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mvandercruyssen

Is there something like dynamic blocks in Vectorworks

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Hey there community,

 

I'm pretty new with vectorworks, i worked with AutoCAD for 12 years and thought the general way of working would be the same.

I think i was wrong, i got to make a lot of electrical designs on 2d plans and would like to automatise as much as possible.

 

In the picture you can see what i'm looking for. 

Now every symbol and text field are loose, i would like to create a symbol with matching text.

This way the alignment will always be correct and i can mak a library that holds all different types instead of retyping the text every time.

 

Please help this newby out !!!

 

Kind regards, Michiel

Screenshot 2019-05-06 at 13.49.15.png

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I'm not sure from your screenshot, exactly what you want to do.

 

Do you want to make the text part of the symbol, so that each time you use the symbol, the text is beside it?

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@line-weight yes first of all i would like to be able to link the text to the symbol.

but if it’s possible i would like to have a symbol with a drop down with different text options. 

This way i can use the same symbol with different specifications without having to change each individual symbol

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You could use different Classes for each block of Text. We do this with items we want to show up at different scales so the text is like something Goldielocks would approve of.

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No problem. You create a Record format with a popup field containing the desired text values. Now you create a symbol definition with a piece of text that will show up with each instance (each insertion) of the symbol definition. Next you use the "link text to Record" command to get instance-specific text.

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To expand slightly on Robert's comment, what you want to do is:

 

Create a custom Record to store the data.

Create an instance of the Symbol

Create a block of text in the correct orientation to the symbol instance

Select the Symbol and the Text

Choose Link Text To Record from the Modify Menu

Select the Record.Field that should be linked to the text block.

 

The above will update the symbol definition so that all instances of the symbol have the record attached and a linked text block. The text can be changed from the Data pane of the Object Info Palette.

 

You can also do the above from the Resource Browser, but I find it much easier to do in the drawing.

 

If the Record.Field is formatted as TEXT, you can type any text you want into the field. If you want to limit the choices to a preset number of options, format the field as a Popup and put each option on a separate line in the dialog box.

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Thanks Robert and Pat, 

 

sounds pretty difficult, but i will give it a go tomorrow 😉 i know where to find you guys if in need!

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Well, as a fairly long-time VW user I've never tried this before but after following the instructions above I've got it to work.

 

Some typically non-intuitive VW stuff (which I imagine to be even more confusing for a newbie than for me):

 

- The 'link text to record' command actually does more than that, right? It links the text to the record, and additionally puts the text inside the symbol.

- I can't link a text object to a record just by itself? It has to be part of a symbol.

- if I have an already existing symbol that already includes a text object, I can go in to edit the symbol, and in this case I can select just the text object and link it to a record.

- If I go in to edit a symbol that already contains a text object that is already linked to record A, I can also link it to record B. But if I exit the symbol edit mode, select it, and look in the OIP, it still only seems to offer me record A. Now I'm a bit confused what's going on.

- If I go back in and 'detach' record A, leaving only record B, then when I exit the symbol edit, it seems still only to offer me record A in the OIP.

- By the way, when in symbol edit mode, and I 'detach' a record, i get a warning message saying 'are you sure you want to permanently delete the selected records'. But does it actually mean it's going to delete the record, or just its association with that text object? (In the event, it appears to do neither)

- If I wanted to do something like change the text orientation or size, per instance, then I think I'd have to do something like what @Jim Smith suggests above, using classes (which would be my first instinct for something like this anyway). Is that right?

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The way I described it it puts the text inside the symbol. If you already have text inside the symbol there are other ways that you can link an existing text block to the record from the OIP.

 

Skipping the parts about multiple record formats for now.

 

When you detach the record, you lose all of the data attached to that symbol. You do not delete the Record Format, only that specific instance of the data.

 

Yes, if you want different orientations/fonts/colors/etc. you will have to do something fancier. Classes is the easiest option. But if you really want to have multiple options you should probably look into creating (either by yourself or hiring someone to do it) a custom Plugin Object that can more easily handle multiple options. Or take a close look at using the Data Tag tool to create a tag that is linked to the data of the object but is a separate object that can be manipulated to where you want it to be.

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Back to using multiple record formats.

 

What you are seeing may be due to the way you have the Data Pane of the OIP laid out.   The way I have mine layer out, I get the two different formats showing at the top, with the field(s) for whichever is selected are showing at the bottom. If you pull the section for the fields all the way to the top (or close to the top) you may only be able to see the formats.

 

The Formats show for all of the Records that are attached to the object.

 

The screen shot is from VW2019.

 

image.thumb.png.8dd4c384f7a4f80b4674b0a074483cfe.png

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47 minutes ago, Pat Stanford said:

 

When you detach the record, you lose all of the data attached to that symbol. You do not delete the Record Format, only that specific instance of the data.

 

 

Ok. A badly worded warning message in that case, then.

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44 minutes ago, Pat Stanford said:

Back to using multiple record formats.

 

What you are seeing may be due to the way you have the Data Pane of the OIP laid out.   The way I have mine layer out, I get the two different formats showing at the top, with the field(s) for whichever is selected are showing at the bottom. If you pull the section for the fields all the way to the top (or close to the top) you may only be able to see the formats.

 

The Formats show for all of the Records that are attached to the object.

 

The screen shot is from VW2019.

 

image.thumb.png.8dd4c384f7a4f80b4674b0a074483cfe.png

 

I can get the OIP to show both formats, like your screenshots, if I 'add' them using the OIP whilst having the symbol instance selected (rather than trying to do it within the symbol edit mode).

