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VW/Autocad equavalent commands


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Originally posted by Becki:

Does anyone have a quick-n-dirty list of equavalent commands between Autocad and VW that they can share?

I've started a list that I've taped to the wall, flipping through the manual every few minutes to try and find what I'm looking for is pretty cumbersome.

Use a ASCII Text editor and edit the ACAD.PGP file in your AutoCAD support folder. Here you get a list of the default AutoCAD commands, and you can modify them to be whatever you want.

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Quite frankly, as an ex-autocad user, when making the transition, the best thing to do is to forget anything and everything you know about autocad, and focus on how VW operates. If you try to use VW while trying to think in autocad termology it makes the transition more difficult.

From one ex-autocad user,


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I totally agree with tvetter. But maybe this stuff will help you. It's some notes I made while switching from AutoCad to VectorWorks several years ago, and then cleaned up and gave to some friends who switched later. I tried to update it for you to version 10, but I probably missed some things since I still use version 8 most of the time. It only covers 2D drafting, and probably leaves out some features that other users consider very important.

---Same name in VW as in AC:

Line, Arc, Ellipse, Dimension, Leader, Mirror, Rotate, Offset, Fillet, Trim, Pan, Zoom, Undo, Redo.

---Synonyms and Equivalents:

Entity = Object

Dynamic Dialogue = Palette

Toolbar = Tool Palette

Properties = Attributes & Object Info (selected and shown on the Attributes palette & Object Info palette)

Linetype = Dash Style (to create or alter one: Page>SetAttributeDefaults>DashStyles...)

Grips = Selection Handles (turn on "Eight Selection Handles, in File>Preferences>VectorWorksPreferences)

Osnap = Constraint (but it's not necessary to keep changing them, just make sure "Smart Cursor Cues" is turned on, in File>Preferences>VectorWorksPreferences).

Move = just drag the object with the Select tool

Stretch = just drag the selection handles with the Select tool

Copy = hold down Ctrl key and drag the object, or Edit>Duplicate, and then drag the duplicate to wherever you want it

Break = Tool>Trim command (not to be confused with the Trim tool, which is similar to AC Trim)

Chamfer 0 0 = Tool>Join (but the longer part of each line remains, rather than the part that was picked)

Erase = Delete key

Scale = Tool>ScaleObjects

Block = Symbol, and is a little like Group. Symbol insertions can't be re-sized, but they can be converted to Groups and then re-sized. A Group can only have one iteration.

Block command = Organize>CreateSymbol (or Organize>Group)

Insert = Symbol tool

Explode = Organize>ConvertToGroup, then Organize>UnGroup (but it's not necessary to explode a Symbol or a Group in order to edit it, just use Organize>EditSymbol or EditGroup, or just double-click on the Symbol or Group)

Circle = Ellipse tool, modes 2, 3, and 4

Polygon = Regular Polygon tool

PLine = 2D Polyline & 2D Polygon tools

Pedit = 2D Re-shape tool

Array = Edit>DuplicateArray

Distance = Tape Measure tool

Construction Lines = Guides (to convert selected objects to guides: Edit>Guides>Make Guide)

Zoom Extents = Page>FitToWindow

Zoom All = Page>FitToObjects

Layer = Class (but VW also has Layers, which have no equivalent in AC)

Menu = Workspace (to edit it or select a new one: File>Workspaces)

User Coordinate System = Page>SetGrid and SetOrigin

The VW equivalent to an AC crossing selection (or a window dragged to the left) is a selection window dragged while holding the Ctrl key.

The VW method of adding to the selection set is to hold down the Shift key while selecting. Items already selected are removed from the selection set.

---Not in VW:

No Enter or SpaceBar or Escape to end a command or tool. A "command" (issued from a pull-down menu or by Ctrl-key combination) usually acts on a pre-selected set of objects, and ends as soon as it's issued. A "tool" (selected from a tool palette or by pressing a letter key) ends when you select a different tool. There's always a currently active tool. Holding down the Space Bar switches temporarily to the Pan tool, and releasing it switches back to the active tool.

No comma to separate X and Y coordinates. Use the keypad Enter key before, after, and between coordinates. The coordinate values display at the top of the screen.

No model space and paper space. Everything is drawn to a scale, as with hand drafting, except that the program handles the scale for us. Select a scale for each layer. To have drawings in different scales on the same drawing sheet, just put them on different layers, at different scales. If you want another view of something at a different scale, just copy and paste it onto a layer with that scale.

No equivalent to the AC Extend command, unfortunately. There used to be a very good VW Extend tool, but Nemetschek discontinued it after version 8, and they keep trying to tell us that a new tool (I forget which one) does the same thing. Except for this, they're very responsive to users' needs.

