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Create Devices From List Workflow

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Is there a detailed workflow article /tutorial on allocating locations and racks for devices within a schematic?


Tom did this video but skipped over the process of "Creating Devices from List" (and I can't work it out) and can't fin any info on-line

The video suggests that this is a workflow you do at the end of the design process, I'd like to know how it can be updated iteratively too, if you add/delete items from the schematic, how do you keep everything in synch?





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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

The physical locations of schematic devices are defined by placing equipment item objects on to-scale drawings of your rack elevations or on floor plans. The command Update Rack Elevation does a bulk create of Equipment for all schematic devices on the current layer, placing the Equipment Items on a layer called Rack Elevation. Then you can either drag them into racks or move them to a floor plan layer. As you move your equipment around it automatically detects if it's in a rack or a room and also update corresponding devices (i.e. devices with the same name as the equipment).


Update Rack Elevation is smart - it checks for existing equipment as it creates, so you won't get duplicates. It also leaves selected any equipment that has no device. So, you can run Update Rack Elevation multiple times in your design cycle to keep the schematic and physical worlds in sync.


Hope that helps. Don't forget to check out the online help too.



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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Create Devices from List will be renamed Create Devices from Cable List.


It's a command that came out of a reverse engineering task the purpose of which was to recreate drawings from a cabling survey.



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I had not chance to make it work. i made a drawing with four devices and create a cable table. From this table I also created a list.
When I delete all cables and devices and try to create devices from cable list, I only get two devices with one connector and no information in it.

I cannot find any documentation for it in the online help. What I am doing wrong?

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@switchonet This particular command is in my opinion so specialised that it is rarely useful. I should know - I wrote it 🤣. It was designed to help a very difficult project that involved trying to reconstruct the system schematic diagrams from the cabling. What had happened was that an employee left taking all his notes of years of modifications and installations with him. Bit of a nightmare really. So what should your expectations be...?

A cable list only has information about connected sockets and their device names. It doesn't know what is a sensible order to draw those sockets. So there isn't a lot to work with. And to make the result decent needs a lot of user intervention. 


But... over in my laboratory I got a command that you're really going to like - stay tuned for our new release this Autumn!



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I hadn't appreciated the "Update Rack Elevation" was in fact the tool/command I needed. The video was a bit misleading (but you can blame Tom for that ! 🙂 )


I've used that and getting the hang of how it works.


As for the upcoming stuff from your Lab - We are poised and waiting.


Should you wish us to play as beta testers etc, please drop me a line.





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  • 4 weeks later...

Copying in here, 90% of my projects start from a cable list. 

Unfortunately we weren't able to make it work either. 

Happy to discuss and help as this would give us a huge improvement in workflow / easing up time consuming parts. 





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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Jan and others,


The basic problem with trying to create devices given a cable list is that you have very limited information about the devices. Yes the cable list contains the details of each socket that is connected but there are no other clues. So this command is fighting a losing battle. A bit like the reverse engineering task which I designed it for so many years ago. I think the old Make Devices from List should retire and make way for a new workflow.


Let me share my thinking with you.:

  1. We begin with a cable list.
  2. A few quick spreadsheet maneuvers extracts a list of all the device names.
  3. You add the Make and Model for each device in the list.
  4. Name, Make and Model go into a command that automates the Device Builder and puts the devices on the drawing.
  5. You shuffle the devices into a reasonable layout
  6. Connect them up using Make Connections from List

It isn't a magic "design my system" button. of course. You still have to intervene but it would be a lot faster than manually drawing everything. Obviously if a device type isn't in the Device Builder database you would have to add it. But you only have to do that once.


It would be interesting to hear your views.



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