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Matt Hall

Best Practice for a Master Library?

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Looking for a best practice for maintaining standard classes, symbols, line, hatches and such.

 

What I have so far gets me there but its still messy

  • I have had one document to place all of my standard parts, such as Classes, symbols, Hatches.
  • I have a practice of putting everything I may use a second time in one document so I know where to get it.  
  • It started off as a dumping ground
  • I started to sort with classes, layers and symbol folders so I can find what I need, and they are ready to use
  • It's now a respectable amount of elements
  • As it has grown I have had to split off the document into 4 or 5 documents to try to manage the size
  • Separating items has problems because things like plumbing and millwork want to work together in a drawings
  • I end up having a document that has plumbing, millwork and appliances 
  • My class naming also evolves as the type of info I need to control changes, also the new class sorting has made some naming practices obsolete.

 

I'm at a point where I would like to be able to control classes, lines hatches all in one place,  Change it in one document and have it update in the others

I believe I understand linking and using project sharing, but I have not found a method that pulls it all together for me.

Wondering what others have come up with to manage their libraries.

 

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I like the process of an empty (no major resources) Template file. This will have all your layers, classes, sheets and title blocks in it. This keeps the startup file small and clean. Then use Workgroup Libraries to define your symbols, graphics and the like. I have numerous files in my WG folder that allow me to quickly find what I want. See attached Image.Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 8.11.46 AM.png

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Thanks,

 

I agree about starting with a clean document with only a few items.

Some projects need to be complex but generally they start off simple, and having everything in there is cumbersome. Sometimes they never reach the complex document set up.

 

Wondering if the documents in the workgroup library are linked together in some way so the classes and symbols that appear in more than one file stay in sync?

I will check out the workgroup library, haven't used that yet.

 

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No! the symbol instance in each drawing is different. this is done on purpose. if you are trying to update one symbol instance and have it modify all symbols in all files, I do not know if that can be done. And out of curiosity I am wondering why? Just really curious on your workflow need. I'm always up to learning new workflows and requirements.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Matt Hall said:

Wondering if the documents in the workgroup library are linked together in some way so the classes and symbols that appear in more than one file stay in sync?

You can reference in a symbol or selection of symbols from anywhere. For instance, Right-click on a workgroup symbol and select Reference. The symbol will then be linked to the workgroup instance of the object and will show up in your resource manager in italics. If you edit it, then the changes will be pushed to the referenced document and by extension pushed to all other drawings that reference that resource.

 

That's the theory anyway!

 

Hope that helps

 

 

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9 minutes ago, bgoff said:

And out of curiosity I am wondering why? Just really curious on your workflow need. I'm always up to learning new workflows and requirements.

I maintain a library of symbols which I reference in to my current project file. Sometimes I will want to improve or update a symbol. If it is referenced into my file, then when the update is made, the source file is updated as well.

 

If you don't want to update the source file, then its easy enough to break the reference for a particular instance of a symbol so that it can be altered without affecting every other instance in other documents.

 

I'm not very good at constantly exporting resources back to the master files once changes are made, and by and large, this workflow has served me well in the past.....

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12 minutes ago, bgoff said:

No! the symbol instance in each drawing is different. this is done on purpose. if you are trying to update one symbol instance and have it modify all symbols in all files, I do not know if that can be done. And out of curiosity I am wondering why? Just really curious on your workflow need. I'm always up to learning new workflows and requirements.

 

 

Sure here's my reasoning for wanting to link items.

 

I have to many library items to all be in one document.  It just feels to big maybe it doesn't mater.

So I have a kitchen sink symbol, and a kitchen sink cabinet, and maybe a typical kitchen layout with misc kitchen items including appliances.  It's great to be able to go in and grab the sink, maybe I want to grab the entire kitchen layout at a place holder.  All of these items want to be in the same document.  I also have toilet room items (commercial and residential)  they also want to be with the kitchen sink (its all plumbing related).  So I have grouped library items in a way that any overlapping building blocks are all in the same document.

 

Maybe I add under counter lighting to cabinets, is this light fixture part of the Plumbing/Millwork document or part of the Electrical / Lighting document. should I now add all electrical items to the millwork document instead of keeping with the mechanical items I might use in a ceiling plan?

