Serving the Seattle VectorWorks Users Group and Northwest VectorWorks users.
In this issue:
•No User Group meeting for February
•Let’s get right to the tips
• PDF thoughts
An archive of past news letters can be found at http://.converttolines.blogspot.com/
Note that the site has been updated with improved text (now Google-owned) and, partly as a result, the URL has changed and no longer uses www in the address. Also note the forward slash at the end of the address.
Greetings VectorWorks users! There will be no User Group meeting for February due to personal obligations.
In my last newsletter, I talked about how, when drawing a line, you could see its angle and length in the Object Info palette by clicking on the round Polar button rather than the square, default Cartesian button. If you draw a wall, you have the same ability to read (and set) wall angle and length as with a line by using a polar setting*. Draw a wall and leave it selected. Click onto the Polar button and put in your own angle or length and hit Enter or Return. The wall will pivot on its beginning end to the new angle or length.
One can create a survey line as well by typing in a property bearing of, say 35°15’44”. An easier way might be to use the Property Bounds tool on the Tools palette--it’s on the tear-off palette sporting a bulldozer and looks a bit like a necklace. I’ve not liked this tool in the past since it frequently causes my earlier inputs to disappear if I click the wrong button and also has crashed my computer. I was reading Jon Pickup’s VectorWorks Architect book and was surprised to see that there was a simple option to using the Property Bounds tool of which I was unaware. If you click on the tool, you should see a wrench icon in the upper left corner of your drawing window. Click on it and a dialog box comes up which offers a button called Simple Dialog. Select it and your next click brings up a new box with only line angle and length inputs but with a second button which can close the shape. If your property does not involve curves, this option might be the one to use. Note that you can also input bearing as 35d15m44s instead of ° ‘ “.
Also, in setting a line’s angle, don’t forget another option; the Angle Snaps button on the Constraints palette--it’s the button that looks a little like an asterisk. Double click it and set the angle prior to beginning your line.
*Tom Baer, in his VectorWorks 10 Visual Quickstart Guide (still a fine book to acquire--I found mine on Amazon) says “Like most CAD programs, VectorWorks uses the two coordinate systems, Cartesian and polar. Cartesian (aka x-y or rectangular) coordinates identify a point in the plane by its horizontal and vertical distances from a point of reference called the origin. Polar coordinates define a point by describing the line between the point and the origin by specifying its length (L) and its angle (A). Angles are measured counterclockwise from the 3 o’clock position. You can switch between systems at will, using whichever is the more convenient. Sometimes what’s important is the angle of a line (say, the slope of a roof): sometimes the distance above the floor (its Y value) is what needs to be defined.”
In my last newsletter I also talked about how to generate a plus/minus sign. Of course, right in the OI palette of any dimension resides a Tolerance button which gives you an opportunity to indicate the plus/minus amount. You get your sign, but you also have to indicate the amount of tolerance which might be intolerable.
Jonathan Pickup has an interesting blog item that teaches one how to make transparent people for placing in front of your projects. Sign up for his online newsletter to see this movie and more using the link at the bottom of the page.
A few weeks back yours truly was quoted in a Nemetschek announcement heralding the working relationship between NNA and Adobe in the continuing development of the Acrobat PDF format.
Last week, in a follow up post in eDispatch,
Sean Flaherty expanded on the theme. Yes, more and more capability will be created in the Acrobat software and this should increase your ability to share information. All good. The part I was responding to so enthusiastically was the simple fact that the Acrobat code was included in the various VW packages (except Fundamentals, I believe). To make great PDF’s, you don’t need to buy Acrobat. On the Mac, the PDF function is built-in to the OS, but from what I’ve seen and heard, the Acrobat code within VectorWorks produces quick, quality PDF’s. I’ve created several sets of drawings with the Batch PDF tool and it is truly amazing to see them created and then displayed (if you check the display button) on your screen with your first sheet showing and the following sheets listed in a right hand column in thumbnail form*. Importing engineering sized PDF’s from your engineers and dropping them onto a sheet is easy. Just import it in then use the IO palette to move it to a new sheet.
Simply stated, if you’ve got it, you’ll use it. PDF’s are like a fax machine on steroids with human growth hormone sprinkled on top but without the baseball commissioner (a quote that NNA will likely pass on, sorry to say). Yes, many of you, being the forward thinking individuals that you are, bought Acrobat years ago** and wonder what the big deal is. The deal is now that we’re all on board; this critical mass will seriously begin to work in our favor .
*I will say that larger files need RAM and if you don’t have the memory, you might find, as I did, that the text displays as a combination of Russian plus Egyptian hieroglyphs.
**I remember picking up a huge stack of free red floppies marked Adobe Acrobat Version 1.0 many, many years ago. I was a member of dBug, a Mac user group here in Seattle and the software was free for members. Although there was a flier describing the intent of the new program, I couldn’t really get my mind around the concept so I threw the bundle back into the bin.