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class/layer options not working properly


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I am trying to get my mind around this program but there seems to be a major glitch or some option hidden deep in the menus which i have not chosen wisely or something. the problem is, both class and layer options are set to show/snap/modify others...and i can neither modify nor snap to any others minus the actives. and what makes it a real oain is that my active calss is not on my active layer. what's the deal? is this a problem that can be dealt with or is it a bug in the program. this happens intermittently...sometimes it works fine and sometimes it does as i have described above. any help is appreciated...thanks in advance.


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There are a few limitations to snapping across layers.

When snapping to objects on other layers, despite having the options set to show snap modify others, the layers need to be the same scale and the same view.

Classes are not "on" layers. Classes are an organizational criteria in which all objects belong to, likewise with layers.

All objects belong to a class and a layer. You may not always have objects on a specific layer assigned to a specific class (in your mention, the active class), but they do belong to a class.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

If your other layers are in a different scale than the active layer, or the layers are not all in top/plan view, you cannot snap to objects on other layers.

Classes are not "on" particular layers. Each object in the drawing has an associated class. From your phrasing, it sounds like you have a misunderstanding of how classes work.

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Thank you. I did discover that the class/layer options does not work across different views, i was not aware of the scale issue though.

On another note, I may have a misunderstanding of how classes work, at least in conjunction with layers. I have only been using Vectorworks for a few weeks, and i am more akin to AutoCAD and Microstaion. As I understand it, "classes" in VW are synonomous with "layers" in AC. As far as I can tell the office I work in does not properly utilize VW 10's organizational capabilities because, and i quote, "Layers and classes tend to muddle up the design process." I personally do not have a concrete opinion on this issue as I have not seen this organization used properly and cannot find opportunity to try it myself. If classes are not "on" particular layers, why then, when i turn a layer off, objects on a particular class which is still on disappear? That is counter-intuitive to what I have known in the past. Are Layers in VW used solely for the 3D hybrid environment? or can they be used for only 2d drafting? Like I said I have yet to start a project from the beginning and experiment with the organizational system properly so I do not have a full understanding of the class/layer symbiotic relationship...which is what it seems to be. If anyone can clarify some of this for me...it would be very helpful. Thank you.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Classes are not on particular layers, but objects are. You could have several objects which belong to the same class that are on different layers. If that class is set to be visible, then objects in that class that are on a visible layer will be visible, and objects in that class that are on an invisible layer will not be seen.

Hope this helps.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Typically, layers are for physically separate objects, classes are for objects of specific type. In a building model, for example, each floor might be a layer. Classes might separate HVAC, walls, electrical, plumbing, etc. Objects are only visible if *both* their layer and class are visible.

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Originally posted by markoos:

On another note, I may have a misunderstanding of how classes work, at least in conjunction with layers. I have only been using Vectorworks for a few weeks, and i am more akin to AutoCAD and Microstaion. As I understand it, "classes" in VW are synonomous with "layers" in AC.

Think layers as different drawings - either spatially or thematically separated.

Technically each layer is a list of objects (meaning among other things that if you delete a layer, everything on it will be deleted.) Classes on the other hand are properties of objects. Using them both in a considered manner clarifies the design process.

Layers can certainly be used for 2D drafting. You might have each floor as a separate layer and also each discipline for each floor. (In a large project you would have each floor as a separate file.)

Disciplines could also reside in separate files and be brought in for referencing purposes via Workgroup References. This allows several people to work on the same job and makes it easy to update consultants' input.

Anyway, you may be in a position to help the office to make a quantum leap in productivity. Your experience with AutoCAD and MicroStation could be put to good use, if you avoid pure imitation of the processes of those programs and instead introduce good working habits based on the capabilities of VW.

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Petri has a good point. You could think of each layer in VW as being like a separate file in Microstation. Then you could think of each class as being like a level in Microstation.

When you set up drawings each sheet layer is like a separate file in Microstation, and instead of reference files, you use viewports to make drawings. The viewports can be thought of as cliped reference files....

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I'm new to VW myself and am having problems with classes too.

Most components of my drawing are 3d symbols with a default class (TRUSS). Object info shows the correct class, but when making all other classes invisible, pretty much everything disappears.

The objects are made of grouped pieces, and the only thing visible in the entire class is one piece of one object - what's going on?

Cheers, Ben.

PS. Markoos, spend $100 on the "Visual Manual" that's available - it's worth every cent!

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You might just delete class '0' in each library file - then everything in that class will be reclassified as 'None'. There is little harm done if components of a symbol are in None class, unless you specifically want to control their visibility.

[ 09-06-2004, 12:34 AM: Message edited by: Petri ]

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