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Best Practice for filing.

Paul N

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What do you recommend as best practice to creating drawings? For example we were given a CAD site survey (contours w/ assigned elevations, building, roads, property line, existing trees, drains etc..). We will be grading, new hardscape, planting plan, irrigation, and other landscape design features. We want to produce sections, elevations and a 3D model. 

Traditionally, we use CAD and SketchUp. 


When I import the CAD survey file (I unchecked the "Reference" option) it only allows me to edit some blocks but everything else cannot be edited for example the contours, roads, building etc. How can I fix this issues? 

  • Do I need to create a separate CAD file w/ just the contours and use the "Survey Input" option? Then just "Import" the rest of the CAD survey in?


Do you guys recommend working in CAD and then referencing the CAD file into Vectorworks & redrawing / tracing over what we need? That seems redundant. 


What do you guys recommend as the process of organizing the drawing files. 




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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi @Paul N,

If you are in Vectorworks 2022, I would suggest checking out the templates. Select File>New>Landmark(Imperial or Metric). This has some initial design layers you can make use of and you can remove/add where necessary. They are stacked so that they appear how you would expect on a drawing set. Feel free to rearrange the stacking order to fit your needs.


For the CAD survey file, since you imported it directly, you should be able to edit any and all geometry and symbols (blocks). Make sure your "classes" are set to "Show/Snap/Modify others". I recommend when importing a .dwg file that you select 2D/3D geometry so that if the contours are already elevated they will import as 3D polygons and you can make use of that to generate a site model.


"Survey Input" is used for importing an .xls file (spreadsheet) so I would not use that for what you are doing.


Place hardscape objects on the "hardscape" design layer, irrigation on "irrigation" layer, etc.



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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
16 hours ago, Paul N said:

Thanks @Tony Kostreski!


I was able to create a site model. However, graphically its not what I wanted. How do I make the surface solid and smooth? Please see screen shots first one shows a hatch and second image doesn't show the surface.  

@Paul Nare you viewing this in wireframe? If so, switch to "shaded". You can change your default Vectorworks Preferences for 3D display to always show "shaded".


If you just want to toggle between wireframe and shaded, hit the "teapot" on the top bar in between where it says "orthogonal" and the "glasses" on your screen.



Screen Shot 2022-02-25 at 11.17.14 AM.png


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