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Center all symbols to Origin

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Good afternoon everyone, 


I wanted to inquire about two things today - 

1. Is it possible to center all objects in a symbol to a center? I.E. Group all objects in the symbol and center them based on origin?

2. Is it possible to mass convert all nested symbols inside of symbols into groups?

3. Is there an easier way to replace or merge the same symbols inside a vectorworks folder? 


This is a major hurdle when created libraries from existing dwg files - 

1 - Vectorworks makes a copy of all the nested symbols from separate files after import and then renumbers them from 1 to however many copies there are. Getting rid of them and cleaning up the file becomes a very grueling task. Was hoping someone has had similar issues? Is there an easier way to replace these copies other than right clicking -> replace with? Selecting a bunch and just saying merge would be a wonderful addition to vw, unless something like that exists?


A possible workaround this matter would be to convert all nested symbols into groups upon import and then delete all the nested symbols inside of the file. But then there is the task of eliminating or merging similar hatches, line types, records, etc...


2. When importing dwg files directly into symbols - not all files have a 0,0 origin from the dwg file. Is it possible for vectorworks to assign it to all the symbols after they were imported? or perhaps during?

3. Is there a way to convert mass individual groups to independent symbols? In other words - select three groups - create three independent symbols based on their internal origin?


I'm attaching a file that shows some of the problems I'm having....


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Samuel - I looked at your file and will take a stab at some of your comments and questions.


If I'm interpreting correctly, you receive dwg drawings containing nested symbols. These symbols arrive with a couple problems for you - 1. inconvenient Insertion Points, and 2.  separate files arrive over time for import and some of the symbols are repeated causing myriad dialog decisions to complete the import.  Some of your sample symbols are "blue" which means they insert as groups.  But these groups can have symbols inside, so follow the steps anyway until confident of process


If the sample vwx is typical, I have some ideas to change the workflow. You probably know most of these processes, but I discuss with some detail in case others need:


A workflow to make and use objects that mimic the symbols but are more manageable:

1. Convert each symbol & its nested symbols to Group

•Import each dwg to a new, blank vwx drawing.

•Duplicate the layer. (This saves the original symbols. Work with the duplicates)

•On the dupe layer, select and note the name of any symbol instance that looks like a page from a manual.

•Convert to Group with the option to group the nested symbols. Enter/edit the group and convert any symbols inside. Exit.

•Select the group, if it's not selected. Make sure it contains everything needed. eg move it aside, then undo to move it back.

•Name the group in that text field at very bottom of the OIP. Key in the symbol name (you can also retrieve this from the symbol on the unaltered layer). •You might want a suffix or something to differentiate this group from the original symbol.

•Repeat until all the imported "page" symbols have a copy that is a named group.

• This would be good Marionette project if there are many pages.


2. Create a new Library File

•Transfer/copy/paste all the new named groups (but not the symbols) to a new or existing Library File. eg Select All in the new layer, Paste into the Library file.

•Library file maybe not needed, but using and naming layers with dates could help track when pages and versions arrived or were used.


3. Create vwx Project File(s):

•Copy/Paste the new named groups as needed from Library file.

•Place/arrange the groups as a big grid on Design Layers - one for each product type?

•Create Sheet Layer Viewports from the DLs.


In the dwg original symbols, if the big text box near bottom of the Title Block has a few basic versions, they could be made as separate groups on the Design Layer and then pasted onto or into the VPs on sheet layers, then fill the text boxes as annotations.



If you absolutely want to rebuild the symbols, I think you are in for a wild ride .  .  .


Regarding grouping, centering:

Many of the existing symbols and the nested sub symbols have varied Insertion Points. Problem is that if you edit a symbol to relocate its Insertion Point, then ALL the instances of that symbol already placed on the drawing will move to new locations.  If a sub symbol in a nest is moved, it will move out of location relative to the other elements in the symbol.

The insertion point for any symbol can be adjusted via:

•Enter the symbol edit mode -  Right Click symbol icon in the Resource Manager, or Dbl Click a symbol instance on the drawing.

•In Top/Plan view, move/rearrange the geometry around the drawing origin (that faint blue circle with a cross at 0,0).

•Use the Modify>Align/Distribute command to center a selection of groups/objects.


Better way is to just make a new symbol (name_v2):

•Make a duplicate instance on a design layer.

•Modify>Convert to Group - enable the option to Convert nested symbols. Leave the new group selected.

•Modify>Create Symbol - In the dialog, Name_v2. enable option for next click insertion point & click where ever makes most sense for you. Accept.

•Now you have the option place new instances. One way is to snap to same locations on a new layer. Another way is to right click the orig in the Resource Manager, choose Delete with option to Replace with v2.  But because the insertion points don't match, the replacements will be in other locations.


Marionette could do some of this.


Also, there is a dwg import option for Group Clipped Blocks which converts Design Layer VPs to group during import.  But might not convert these symbols and/or you might lose the names. Give it a try.


OK maybe others have better ideas.






Edited by Benson Shaw
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