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Wrong linethickness


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When I draw diagonal lines in VW 9 or 10 under macOS X the linethickness is thicker than lines that are drawn orthogonal

(horizontal and vertical). When "zoom line thickness" is on you can see the difference. Just zoom in verry close. You can also see it when you create a PDF-files just before you print. When printing with EPSON drivers for MacOSX it shows on your prints!! Other printers don't have this problem! I've been in contact with EPSON but they point their finger at Nemetschek after they found out that you can see the difference in VW-drawings.

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It's a PS vs. non-ps printer issue when it prints out under OS 10. THe problem isn't there under OS 9.

PS printers print with a round pen, allowing a smoother, more consistant diagonal line.

Non-PS printers print with a square pen, printing a darker, more jagged print.

Depending on the pen weight, you may see darker diagonal lines with a PS printer.

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That's strange, because a OKI laserwriter doesn't have this problem and neither does the epson printer when I use the gimp drivers (version 4.3.2) for epson that come with the MacOS 10.3.

But these are very slow and have bad colormanagement etc.

It only happens with vectorworks in combination with epson printerdrivers under MacOS X. It doesn't matter wich version for any of the programs I use. How can it be explained that the lines are thicker, even on screen!?

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I beleive the gimp drivers are converting to raster, which may eliminate the line thickness.

When printing directly to a printer manuf. printer driver, the mentioned results will happen.

You can try to check mark Print as Raster in the print dialog box to see if that makes a difference when you print to the Epson. If it changes the line wieghts, then you know gimp print is rasterizing the prints.

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How can it be explained that the lines are thicker, even on screen!?

It's on the screen because MiniCad/Vectorworks, continues to use Quickdraw (or a descendent thereof) to draw on the screen. Apple introduced QD in the 80's as an efficient way to draw PIXELS on the screen. QD uses a square pen instead of a round one, which can make lines up to 41% fatter when drawn on diagonals. Most professional programs (Freehand, Illustrator, Photoshop, et al.) have evolved beyond this. Printing to PS printers circumvents the problem by substituting PS code for the QD code. Non-PS printers, unless they are driven by a 3rd party PS RIP, still suffer from Square-Pen-itis.

Until the programmers at NNA tackle this beast, you (we) will have to suffer this little bit of MiniCad that just won't grow up.


PS - Pardon my rant, I've tried to limit this particular one to once a year now. There is not much I don't like about VW, but this one feature is pervasive. See ya' in 2005, but I hope not.

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Thanks Raymond,

I was looking for the beast that messes up all my drawings.

I was hoping that my problem could be solved but this thread of messsages probably ends here. After a discusion of two months with Epson it seems the problem has to be solved by Nemetschek.

I just hope they will... soon

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As a side note, the square pen draw is Mac only.

PC draws with a round pen.

And I am pretty sure QD is not supported under OS 10 so I will have to look into the drawing with QD dilema still.

[ 02-12-2004, 09:35 AM: Message edited by: Katie ]

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This has been an unwelcome effect in mc/vw for all years I've been using it. I've been told in the past that you have to choose: square pen and goofy line weights for diagonals, or round pens and no truely sharp corners where lines meet (especially at thick lines). A number of years ago somebody from the mailing list actually wrote a script the convert all diagonal lines in a drawing based on their angle to a "normalized" thickness (that equal to perp. lines). Problem was, if you ran it twice on a drawing the diag lines were reduced too thin. So you really had to create a copy of your file right before plotting and run the script. Any mods to the drawing needed to be done on the orig file, then a new "plot file" needed to be recreated and the script run again befor plotting. Not convenient.

I know other cad programs (like datacad) use multiple thin lines closely spaced to achieve hvy linewts.

I've always considered this a problem and I'm quite surprised it hasn't been addressed.

Question: those of you using ps printers (and on PCs): What is the affect of the round pen in your final prints? For instance if you draw a line say 72 mils, is the end of the line a semicircle? or is it squared?



Nevada City Design Studio

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quick follow-up:

I don't find pdfs any more noticable, but mainly because its VERY noticable in all forms (I always draw with show line thickness).

This has been an issue in mac System 6, System 7, OS 8, OS 9 and OS X. I first noticed the diag line wt issue in MiniCad+ 3.1--that goes back pretty far.

I'd like more info on the ps vs. non-ps printers. My experience: using my old HP 455CA(ps printer) with rip software--same problem (but could hve to do with saving the file as .ps?). Printers I've used recently displaying problem: Epson 820, Epson 1160, HP Officejet 6110, HP dj 120nr, HP dj 455CA, HP dj 220.