 

another example is a large wall section detail with symbols of studs and brick. Might want to include a door or window head detail.  This document would want to include all typical wall details so I only need to maintain one brick or stud symbol.  I also need to have my typical wall types that use the brick and stud symbols.  Might be nice to have a typical wall section A in one document and typical wall section B in another and have the concrete block update to both wall section document

 

What I have works but it can become a tangled web if I think about it too much.

 

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33 minutes ago, markdd said:

You can reference in a symbol or selection of symbols from anywhere. For instance, Right-click on a workgroup symbol and select Reference. The symbol will then be linked to the workgroup instance of the object and will show up in your resource manager in italics. If you edit it, then the changes will be pushed to the referenced document and by extension pushed to all other drawings that reference that resource.

 

That's the theory anyway!

 

Hope that helps

 

 

Thanks,  Sounds like using the workgroups and reference would do what I am looking for.  I'll work with it for a while

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2 hours ago, markdd said:

You can reference in a symbol or selection of symbols from anywhere. For instance, Right-click on a workgroup symbol and select Reference. The symbol will then be linked to the workgroup instance of the object and will show up in your resource manager in italics. If you edit it, then the changes will be pushed to the referenced document and by extension pushed to all other drawings that reference that resource.

 

That's the theory anyway!

 

Hope that helps

 

 

Any Insight on where to get direction on setting up workgroup?

I have found some threads and looked in the Help but Im not able to work it out.

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The help files are a bit cursory but the information is just about all there. The key though is to put all your shared content in a folder named libraries. The folder that you reference in the Vectorworks Preferences dialogue must CONTAIN the libraries folder and not BE the libraries folder.

 

Thereafter, you should replicate the folder structure of the User Folder if you want the various Vectorworks tools to reference the resources quickly.

 

Hope that's helpful. I am sure that others will chip-in.....

 

 

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@markdd good point on the symbol referencing. that would do it but you still need to update the references. Its easy but is a step. As for the workgroup folders. Follow the help instructions and contact tech support for any issues.

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@Matt HallI get what you are saying (I think) these could be files in a workgroup folder. Files as Cabinets, Plumbing, millwork, lighting, Etc...  then just grab the symbol in that file and use it in your working document or reference it in if you like that workflow. The symbols of those will keep their Classes so will load your file with the appropriate class if it is not there.

 

I hope I'm getting your issue correct.

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Thanks,

I'll have to get back to it in a few days.  I can see it, I think I'm just missing a small piece every-time. 

 

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We are a small architecture office with 6 of us using vectorworks. We have been going through a process of standardising our workflows and office organisation. It's still a work in progress so it's interesting reading the above feedback.

 

At the moment our office resources are organised into a single main resource library file and a bunch of template files set up in a workgroup. We are now finding the library file is getting too big (and slow) so we will have to break it down. So we are coming up against the same issue @Matt Hall has of how to split up resources that often work in tandem with each other. I will be looking into using referencing symbols, I've been a bit wary of them as in an office environment it is too easy for referenced symbols to be unintentionally changed across multiple files.

 

One thing we do which has really helped is to have a really good class system AND use class attributes as much as possible. This not only gets consistency of file organisation but using class attributes also maintains graphic styles between projects and staff. Using class attributes has the added benefit that viewport overrides can be used.

 

This system does mean we have a lot of classes to manage - so for this we have one admin file that just contains all of our standard classes. In addition, for classes that use hatches, tiles or require specific textures or line types we have also created custom hatches, tiles, textures and line types just for these classes. We put a "zzz'' prefix to the names of these resources to identify them as "class" resources. (The triple z prefix also means they drop to the bottom of name list).

 

This set of classes, along with their custom "class" resources is the base of our Library file, templates and project files. If a project requires additional classes then they can usually be found in the class base file. If not then a totally new class can be created and perhaps added to the base file if it may be useful for other projects.

 

Occasionally we need to update or edit a class or one of the "class resources" in the base file - these same edits are also done on our Library and templates so they are always the same.

 

To easily manage this system the key has been to have one clean base file with all of the classes. 

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47 minutes ago, Boh said:

We are a small architecture office with 6 of us using vectorworks. We have been going through a process of standardising our workflows and office organisation. It's still a work in progress so it's interesting reading the above feedback.

