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Find Replace Text issue with Callout Notes

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Can someone advise if this is a bug or not.

Have numerous callout notes in a job.

Used the "find replace text" tool to alter a piece of text.

Get pop up that 5 instances have been found and changed.

Go to the notes and at a glimpse all appears well.

Only just found if I double click on these callout notes that the text reverts back to the original.

Pretty massive issue when documenting a build.


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Hi Pat, no I have them unlinked as was having so much trouble with the database/keynotes.

I can go and manually edit each bit of text and it stays, but the find a replace text tool for some reason switches back.

Very worried how many notes in the projects have been affected by this.

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I just ran a pretty simple test here and I am not seeing this issue.


I places a few items with Call out in the text. I then did a Find/Replace to Callout.  It did report is was doing double or more the number of replacements as there were callout objects in the drawing, but they all changed and stayed changed when I opened the edit dialog box.


It worked the same both or callouts placed manually and using the database.


I don't know what is going on in your file.



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  • 1 year later...

I'm having the same problem among many others with this program. I have multiple pages that have the drawing label on each page that needs to be changed to something else. I've done it twice now and it reverts. This means I've wasted about 12 hours. I've saved the file each time. I've even made the change and printed immediately and it reverts just before it prints. So if I read this exchange about this issue then essentially there is no fix. Sort of like the move the Object palette to get Vectorworks to work and not hang up. How is that a fix? That and it's temporary.

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  • 1 year later...

I don’t use the find and replace tool. Instead I use a housekeeping worksheet to globally edit any or all callouts in a file incl those in annotations. The worksheet has “callout” as the criteria and lists all callout record info incl what the note is, it’s description, text margin, bubble type etc. The record info is editable in the worksheet so you can summarise the text and edit all the callouts with the same text in one hit. 

When unsummarised You can right click on the row header and select individual callouts in your file. Vw will locate in your file.

Works great.

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Hey @Taproot.

I hadnt thought of using worksheets themselves as a library. Not a bad idea. Is that what you do?


Yes I just keep our standard notes in a notes database. I do use worksheets but not for storing notes, but as a tool for global editing of notes to keep them consistent within a file.


I really like using keynotes and have only recently started using them in conjunction with worksheets to coordinate standardised notes across whole sets of drawings.


I used to have a system where I would place keynotes into different work section legends, eg all keynotes relating to framing were placed into a ‘Framing’ keynote legend, and all the different work section Keynote legends were placed on a dedicated ‘notes’ sheet.


Its a fairly common and straight forward way of putting a set of drawings together however there are two things I wasn’t happy with:

1) To read a set of drawings there is lots of tedious flicking back and forth between the actual drawings and the notes sheet. 

2) Subcontractors weren’t always sent the notes sheet so wouldn’t know what the keynotes were. Not ideal when they are pricing work...


So to try and improve things I have been trialling a different set up where have a keynote legend on every sheet which covers all the keynotes just for that sheet and use a worksheet to keep them the notes consistent. Builders love the easy referencing and clean, clear drawings and so far it’s working pretty well.


Doing it like this does require a good understanding of how both worksheets and keynotes work. There are some pitfalls for novices.

If you’re interested I can give you more detail on how I do it.


Also I think there have been some improvements with the notes manager in v2020 (I’m still onv2019) so maybe you or others could provide some tips or ideas on how the way I do it could be improved as I’m sure it can.



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@Boh We have a similar setup - using keynotes per sheet rather than globally.  I was pleasantly surprised to try out the worksheet idea listing callouts.  It is pretty handy to have the entire list in one location for proofing.  I sorted the list by Keynote Legend, so that I was able to keep all of the notes organized in groups.


I use the Notes Manager for General Note blocks, but typically just create keynotes on the fly to describe general callouts.  In my quest to try and develop more consistent standards, I've been thinking about migrating my callouts to the Notes Manager as well.  But, I have so many custom situations that need to be identified that I suspect that would be more trouble than it's worth.  For a larger office - it would make more sense.


I've had some challenges with the Notes Manager 2020 - namely that my notes database has decoupled from most of my past files.  Tip - don't rename your database...  Or if you do, you'll have to go through the "reconcile notes" process listed elsewhere on this board. 


For now, I think I'll let this one be and see what v.2021 has in store for us.

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Yes notes database can get filled up with lots of random notes. My technique is to just have "Typical" notes set up in a project notes database. So these are notes that are used as keynotes right through a whole document of plans, elevations, section & details. E.g. for cladding I might have a keynote such:


So that same note will be used as a keynote on multiple sheets and will be in each sheet's keynote legend. As required the note is edited globally via a worksheet so that all keynote instances stay the same.


I really like how that information is right there on the sheet for the builder however because as it's a keynote it can be repeated multiple times without cluttering up the drawing. For the notes I really want the builder to see, (i.e. the stuff the drawing / detail is actually for) I still write as a normal callouts (in bold!).