I may be anal retentive, but I've gone so far as to standardize in my office all leader lines on drawings constrained to 90 deg. (even though I don't care for the "look" I care even less for the obvious line wt. change when the leaderline changes directions (not to mention the way arrows behave on angled lines...don't get me started!).

Katie--can you comment on these issues.

thanks, mmm

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Katie--If those are all ps printers, then why am I seeing the square pen issue (see your above post). Do you have this backwards?

Also (from responce to Bruce) why would this be an onscreen issue if it stems from the way apple interacts with ps printers? Please, please tell me how this works on a Windows version of vw.

Remember Pythagorus? (a^2+b^2=c^2)

you just need to do the math to find that a 10 mil line reads as 14 mils thk when set at 45 deg. Whoa! from 10 to 14? Unacceptable.

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Mark, I do not have the thicker line issue on screen (and I don't use zoom line thickness...), and plotting to an HP800PS works Ok, and diagonal lines are the appropriate thickness.

Katie, maybe I'm not up to speed on how the OSX drivers work......is there a way to use a non-PS driver on the Mac, so that .pdfs print/plot Ok? .pdf is preferred for small scale sketches, but I won't use it with the diagonal line problem.

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I think without zoom line thkness selected youre still displaying a diag line constructed of squares, just not aware of it (in fact a 45 deg diag line give the illusion of being thinner without zoom thkness pref because lines are drawn one pixel thick like little squares set "upper right corner to lower left corner") Just to see what Im talking about select the zoom line pref and draw a heavy line at 90 and 45 to see how it is drawn with a square pen.


[ 02-18-2004, 07:22 PM: Message edited by: Mark McCay-Moran ]

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  • 1 month later...

If you use the raster printing option, I think the problem goes away.

The diagonal line thickness is a problem in the print driver with OS 10. HP and Apple are aware of the problem, as reports between our print engineer and Apple and HP have been made.

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  • 4 weeks later...


Tried the Raster Printing option to a shared usb printer (epson cx5200) and a shared, networked, rip softwared (xrip), HPDJ455ca and had the same (thicker) diagonals appear in both cases - after switching to the Raster Printing option with the warning of Very Slow.

Related, may not be helpful, Archicad - granted a few years ago and not OSX - had an option to have either square ended lines or rounded in the Mac environment. They figured it out?


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When printing, the pen is specified by the type of printer: PS = Round, Non-PS = Square. I am not quite sure how ArchiCad would have gotten around that, unless they designed their own print drivers.

I'll look into this.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Katie, I was in touch with tech support today and also emailed them a clip about diagonal lines & quickdraw from Apple's support site. I have not yet heard back...

Last week I purchased X-RIP because MacroEnter said their driver would fix this issue. It did not (at least not yet) and now they say it may be an OS issue or a VW's issue. They didn't seem to be too sure.

A search of the boards came up with this thread.

Is there any new info to report?

I have no real idea of whose problem this is to solve, except that it is mine - in other words, can you help me figure how to get all my lines of the same line weight to show & print as expected, that is, the same?

I feel a little like I'm getting the run around. So far everyone seems to be 'blaming' someone else. I'm really not into 'blame' just into solving the problem.

Please advise...


Peter Cipes

Mac OS 10.3.3

VW's 11


HP DesignJet 230

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It's an issue with the printer driver and the interaction with Apple. Both the manufacturer and Apple are at fault, somewhat.

HP waits on Apple for code spec stuff, HP then has to go write the code based on what Apple gives them about the OS. Then Apple updates their code, and HP is again forced to rewrite code. The process goes on and on.

Part of the problem is Apple is still working on things in OS 10, part of the problem is HP hasn't been able to get a good driver for OS 10 to resolve this problem.

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Jaws PDF Creator is a workaround - and at USD/E 75, not too expensive. Of course it is a hassle to create the PDFs, but then again, you only really need this for drawings you issue and having a copy is not a bad idea. (Well, that's how I rationalised it...)

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HP230! Gawd, I thought I had the oldest printer (250C).

Also using xrip. Not wild about macroenter and the way they charge a hundred bucks or so everytime an OS upgrade breaks their driver. But it does give the old dog one more hunt.

Interesting discussion on the diagonal lines. It's been around as long as I can remember, but you'd think there would be a technical solution. The reason I don't use macos pdf generation is because the diagonal lines look awful at any zoom level. With distiller they look awful zoomed out, but correct zoomed in. This suggest that it is at least partly an apple issue.

Like Raymond, I promise not to go on about this more than once per year, but if history will be the guide....

...see you next year.



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