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Vectorworks vs Autocad

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Hi all, 


I've recently made the transition from Autocad to Vectorworks due to changes at work. I've been on a very basic course where I was taught how to create shapes and ultimately could draw a floor plan (a very small basic one). I'm now really struggling getting to grips with the program and am very confused what the benefits of this program are over Autocad. I'm an interior designer and predominately work in 2D for floor plans, elevations and I tend to render anything in Photoshop. 


Does anyone have experience on both softwares who could highlight some keys points on why Vectorworks is better for interiors? 

I would really appreciate any help on this. 


Thank you so much in advance.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi @Vectorworks Novice

I know that my colleague in the UK has contacted you by email. However, I also wanted to point you to some excellent training resources.


Now that you've done some basic training, perhaps it's time to move onto the tools that will offer you the huge benefits of your move.

Have you had a look at Vectorworks University yet? You can sign up free of charge:


Once you've logged in, take a look at the Architect section. You'll find more courses there that will enable you to make full use of your software:



I can also really recommend this webinar:


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1 hour ago, zoomer said:

It is a matter of personal preferences,

but my answer is - everything.

Especially if you are doing 2D only.

Ditto... the main stumbling block for AutoCAD users is the system of classes/layers/scale settings. Once you understand what that is about you'll really learn to appreciate what Vectorworks can do and how it can make drawings much better to handle.


I started on AutoCAD and at some point got Vectorworks (at the time it was called MiniCAD) but at first didn't really get the classes/layers/scale stuff until I later had an aha moment and got it, since then I've pretty much used Vectorworks exclusively for certain kinds of things instead of AutoCAD, though there are a few things were Vectorworks is still lacking some compatibility (e.g. text styles don't translate well for roundtripping) where you would need to use a DWG based program if compatibility is required in those areas.

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Classes and Layers was the easiest for me because before I always wished

for something like that, to be able to separate Stories, New vs Existing, Versions

or such things. Instead of just duplicating Layers. Same for Stories + Story Levels.

Nevertheless I took 2-3 years until I felt really comfortable with it.


I think the basic workflows of VW maybe much different to ACAD but easy to understand.

And there are a few rules on what you should do and what you should absolutely avoid.

So the start into it should be much easier than I had had with Microstation in the past.

You can reach a basic state from where you can start working.


Beside that, the Design Versions of VW (Arch, Landscape, Spotlight or all at once = Designer)

are somehow quite "feature rich", so there are new things to dig into deeper for years.

Edited by zoomer
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@Vectorworks Novice 

Welcome to the forum!

 When I used ACAD as my go to software (back when Adam Ant was new & cool), I was always bumping into "rules" as it seems there was only one correct way to do something. In most situations VW allows for multiple ways to approach an end result. As has been pointed out by other (smarter) users above there are some real advantages to using VW. I'd encourage you to kick some of these things out. 


My work flow could be called BIM-ish in about 80% of our projects but even then I will sometimes revert to 2D (especially for some quick details).


As a further example: despite many examples, explanations, training & arguments one of our principals continues to do everything in 2D.


With Lines.

Without almost any polygons.

Without Hatches.



As his projects are not part of most other's workflow. No harm no foul, but the reason I use his example is (as frustrating as it is for me to think about) he gets a product to a client & the client is happy and the projects get completed. I might suggest that you work as you feel comfortable, but that you also scratch around the programme to see how much more you can achieve in a more timely manner using the 3D potential of the programme. 

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
14 hours ago, Vectorworks Novice said:

and I tend to render anything in Photoshop. 


That's one reason to abandon Autocad. How very inefficient that must be. What happens if you make changes to your project? Vectorworks has sophisticated fills and transparencies almost like a graphic program. In fact Vectorworks' tile fill is much more elegant than the fills options even in Illustrator. And it's more powerful than Autocad in 3D as well! (I only use the 3D part of VWX because 2D workflows are too inefficient to get work done!)  I have converted hundreds of users from Autocad to Vectorworks over the past 20 years and not a single one has wanted to go back. Autocad users always tell me "we don't work in 3D. It's too complicated. We only do 2D". Truth be told, Autocad doesn't even have proper 2D. it's all flattened 3D really.

I could go on for hours! 

@Vectorworks Novice give VWX a chance, you will *not* regret it!

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53 minutes ago, Stephan Moenninghoff said:

Wouldn't those get dragged if the selection marquee was started on top of one?

Little trick with that, and it's starting the drag with the "shift" key pressed, and you don't go into an immediate drag state.


Also, I love the alt+select window/crossing mode. Acad is left->right window select and right->left crossing mode... We can have either mode in any direction. I particularly love the lasso marquee select mode in VW (I know you have it in acad too, but you have to tick a preference) that makes things super super quick.

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