One thing to look out for is when you copy a keynote from one sheet to another it won't automatically change to the default keynote legend on the new sheet. In the The keynote worksheet it is a good idea to have a column of what layer the keynotes are on so you can cross check that the keynote is actually on the same layer as it's keynote Legend.


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  • 5 months later...

Hi @Boh and @Taproot


We are looking at setting up a system that sounds very similar to what you describe above but struggling to get it working the way we need. Currently we have a set of product codes that we link to their common description in excel. We then link the pdf output from excel to setup our 'contents list of products' onto a title sheet at the start of the product. We then have a data tag that we use to drop the product codes onto the relevant pages. This is not logical and means referring to the front page every time for the description.


Things that we need to resolve to get this transferred:

- How to setup the global worksheet that you mention above. At the moment I can see the call out numbers but not the text description in the worksheet. Given that the same notes are used across many sheets does the global worksheet contain only one instance of each note?

- We have a set of product codes linked to their common definition that we store in our existing excel table. We only want those with a product code to be on the 'contents page' for the project and not any of the general notes. How would these be filtered by the worksheet criteria to only pick certain ones? The screenshot attached explains this better I think


Also thinking ahead to rolling this out to the rest of the team:

- Where does the notes database get located to be accessed by everyone working in the project? And does anything change when using it on project sharing?

- Is there a way to batch move notes between sections or do you need to be methodical from the start?


I have attached a couple of screenshots showing the outputs we are trying to achieve and would greatly appreciate any advice on how to get this working




1556138732_Exampleannotationsonasheet.thumb.png.84a5d203c08a5b1765505d7ce6f33613.png.    178653413_Examplecontentslistofproducts.thumb.png.1ee7c88a46e521c91e2939f0226a9e7c.png

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Hi @LauraCB


I see what you want to do and there a multiple variations of doing it using the various tools available. (keynotes, symbols, data tags and worksheets). My "system" is still under development and now that I've just upgraded to v2021 from v2019 there are some new tools and options I have yet to explore. That said I can offer the following comments and you can take what you want from it. 😊


The screenshot is really clear so I can respond to that. 

I think the numbered "Key" could be a Keynote Legend picking up callouts on the same sheet as the legend. Formatting for callouts is a little restrictive unfortunately. It has to be all text and in the same font style. The most you can do with formatting with keynotes is have a first line as a header (which could be the keynote "description") then further lines with more detail. e.g. For your note 3 you could have:




These notes could be standard notes stored in a notes database and accessible to everyone.


9 hours ago, LauraCB said:

- How to setup the global worksheet that you mention above. At the moment I can see the call out numbers but not the text description in the worksheet. Given that the same notes are used across many sheets does the global worksheet contain only one instance of each note?

The formula for getting the keynote description in a worksheet is:


For global editing of keynote callouts you could play with the attached worksheet. The worksheet responds to the criteria you set. The one attached has criteria like this:


This will list all instances of keynotes in a drawing but you can add more choices.


9 hours ago, LauraCB said:

Where does the notes database get located to be accessed by everyone working in the project? And does anything change when using it on project sharing?

I don't think Project Sharing should be an issue with a notes database. The notes database just has to be in a location on a shared server that everyone knows. Ideally you would set up a workgroup to have multiple users accessing the same resources. The workgroup is a bunch of folders that have the same folder structure as your user library but lives on a common server. This is a bit of a big topic so I don't want to delve too deeply. There are several other good posts on this forum detailing the ins and outs of setting up a workgroup. Typically the notes databases would be in a folder called "Notes" within the workgroup Library folder structure.


9 hours ago, LauraCB said:

Is there a way to batch move notes between sections or do you need to be methodical from the start?

Not in v2019 but I've just upgraded to v2021 and I hope the new Notes Manager will make a difference here.


For this:


I would do exactly that but the red line I would put in the same class as the boundary with both the line in the legend and the boundary lines in the drawing having all attributes set by class. That way if you want to change the colour, linetype, lineweight etc of the boundary lines then you can just edit the boundary class and both lines in the drawing and in the legend will update to match. Setting by-class attributes also means you can overide the attributes in viewports so you could have the boundary red in one viewport and blue in another. 


For your client supply and contractor supply notes yes you can use a symbol. Or a general notes object might be an option too? General notes objects look like keynote legends but don't' link to callouts. They do access the notes databases however. 



For the External Surfacing, you can't place a keynote legend inside a symbol. Otherwise though symbols work well. However if you want this legend to be sheet specific (only list items actually on that sheet) then symbols are not ideal. You might want to explore using data tags and worksheets for this? The data tags are placed in the annotation layer and pick up the different finishes which are then listed in a worksheet legend. So each sheet would have it's own worksheet definition (not just an instance of a worksheet definition). I have found images in worksheets to be tricky though... 


Well I hope some of that is useful. Please ask if you have any questions. There are some very helpful experts on this forum.




