for slabs, walls + roofs in some detail + get the interface between their respective components looking great in section, but have no such control when it comes to the interface between wall components + doors/windows.

I am reasonably happy with what I can achieve in plan by using the wrap components feature:


And can use an extrude along path to make the reveal look the way it should in 3D but this is hardly a practical solution:


But then when it comes to vertical sections it's a joke:


Is there a way to get better results other than manually annotating it in the VP?

I am quite new to this. Any advice gratefully received.


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I'm afraid the answer is simply that this is a major limitation of the window tool.


So it's either manual annotations in the VP, or ignore the window tool, and directly model the window and its sill and any surrounds. In that case, you can then put it into a simple window opening in the wall, but you still can't do a rebate like what I was looking for in my OP.


If I remember right, what I actually ended up doing was drawing two walls right next to each other, and then I could make a different sized hole in each, and create a rebated opening - but this was very fiddly, and I still ended up with lines where I didn't want them in section.

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Ok that's really good to know thank you. I will experiment with making my own window symbol that incorporates sill, linings, etc.

So with your box sash window example earlier, if you were to go down the same create-symbol route, could the half-brick rebate be achieved by clipping the wall with an appropriately-shaped wall hole component?


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When I model a window directly - it tends to be just as a dumb object rather than a symbol - and I then manually sit it in a plain "opening" in the wall, instead of then fighting with VW settings to get it to land where I want. But maybe I am being lazy on that front.


I'm not sure if the rebate could be achieved with an appropriately shaped wall hole component - not something I've tried, because I've assumed a wall hole component can only really be a 2d shape - but I might be wrong about that. If you have any success with that, please report back!

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A wall hole component as far as I know can do anything you want it to. It is just negative space. See this thread:

From what I gather after spending a fair part of my weekend trawling through info on the matter you can model your window including sill + linings, turn it into a 3D symbol complete with appropriately-shaped wall hole component, then access this symbol in the Window Settings via the 'Use Symbol Geometry' setting in the General section. You can then insert it into walls using the Window Tool + whilst most of the parameters will be overridden by the symbol you can still control component wrapping, wall offset + include the window in schedules/reports. But would mean a separate symbol for each window of a different size/configuration. Needless to say I need to try this out...

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Sounds like something I should get to understand better, then. Will be interested to hear how you get on.


A recurring pattern with VW is that I look into some feature I've not really investigated before, get the impression that it can do something really useful, and then spend half a day realising that it has some limitation that means it isn't actually any good in practice. But I hope you don't have that experience here.

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