 

But only one of them seems to apply its dropdown options to the text within the symbol - the other one doesn't, even if I select it in the OIP.

 

In other words... in the file I've attached below, "test record format B" is attached to the middle and right hand instances of the symbol but seems to have no effect.

vwrecf.vwx

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The link is not to just the symbol, but is rather to a specific block of text.

 

When you attach record format B, it is not attached to a block of text using Link Text to Record, it is only attached to the symbol instance. Look in the Resource Manager. Only Test Record A is attached to the symbol definition.

 

1.  You can have as many Record Formats attached to a Symbol Definition (or Symbol Instance) as you want.

2.  You can have an many text blocks in a Symbol Definition linked to Record.Fields. Each text block can be linked to a different Record or Field.

3.  Multiple text blocks can be linked to the same Record.Field.

4.  Multiple Record.Field CANNOT be linked to the same text block.

 

Just deleting an attached record and adding another does not recreate the Link Record to Field. That must be done manually using the menu command or from the Resource Manager.

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33 minutes ago, Pat Stanford said:

The link is not to just the symbol, but is rather to a specific block of text.

 

When you attach record format B, it is not attached to a block of text using Link Text to Record, it is only attached to the symbol instance. Look in the Resource Manager. Only Test Record A is attached to the symbol definition.

 

1.  You can have as many Record Formats attached to a Symbol Definition (or Symbol Instance) as you want.

2.  You can have an many text blocks in a Symbol Definition linked to Record.Fields. Each text block can be linked to a different Record or Field.

3.  Multiple text blocks can be linked to the same Record.Field.

4.  Multiple Record.Field CANNOT be linked to the same text block.

 

Just deleting an attached record and adding another does not recreate the Link Record to Field. That must be done manually using the menu command or from the Resource Manager.

Ok - thanks for the explanation.

 

I see now, I can create a symbol with two text blocks, each linked to a different record, and I need to do that by editing the symbol itself, and using the 'link text to record' command on each text block.

 

I think I still don't understand what the "attach record" button in the OIP does, but I will do a bit more reading on this tomorrow.

 

 

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Attach Record links the Record Format to the Symbol instance (or whatever selected object you have). You can then use the Data pane of the OIP to fill in the data in the fields. This data can then be pulled into a worksheet to report whatever you want to report.

 

So for an example, I do Pipe and Instrument Diagrams.  I have a couple of generic pump symbols. These have a Record attached called Tag Data. This text is Linked Text to Record so that the pump numbers show on the drawing. 

 

But as I proceed, and work farther into the design I want to start and add manufacturer information on the pumps (and valves, and instruments). so I have a second Record called MFG Info. This is not required to show on the drawing, but I want to be able to print a schedule. So in that record I record the manufacturer, the model number, the motor power, etc. I can then pull all of that information into a worksheet (and actually edit it from the worksheet).

 

Does that help with the conceptual of why you would want to just attach a record?

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13 hours ago, Pat Stanford said:

Attach Record links the Record Format to the Symbol instance (or whatever selected object you have). You can then use the Data pane of the OIP to fill in the data in the fields. This data can then be pulled into a worksheet to report whatever you want to report.

 

So for an example, I do Pipe and Instrument Diagrams.  I have a couple of generic pump symbols. These have a Record attached called Tag Data. This text is Linked Text to Record so that the pump numbers show on the drawing. 

 

But as I proceed, and work farther into the design I want to start and add manufacturer information on the pumps (and valves, and instruments). so I have a second Record called MFG Info. This is not required to show on the drawing, but I want to be able to print a schedule. So in that record I record the manufacturer, the model number, the motor power, etc. I can then pull all of that information into a worksheet (and actually edit it from the worksheet).

 

Does that help with the conceptual of why you would want to just attach a record?

 

Thank you - yes it does.

 

I see now that attaching a 'record format' to a symbol is in fact a different thing to linking a record (field?) to a text object.

 

I feel this might be another thing where VW does not help users in the names it uses for things.

 

Time for me to see if I can start taking more advantage of record (format?)s though.

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@mvandercruyssen I will concur that it seems a little daunting at first but with the great support here in the forum from @Pat Stanford and @Robert Anderson, no relation, (in my humble opinion) you are headed in the right direction. I've never worked on wiring diagrams but have had 30 years of experience and 10 of those are with Autocad and VW each. I provide consulting services and training support. If you need further assistance please direct message me.

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Records, especially when used with Worksheet Databases for reporting (and editing) are an extremely powerful part of VW.

 

But you really need to know what you want to store and what you want to get back to make them useful. You can spend a lot of time filling in details (fields) that you don't actually need but that might be "nice" to have. Alternatively, if you set up a record and populate a lot of fields and then realize you forgot something you basically have to go back and touch every item again. Definitely worth some thinking time about how/what you are trying to do before you jump in with both feet.

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I think a simple way to achieve what you want is to use the the Data Tag Tool in Vectorworks 2019.     In the attached image I modified one of the data tags,  The PL in the box is fixed and when you click on it you can add whatever text you want to appear on left.

Capture1.JPG

Capture2.JPG

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I'm fiddling some more with Record Formats.

 

Am I right in understanding that while I can attach a record format to almost any type of object ... it's only when a record format is attached to a symbol that I can take advantage of the 'linked text' function?

 

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Yes, only Symbols offer Linked Text To Record functionality.

 

Any object can have any number of records attached that can be accessed through the Data pane of the OIP and/or a Worksheet.

 

PIOs have a custom Parameter Record that holds all of the data shown on the Shape pane of the OIP (and often additional internal information). This parameter records can not be attached to other types of objects.

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