No equivalent to AC Attributes. To make an easy-to-edit schedule: create a blank text object, format it with center alignment, array it, and then group the array into a single object. In VW, "attributes" means lineweight, color, dash style, and fill.

---Not in AC:

Every object has line weight, color, and dash style, all visible on screen the same as they'll print out (be sure to select "Zoom Line Thickness", in the "Display" tab of File>Preferences>VectorWorksPreferences).

VW 2D surfaces are very useful. They can be made with the Rectangle, Polyline, Polygon, Regular Polygon, Arc, and Ellipse tools, and can be combined by addition and cookie-cutter-subtraction (Tool>AddSurface, or ClipSurface, or IntersectSurface) or by polyline editing. Every surface has associated fill, which can be none, solid color, vector hatch (with or without solid fill background), or bitmap pattern. An entire plan can be quickly put together by combining rectangles into a single surface. Elevations can be drawn quickly by combining rectangles into a complex shape representing a wall surface, with hatching to represent the coursing lines, and then placing solid filled symbols or groups (representing windows and doors) on a layer above that of the walls.

VW Layers are like different sheets of clear film that each contain part of the drawing, layered one on top of another so that all are visible but you can select any of them as the one to draw on, without bringing it to the top of the pile, and with or without seeing the other layers. Alternatively, you can work on all layers at once (Organize>LayerOptions). Objects within a layer also have layering and can be moved up or down within that layer (Tool>Send>SendForward, Backward, etc.). New objects are drawn at the top of the current layer. VW also has Classes, which are similar to AC layers.

VW has scale, just like hand drafting. Each layer has a scale associated with it, and everything on that layer is drawn to that scale. You can only work on or snap to layers with the same scale as the current layer. Text size and line weight are relative to paper, not to the scale of the layer.

The VW Group is extremely useful. It's not like the AC Group. In some ways it's like the AC Block, but without multiple iterations that all change at once. In some ways it's like an un-named sub-layer (in the VW sense of Layers). It's a way of combining a number of related objects, so they can be selected, moved, copied, mirrored, rotated, etc. all as a group, or so their properties can be changed all at once, or so that the objects in the group can only be edited in a special "EditGroup" mode, during which objects outside the group are visible and snappable but not editable (Organize>EditGroup, or just double-click on the group).

The Wall tool creates a linear object consisting of some number of parallel lines at designated spacing and with specified hatching or solid fills between some or all of them. Walls can be edited and joined, and symbols can be inserted in walls, interrupting them for things like doors and windows.

Text objects can be multi-line, either by using the keyboard Enter key to insert hard line-breaks, or by stretching the text entity to a finite width, so that word-wrap inserts soft line-breaks. End the text object with the keypad Enter key. There are a lot of text formatting options. Version 10 text objects can have tab stops.

Text objects and other visually-located objects can be "nudged" into an exact location by using the arrow keys, alone or in combination with the Shift and/or Ctrl keys (as determined by the "Arrow Keys" section of the "Edit" tab of File>Preferences>VectorWorksPreferences).

Sheets are defined by specifying which Layers and Classes are to be visible on each sheet. The Sheets Menu is pulled up from a tiny icon in the lower left, on the scroll bar.

There's always a Print Border shown on screen as a grey rectangle, showing the limits of the current printable area (not the paper size, but the part of the paper that will be printed on). That printable area is determined by:

1. File>PrintSetup (Printer Name, Paper Size and Orientation, and Scaling); and

2. Page>SetPrintArea (normally keep this set as "One Page", which is at the top of the pull-down list).

The Print Border can be grabbed and dragged to a new location with the Move Page tool.

[ 01-21-2004, 04:34 PM: Message edited by: jan15 ]

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Thanks, Petri. You're right, of course. I completely forgot that, and even had to check the manual to see what you were talking about. I edited my original post to cross that part out.

There's a huge worksheet and database facility in VW, which keeps those data records and does many things with them, including automatically creating schedules on the drawing, but I'm too lazy to learn it

When I first started using VectorWorks, as MiniCad 6, I didn't like the way the worksheet-generated schedules looked on the drawing, and I really liked the easy ways of formatting and presenting text, so I didn't use the worksheets for schedules. And I couldn't think of any other immediate use for the database facility, so I just dropped the whole issue from my radar screen. I also don't use walls, plug-in objects, layer links, workgroup references, and probably lots of other features that many people use and love. Beware, Becki, and anyone else who uses the above list.

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Originally posted by jan15:

No Enter or SpaceBar or Escape to end a command or tool. A "command" (issued from a pull-down menu or by Ctrl-key combination) usually acts on a pre-selected set of objects, and ends as soon as it's issued. A "tool" (selected from a tool palette or by pressing a letter key) ends when you select a different tool. There's always a currently active tool.

To quit a tool: press the escape key [ESC]. To switch back to the mouse pointer (arrow selector): press X-key.



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