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Workgroup references

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I?m using workgroup referencing on a five story development project.

I?ve set up a master document containing all floor plans from which I reference on to other documents for the creation of fire plans, furniture layouts, etc.

I am finding that if I make amendments to the master document then use the workgroup update option on other documents the master document has moved messing up all my drawings.

Any ideas why this is happening and how can it be fixed in place???

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If "X" is the referenced document and you're working in "A", you'll notice that when you Workgroup Reference the "X"-layers, they appear in your Layers menus as grayed items. From a design layer that *belongs* to "A", do a Create Layer Link to the grayed-menu layer. From a sheet layer, you'd link through a Viewport.

You don't want to do ANY modification, including moving, directly on the greyed-menu layers. At the next update, they WILL change to exactly (and only) what is drawn on that layer back in "X".

Hope that's a little more clear.

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I have the same problem with layer linking. If I want to elevate a building I would like to be able to reference in the plan as a workgroup reference and rotate it to lets say draw the side elevation. The big problem I have is that if I go out of the elevation drawing, go into the plan drawing and make some changes to the plan on my return into the elevation drawing I find the 'workgroup reference' plan has unrotated itself to its original orientation. Is there any simple way one can make the rotated plan stay rotated as a reference in the elevation drawing. I have played around with the layer linking function and pored over the manual but cannot seem to get it to work. If anyone out there has a simple method for keeping the workgroup reference 'plan drawing' rotated and fixed regardless of changes to the 'plan drawing' I would really appreciate to know how this can be done.

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Are you moving the referenced drawing layers, perhaps, to align things? If so, when the original file gets updated, the layers move "back" to match.

The best way to work with referenced layers from another file is to create layer links. The links can then be moved around on whatever sheet/layer, will reflect updates correctly without themselves moving.

My explanation doesn't seem nearly as clear as the picture in my head. Hope it helps.

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Thanks Travis,

Layer links are an area I?ve looked at to solve the problem, but I?m not sure if I link the original drawing layers or the layers on the drawing to which I have introduced the workgroup reference.

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If you are using VW11, I think that viewports will do exactly what you want.

Either that, or set up the view you need and use "Save View" (far right button on the bottom of the drawing window) to save it. When you update the drawing again, just switch to that view. I believe it was called "Save Sheet" in earlier versions.

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I am running VW11 but viewports will not solve the problem as you cannot trace off a viewport. I also think that the sheet layers are mainly for presenting the final drawing in viewport form. What I am trying to do is to workgroup a reference plan in, rotate it through 90degrees and then draw the side elevation off the rotated plan. It all works fine until I make any changes to the original plan. Then when I go back into my elevation file I find the plan has unrotated itself.

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The answer is to NOT rotate the "grayed" layer, the one that in fact resides in the referenced file.

On the layer you're going to draw the elevation, place a layer link. Unlock it, rotate the link, and trace/develop your elevation. Since you haven't directly touched the "gray" layer, when it changes your rotated link will still be just fine.

I just did a quick test run to verify and it works fine.

Good luck,

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Yes, what Travis said!

Also, you might find it useful to experiment wtih Tool>Convert Copy to Lines. You can put your drawing in elevation view, use the "Convert Copy to Lines" command, and have a line drawing that I think is easier to trace than an actual elevation view. You wouldn't have to deal with workgroup referencing at all; just cut and paste the line drawing into the elevation drawing.

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Thanks Kristen & Travis. I will continue my experiments in layer linking to see if I can get it to work.

Small (no major) plea to NNA. Please in any future upgrage can you make it easier to manipulate and move reference files.

+Thanks for 11.5 especially the sketch mode

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Often it's helpful to create the entire plan of the "Core&Shell Plan" (the source drawing) as one symbol for each floor. That way, when you reference the drawing into the "target" drawing you place an instance of the symbol and you can locate it where you will in the drawing (including rotating it if need be). Because the symbol is ref'd in and placed in the target drawing it shouldn't shift around unless you move the symbol origin in the source drawing.


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Travis. Thank you I have just had a moment of epiphany and created my first successful layer link to a workgroup reference and have been able to sort out my problem from my previous posts on this topic.


My request still stands to NNA to improve the referencing functionality or at least to improve the online and paper manual explain how layer linking works.

As a switcher from Autocad & Microstation I think that having a reference system with some of the basic reference fuctionality of ACAD & Microstation would be a major help to spreading VW.

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In my experience layer inking, workgroup referencing and saved sheets confuse more users than just about anything else.

Both the manual and the online documentation on all three topics could do with improving.

Layer linking would be less confusing if users could actually see what layers they have linked to where, but they can't. When they run into problems they end up trying to solve the problem by repeatedly trying to do the layer linking. This results in some information coming in several times over and the resulting rendering is slow and compromised.

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I don't believe symbols reference outside the file they reside in. You can use symbols like you say, but if you make changes to the original symbol, you have to replace it in the target drawing. . .it won't automatically update.

Different methods for different results.

Good Luck,

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I like the suggestion of being able to see a list of layer links, etc. I can invision something similar to the Layer menu or Class Menu that would give you a list of all the layer links in a file. I'm not sure if it makes sense to fully integrate it with the WDR window. We do mulitfamily projects on a regular basis in our office, and would benefit tremendously from having better control of these features.

Regarding symbols for unit plans: we typically use background files (plans, elevations) referenced into sheet files (w/ viewports, annotations, title block etc.) If we make a symbol of a floor plan to be duplicated throughout the background file, wouldn't we have to do a 'forced update' of that symbol (or multiple symbols) in the sheet file every time it changes in the background file?

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I am thinking more along the lines of a separate category for models. That is there would be Design Layers, Sheet Layers and Model View Layers (overall I mean).

Sheet Layers are fine for static views and printing out, but they do not provide the dynamic interactivity of overall model layers.

I like having model views which i can rotate and use for feedback during the design process. They are also good for demonstrating a design to the client. The problem is that there is currently no way to manage them, and with complex models the re-rendering times can become very slow.

To overcome this I would like added to overall model layers the Viewport type functionality of being able to choose which layers and classes are visible in an overall model layer at any given time.

It could be achieved by adding 'Viewport like' functionality to the Model View Tool. It would simplify the process and make generating model views through layer linking more intuitive. More importantly though it would provide a way of managing and refining these views.

This would overcome many of the problems associated with layer linking, not the least of which are not being able to see what you have done, and the inability to change things.

[ 03-07-2005, 12:57 AM: Message edited by: mike m oz ]

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I agree with your thoughts on how to improve the 'model' side of things. I believe that layer linking is also crucial to successfully be able to deal with referencing as well. I hope VW can split layer linking features into these two separate areas to develop and expand controls for both.

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Eric - In my view the current process is klunky and not intuitive.

It is desparately in need of a bit of KISS refinement.

Add in a bit of intelligence to the Model Setup Routine so that it does the maths, and a more easily understood graphical interface, and we might start getting somewhere.


For the benefit of the non english speakers out there the acronym KISS means 'keep it simple stupid'.

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