 

At the moment our office resources are organised into a single main resource library file and a bunch of template files set up in a workgroup. We are now finding the library file is getting too big (and slow) so we will have to break it down. So we are coming up against the same issue @Matt Hall has of how to split up resources that often work in tandem with each other. I will be looking into using referencing symbols, I've been a bit wary of them as in an office environment it is too easy for referenced symbols to be unintentionally changed across multiple files.

 

One thing we do which has really helped is to have a really good class system AND use class attributes as much as possible. This not only gets consistency of file organisation but using class attributes also maintains graphic styles between projects and staff. Using class attributes has the added benefit that viewport overrides can be used.

 

This system does mean we have a lot of classes to manage - so for this we have one admin file that just contains all of our standard classes. In addition, for classes that use hatches, tiles or require specific textures or line types we have also created custom hatches, tiles, textures and line types just for these classes. We put a "zzz'' prefix to the names of these resources to identify them as "class" resources. (The triple z prefix also means they drop to the bottom of name list).

 

This set of classes, along with their custom "class" resources is the base of our Library file, templates and project files. If a project requires additional classes then they can usually be found in the class base file. If not then a totally new class can be created and perhaps added to the base file if it may be useful for other projects.

 

Occasionally we need to update or edit a class or one of the "class resources" in the base file - these same edits are also done on our Library and templates so they are always the same.

 

To easily manage this system the key has been to have one clean base file with all of the classes. 

Wow

I think we are in a similar school of thought about working with vectorworks in a small office, I can absolutely relate to everything you said.

I class the heck out of everything and use the attributes and override appearance in the viewports when needed.

And the more I "BIM" it up, the more classes I seem to need.

 

---------

This is a off topic but I am interested in how you work with "new", "existing" and "demolition".

Example, I end up having 3 symbols for toilets, one for each possible instance "new', 'existing', and 'demolition". Add a fourth if you get into future. 

of course I need to have more than one type of toilet symbol.

I also have a plumbing class for each Instance, AN-Plumbing, AE-Plumbing, AD-Plumbing (black lines, gray lines, red dashed lines set in the attributes)

Every thing I do is multiplied by 3.  Its crazy but everything is controlled and constant.

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Funny we seem to be moving in tandem - nice to know there are others out there grappling with the same stuff. Exactly what this forum is for!

 

25 minutes ago, Matt Hall said:

This is a off topic but I am interested in how you work with "new", "existing" and "demolition".

Example, I end up having 3 symbols for toilets, one for each possible instance "new', 'existing', and 'demolition". Add a fourth if you get into future. 

of course I need to have more than one type of toilet symbol.

I also have a plumbing class for each Instance, AN-Plumbing, AE-Plumbing, AD-Plumbing (black lines, gray lines, red dashed lines set in the attributes)

Every thing I do is multiplied by 3.  Its crazy but everything is controlled and constant.

 

We used to have separate classes for demo items but have moved away from that somewhat as it was getting a bit unwieldy. For our drawing set up we always maintain a complete "As Existing" model. A duplicate of this is created and is then changed into the "Proposed" Model". So we have two completely separate models. We do a really good initial site measure to try and get the existing model as accurate as possible prior to duplicating it.

 

Our demo drawing is typically just a 2d floor plan. For this we just have a viewport of the existing model floor plan and in the VP annotation space place "Demo-Hatch" polygons over the items to be removed along with accompanying notes (see screen shot). 

 

Occasionally we do demo elevations and do the same thing for the 2d plans - Elevation views of the existing model and demo - hatch over items to be removed.

 

In details, if we need to show demo items then these will be drawn using a "Demo-Lines" class which has a dashed line. Often it's just a matter of simply exploding a symbol and putting the lines on the Demo-Lines class. 

 

It is really basic but also really quick and very clear to the contractor. We don't need multiple demo classes or symbols.

 

Having two seperate models for existing and proposed means for items like plumbing we also don't need "Existing" and "New" plumbing classes" - we simply put all plumbing and drainage fixtures on a class called "MODEL-FITTINGS-Sanitary Fixtures". To distinguish between new and extg toilets we may use a generic looking symbol for existing toilets with a more refined symbol for the new toilets but mainly text callouts/annotations or record field data are used to distinguish new from existing rather than graphics.

 

This system works well for the type and size of projects we do.

image.png

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