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Detail Library Management


alex.fitch

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Hi all,

 

My architectural firm wants to start using Vectorworks and I'm heading off our efforts to learn the program and develop a template. I have gone through the core concepts and intermediate concepts courses on Vectorworks university. I've also searched the Forum for similar posts, but I could still use some additional information so I've decided to reach out to you all.

 

How are your firms handing the management of their detail libraries?

 

I've seen two schools of thought while browsing the forums, but I'm not sure what the pros and cons are for each and being so new to the program its difficult to make an educated decision and spend hours converting our details for Vectorworks only to find that I made a less than efficient choice for our firm. In other posts I've read that people have saved each detail as a symbol and then loaded them into the resource manager. The other method I've seen is to have a master file containing every detail on its own design layer, then each detail needed is referenced into the project. 

 

To frame my concerns, I'd like to explain my firms philosophy on detailing. We believe that every project is unique and 99% of the time our standard details need minor adjustments to tailor them to project specific requirements. Our standard details are designed to be generic, but still get us about 90% of the way towards the finished product. My concern regarding the Masterfile method is that we wont be able to edit the referenced detail without going into the detail Masterfile. Regarding the Resource manager method, I have a similar concern. Can The resource manager details be edited once placed on a sheet and when edited, will the original source detail be overwritten? I suppose you could make the edits and then save them as a new symbol in a project specific folder. I've also heard people say that the Resource manager method can start to bog down their models, I'm not sure if that's true though.

 

Please let me know your thoughts, I appreciate any and all advice in advance!

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@alex.fitch When I moved from AutoCAD, I put all my details in a single file for conversion purposes.  This made setting up classes, dimension, text styles, and hatching very easy in regards to wholesale changes for the entire library.  Once I had things behaving the way I wanted them, I broke them up into topics.  I'm a landscape architect, so my areas were Planting, Irrigation, Lighting, Hardscape, Drainage, and Specialties.  I avoided adding individual details to the resource manager after some experiments in workflow, I just didn't find it worked for me.  For my project, I just copy and paste the details into each project.  It's not possible for me to overwrite my details and I"m free to customized them in each project as I see fit.  If I change my standard methods on a particular detail or set of them, I update the master as needed.

 

The advantage to keeping your details in one file or a group of files is that it will be easier to migrate to another software if that times comes.  Incidentally, that's how I organized my AutoCAD details too, which made the conversion process a 1 day affair when I moved to Vectorworks.  There are several opinions on how to go about it, but that's what made the most sense for me.

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It sounds like @alex.fitch & I have similar requirements in that we also find that whilst details can be standardised they inevitably need customising to suit each project. I don't know if it's "the best" method but we use the first method you mentioned of creating individual symbols for each detail. So far it works for our smallish practice as a way to use, reuse & share standard construction details.

 

What we do is have a library of standard detail symbols which can be imported from a shared library file. The symbols are set up as "blue" symbols, i.e. in the symbol settings they are set to convert to a group when they are placed on a drawing. (These sorts of symbols appear blue in the RM). From there the details can be customised to suit the project requirements. In this way the original symbol is left untouched.

 

This method allows symbols to simply be selected via the RM. The other method of copying & pasting details from a "Details File" would require opening the file each time and then finding the detail to copy. This isn't ideal especially when several staff may want to access the details at the same time.

 

The symbol method does require the symbols are rigorously named and sorted into RM folders so that the symbols located and/or searched for easily.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

As someone who is “in charge” of compiling a library of std details for a small architect practice I personally prefer to have one file with all the details sorted into RM folders rather than lots of smaller files of detail types.

 

I just find it easier to manage it that way. As I tweak or introduce new object styles or classes or whatever other resources to use in or on the details they are more easily applied across all details in the library.

 

The downside might be that eventually the file will get quite big and may be slower to access compared to a library made up of multiple smaller files.

 

From the point of view of someone using the library I’m not sure it makes much difference. I do use the RM search function a lot and having one library file means you can use the “selected file only” option to search through all your library which I think is nice.

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you everyone who has responded. I feel like I have a better idea of the options that are available for detail management. I feel that it may still be best to follow Don Wards advice and contact Vectorworks training to walk through the options in more detail, especially regarding the pros and cons for each option. After I reach out and we find a solution for my firm I will let you all know the route that we decided to go and why. 

 

As it stands right now, before I've had any detailed conversation with VW training, it is more appealing for me to have each detail loaded in as a symbol in the resource manager. Though I am still concerned about that bogging the model down, and In both cased I don't know how the editing process will go once a standard detail needs to have its site specific information incorporated. I have this feeling that I would need to update the master file and then save it as a unique detail in order to achieve the site specific detail, which would in turn make our template even larger and bog down our models even more. I've I'm wrong in my assumptions, please correct me!

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30 minutes ago, alex.fitch said:

I am still concerned about that bogging the model down, and In both cased I don't know how the editing process will go once a standard detail needs to have its site specific information incorporated. I have this feeling that I would need to update the master file and then save it as a unique detail in order to achieve the site specific detail,

I would think site specific details do not need to go into a details library. The trick is to have a good range of generic details set up in a library so that they can be imported into a file and easily edited to suit the project requirements.

 

Id be interested to hear back on how the training goes.

 

Good luck! 👍

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9 minutes ago, Boh said:

The trick is to have a good range of generic details set up in a library so that they can be imported into a file and easily edited to suit the project requirements.

Boh,

 

Its the editing of the detail that I don't understand. In my experience with other programs, you often have limitations when it comes to editing linked files, especially DWGs. Often times you are limited to hiding layers, but my team would need to edit: lines, lineweight, line type, splines, fills, patterns, etc. Do you have the option to edit linked details to this extreme? 

 

In my experience, normally, in order to edit a link you would need to edit its source file directly.

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1 minute ago, alex.fitch said:

Boh,

 

Its the editing of the detail that I don't understand. In my experience with other programs, you often have limitations when it comes to editing linked files, especially DWGs. Often times you are limited to hiding layers, but my team would need to edit: lines, lineweight, line type, splines, fills, patterns, etc. Do you have the option to edit linked details to this extreme? 

 

In my experience, normally, in order to edit a link you would need to edit its source file directly.

I believe what Boh is suggesting is that if editing the lineweights, linetypes, etc. is project specific, would it help if the detail is not linked? You could import it into your working file and make it local to that file (not linked), so the detail in the library would remain "generic". That's what we do in our firm. 

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By linked details I take it you mean referenced symbols?

 

I would recommend that only under controlled circumstances to reference symbols from a library file.

 

Certainly not where multiple users could edit the detail symbols which would change them in the library.

 

We import symbols rather than reference them and they are also set up so that when placed in a drawing they convert to groups. If the detail is then edited into a new detail that could be useful in other projects it can be exported back into the library. 

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Genie, Boh,

 

Thank you for clarifying. you're not implying that I would reference the symbol, but that I should be importing it from a master file so that it is a unique instance in the new project file. From there it could be edited independently. This makes sense to me, its very similar to how we handle our standard details in ArchiCAD. I had initially thought that it could be done this way but reached out looking for the "best practice" regarding this topic.  

 

It seems like the way to go then is to create one or multiple Masterfile's for details were we could grab standard details to import/copy into project models as needed. I was making this a lot more complicated than it had to be.

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I only use referenced symbols when the symbols are still in development but I need them in multiple files at the same time. Each time I edit the symbol they are then updated across all the files. Once the symbols are fully developed I break the reference.

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