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Possible to apply a record format as you draw?

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Let's say I'm 3D modeling an existing location - think city street with lots of storefronts - along with modeling new pieces of scenery that will be added on, plus graphic signs, etc. I'm texturing it as I go.


Then at certain times I need to use Data Visualization to switch to a "categorized" view which is color-coded for different types of surfaces:

  • Shot "as-is"
  • Paint existing surface
  • New constructed element
  • Graphic / print
  • Digital set extension (VFX)
  • Other

I'm doing this with a record format that has a field with these as pre-defined options. 99% of the geometry in the model will need this Record Format applied.


Of course it would be simple to Select All once the model is done then apply the Record Field, but that's not the reality of the workflow. I need portions to have the Record Format applied as I'm working on it. As it stands I have to click "Attach Record" frequently, then wait the 2 seconds it takes for the Resource Selector to pop up (that's another topic - ALL Resource Selectors are laggy for me), then double click the Format. It'd be more efficient if the Format were just automatically attached to objects as I was making them, then I could easily go and set the dropdown to the appropriate type as needed.


I can't think of any other workflow... in fact I really love the results, I'm just trying to see if it could be done faster. I'm unable to use classes or layers for this aspect because those are being used for organization and attributes purposes as I would in any other file. Plus I need the re-coloring to happen in the Design Layer, not just in Viewports.


Let me know if this makes sense. Thanks!

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Actually it makes a lot of sense. Pop by the VWUG Zoom tomorrow and we can talk about some options.


My first thought would be a script palette with a separate script for each of the typical Fields.  Draw something, leave it selected, double click the script, draw the next object.


The script can probably be written so that if you have multiple objects that need the same data it will work that way also.


Pop by the VWUG Zoom tomorrow and we can talk about some options. The 4th hour is usually @michaelk, @Sam Jones and me talking Vectorscript.

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what about using 'Data Manager' and do the record format mapping through 'Class-based Objects'. First you 'add class-based object' then attach record/set values and when you draw in chosen class all objects within that class receive selected record format and potentially specific value you have set.

I am just exploring and learning data manager capabilities and found this function ... might be useful for you.

There might be different workflow that I dont know yet... I am just scratching surface. 

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This sounds interesting... 

I had a look at Data Manager before + didn't really understand it. And had another look now + still don't. But I am interested because I recently wanted to attach data to a Wall Style + found the options were quite limited. I couldn't attach a record for example + there were no User Fields in the data tab I could use, only all the hundreds of predefined IFC fields. So you're saying if this particular wall style was assigned to its own unique class I could ensure that a particular record was attached to every instance of that wall style in the drawing by using the data manager?

Thanks for sharing what you are discovering...

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Hi @Tom W.

You are welcome.

Thank you for all your posts and active engagement in many topics on this forum. I am reading most of them and I have to say there were already many answers to my questions as well. 


When I saw Andy's question I remind myself reading brochure year ago about then new addition to vw 2020: Data Manager.

I felt quite same as you ... and was then suspicious (as I am quite often with new things) or maybe bit reluctant to properly look through the possibilities...or maybe I wasnt really in position to implement it into my workflow yet as I am only recently starting to utilise data part of possibilities within vectorworks with custom records, worksheets.. data tags


BTW here it is:



Since then I used it only once recently to map window/door with style U-value to be able with multiple datavisualization to check how well is doing thermal envelope (walls, slabs, roof...door, window) of my projects.


Solution I am suggesting in previous post was really absolutly new to myself either. I just checked if it works while writing that post and it seem to be working really well. Here it is in step by step process:

1. create new class or have ready one to where new objects with record format will be.

2. open data manager, select Class-based Object from Objects window

3. use Add Class-Based Object button to select your desired class (class will be added under Class-based Object header)

4. select added class and in the middle window using Add Data Set at bottom select record or ifcentity

5. then if desired you can set any field from record format with predefined value (will become by style)

6. close manager and try draw any object in mapped class activated

Hope this works for you!


However to your question regarding wall style and ifc parameter: I think it might possible. Can you be more specific...


Data Manager is definitely very very powerful tool and I see already many possibilities how to utilise it.

E.g. strictly filtering data for any object (particullarly plug-in objects with so many different data) to only display ones that are for any given phase relevant. Instead of using object info palette and controlling data there moving to data pallete and do all settings there. And it is bidirectional!

Another would be to compile different Data Sheets for different project stages...


What I really miss from vectorworks side is to have new and improved feature with each latest release sufficiently presented with some nice and shiny examples reaching to the top of possible that would attract our attention. Maybe in form of some short movies with cool stuff.

That said, on the other side it is quite adventures to slowly and surely discover all these hidden treasures that didnt exist before and to open up new frontiers. 🙂


Edited by drelARCH
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Hi @drelARCH thanks for this. I will definitely check out Data Manager. Thanks for the link. I am a complete beginner in the world of data/worksheets/etc but enjoying learning about it all.


The U-value mapping sounds interesting. I have played around with data visualisation a bit. How did using the data manager help you do what you did rather than just going through the 'New Data Visualisation' dialog? 


16 hours ago, drelARCH said:

However to your question regarding wall style and ifc parameter: I think it might possible. Can you be more specific...


See thread below:


It was nothing particularly ambitious or interesting, I just had a value I was manually entering into a worksheet + wanted to know if I could instead attach it to the wall style + pull it into the worksheet from there, automatically. And then got drawn into the murky world of IFC data... Just trying to get my head around all the possibilities + how it all fits together really... 🤔

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Data Manager is certainly an interesting tool, thanks for suggesting it @drelARCH. I've actually never touched it since it debuted; the interface is a bit overwhelming and perhaps not immediately intuitive (and I don't use data that often, frankly). While I don't think I'll employ it on the current project, I can definitely see the usefulness of the class-based data system and might use it in the future.


@Pat Stanford Sadly I keep missing your online VWUG meetings 😞 

Usually by the time Saturday rolls around I'm feeling a bit screen-nauseous and try avoid my computer at all costs, haha... Hopefully work will settle down a bit by the time the next meeting comes along - they're always useful!

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  • 2 months later...

I've been experimenting with the Data Manager. I'd like to attach a record format to new symbol when it's inserted in the drawing. (Ex. add a vendor/ costing database to any symbol classed Equiment-Main) I have a class based rule set up, but when I create a worksheet, it looks like it's attached a database to every line of every object that makes up the symbol. I can't use a symbol based query, as I don't know what symbols will be added. Short of manually connecting the record format every time I add a symbol, is there a better way to do this?

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If you attach the record to the symbol definition, then that Record will be attached to the symbol when it is inserted. Any values in the record attached to the definition will be transferred to the inserted symbol instance, but there will not be any link between them. If you edit the Symbol Definition record, the changes will not propagate to the instances. Similarly if you change the record on one Symbol Instance neither the other Instances of the Symbol Definition record will change.


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Yes, you will have to attach the record to the symbol definition when you create it. There is no automatic attachment of records in VW.


Attaching the record could be scripted and turned into a menu command so it could have a keyboard shortcut attached, but unless the information is always the same, someone will have to edit the data in the record.

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