Keynote Editor Worksheet.vwx

Edited by Boh
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Hi @Boh


Thank you for your detailed reply! This really helps. I have got the worksheet now showing all the description to edit from one place. This is going to be so useful for curating the notes throughout the project files


I have just run a test for the general notes as well, given that legends can't be in symbols as you pointed out. Callouts can be put into a symbol so the contractors notes I have can be made of individual callouts and then grouped into a symbol if the same collection of notes are repeated throughout the pack of drawings.


I will get this running through a project before testing with project sharing but we already have a server based workgroups so if it is a case of moving the notes database into this then that should be simple.


For keys with hatches or lines I tend to set them by class and 'by attributes' and drop them directly on the sheet. I would only place them into annotations if there are class overrides applied to the viewport that affect the object being described by the key.


Thanks again for your help

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12 hours ago, LauraCB said:

Callouts can be put into a symbol so the contractors notes I have can be made of individual callouts and then grouped into a symbol if the same collection of notes are repeated throughout the pack of drawings.

I think callouts in symbols can also be slightly tricky if they are being placed on design layers or viewports of different scales so do some tests to make sure you are happy how the callout symbols work across different types of drawings.


What I have done for general type notes is group them together into symbols made of a general notes object. I place notes for different trades/plans into their own general notes object and save them as symbols in a library file. The symbols can be inserted into a drawing and the individual notes can deleted, added to or edited to suit the project.


If you want the same set of notes repeated on different sheets then the notes can be kept as a symbol which will update across all sheets if it is edited. If only a one off instance is required it can be converted from a symbol into a plug-in (general notes object) and notes can still be added to etc with links to the notes data base.


On a slight tangent, a big thing now with vectorworks is Data Tags and a workflow where objects in a drawing model carry data on them in the form of records, and data tags and worksheets are used to present the information on drawings. This is heading towards a BIM workflow where the objects themselves carry the information rather than a more old school callout method where the objects don't carry information and notes (callouts) are required to explain what they are and do.


I think it is a great development however I'm still learning how to integrate this efficiently into my own workflow. I've got it working well with things like plumbing schedules and door schedules but struggling somewhat with things like finishes. 


Anyway, before you commit your office to a way of doing things I suggest you consider how you can possibly utilize a BIM workflow as it is the way things are heading.


I'm keenly interested in what @Taproot makes of this!





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@Boh  I think you've taken notes and callouts to a more advanced level than we employ. 

With just two of us presently in the office, we haven't invested in a rigorous callout system just yet.


I think your note / symbol technique is a clever way to carry duplicate information across multiple sheets.

We currently use simple worksheets to achieve the same end - as all copies of the worksheet will update simultaneously.


In the big picture, my sense is that VW is going through some growing pains in terms of how it handles data.

There are records and worksheets and notes and data tags...


Personally, I'm cautious about investing too much time entering data into VW - as I've found that managing that information over time tends to be challenging.

I think earlier in this thread I referenced fixing our Notes Database.  A simple name change to the title of the database took days to fix.


With cloud and web information being the clear future for digital information, we've been moving more of our drawing related product data out of VW and online.


Currently, all of our scheduling (with the exception of Doors and Windows) is now in Airtable. Schedule markers are not live-linked (manually numbered), but the data is so much easier to work with that for us, it's worth it.  Airtable's user interface, database controls, and live linking are considerably superior to VW - so much so, that we are presently working out how to relocate our specifications database there as well.


I don't know what the perfect solution is - but so far, this is working for us.


Here's a little excerpt from our lighting library.  As we research and include new products into each project, the range of options grows.  Given that it's a database (rather than a spreadsheet), it's incredibly convenient to adjust display, sorting, field visibility, etc. 





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@Boh - yes good point about the BIM workflow. We are running a couple of test projects in the office with BIM at the moment so our annotation approach will need to adapt as we implement it across more projects moving forwards. I have run a test file with both callouts and data tags to see which outputs are more useful for us. At the moment I think callouts seem quicker for outputs at earlier stages but data tags for producing schedules once individual items/elements need linked to the specification.


The real test will be how simple it is to implement the new method across the office once we have tested some more!

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Thanks @Taproot for the response. You're right about using cloud based tools more. We should also be looking at a more cloud based way of scheduling. Airtable looks really interesting and I'll be looking at that in more detail.


This segways into another related topic - implementing office standards across an office. Taproot, as you've hinted at, with a team of 2 it is possibly somewhat easier than in a larger office. We have a team of 6 atm and getting even that many people to change their workflow is not easy. So @LauraCB if you are looking at implementing an office standard for drawing set up then you will need buy-in from the rest of the office and especially the Boss!


We have some repeat clients and it has been easier setting up standards for their projects as there is more intense collaboration between staff and one project is the to-be-improved-upon template for the next. Now we are starting to rollout some of the things we learnt from those projects onto other general projects.


Good luck and be sure to share any gold gems you discover!









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