Our office does a lot of retail work and I am looking to revise our system for standard symbols for retail fixtures which are used right across our office. i would appreciate any advice on a system that best suits our needs. In our office we have varying levels of expertise on vectorworks so the system has to be easy to implement no matter your understanding of how VW works. We also do not yet have an office standard for classes so everyone is currently using different systems.
The current symbol system is confusing especially for the less experienced VW users on the staff. It uses different classes inside the same symbol so that you need to have viewport visibilities for 2 (or sometimes 3 classes) set correctly to see the symbol in a viewport. For example a symbol for a table will be placed in a class called "Arch-Furniture-Contract". The table will have 2 rectangles inside it to represent the table - one rectangle with a solid linetype placed on a class called "Fixture - solid" and the other with a dashed linetype called "Fixture - dashed".
The viewport classes are toggled depending on which view of the table is required. E.g:
- On the main floor plan a solid view of the viewport is required so both the "Arch-Furniture-Contract" & "Fixture - solid" classes need to be turned on.
- On the electrical plan a dashed view of the table is required so both the "Arch-Furniture-Contract" & "Fixture - dashed" classes need to be turned on and the 'Fixture-solid" class turned off.
- On the ceiling plan no view of the table is required so the"Arch-Furniture-Contract" class is turned off in that viewport.
This is confusing especially when a symbol gets put on the wrong class. It also means these symbols drag these classes into any drawings they are imported into.
I am looking at 2 alternative options:
For the table symbol example I would have only one rectangle which is set to say the "Arch-Furniture-Contract" class with the rectangle's linetype and solid fill attributes set to "by class". The symbol itself is placed either in the "none" class (which always has visibilities set to "on") or it could be placed in the "Arch-Furniture-Contract" class. You can then override the "Arch-Furniture-Contract" class attributes in the viewport to get the dashed line with no fill. This is relatively simple and once the symbol is set up pretty easy to implement. Though if the symbol is inadvertantly placed into a different class then that class also needs to be turned on for the object to be visible in a viewport. Also it drags the "Arch-Furniture-Contract" class into any drawings it is imported into and as it is using "by class" attributes the symbol will take on the class attributes of the file it is brought into.
For the table symbol I would have only one rectangle which is set in the "None'" class with no attributes set to "by class". Viewport visibilities are adjusted either by graying the class or overriding the opacity of the class the symbol is placed into.
The plus side is that it is really only dependant on one class - the class which the user chooses to place the symbol into. No importing different classes into your drawings and the attibutes are the same no matter the class attribute settings. Downside is that you can't override the linetype to get a dashed line instead the table would need to be grayed out or set to lower opacity for some views such as the electrical plans (perhaps not as clear as the dashed line system).
Any expert advice on these options (or perhaps someone can suggest a better way that I haven't yet thought of?) would be very much appreciated.
Perhaps a wishlist item for vectorworks would be to introduce a "by object class" attribute setting for symbol objects similar to the "by block" setting used in AutoCAD. That would mean symbol subobjects could simply be on the "None" class but take on the attributes of the class the symbol is placed in.