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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Workflow Enhancements and Braceworks Define Vectorworks 2018

September 12th, 2017 by Susan Smith

Vectorworks CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar spoke with AECCafe Voice about today’s release of its 2018 Vectorworks software. The release includes Vectorworks ® Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Designer and Fundamentals, as well as Vision. As part of the release, Braceworks™ is a new structural load analysis add-on module aimed for designers and riggers working on temporary entertainment structures.

Editable Section Viewports

Direct section and elevation editing and multi-view capabilities were introduced so that the plan is ready to go when you are finished with your 1-50 or 1-100 detailed view of a particular model. “All the linework, line thicknesses, cross section, merging of areas between different walls and slabs or walls and roofs,, used to be touched up by hand and the users don’t need to do that anymore,” said Sarkar. “It takes a long time to do all that touch up work on line thicknesses and hatches. You can also grab all modeling entities like change windows or move some doors, height of clad or walls.

“The site model contours are now directly editable which they were not before. Users had reported that in previous versions, the contours, once in the site model, could not be edited and required various techniques to edit the site model. Now they have better control and are able to click to the points, do polylines and drag them together or one at a time.”

The integration of analysis and design is another theme new to this release. Braceworks added to the entertainment portfolio allows entertainment professionals to have an entire workflow from design through to production in one interface that includes Spotlight and Vision Software.

Worksheet Improvements

Vectorworks worksheet capabilities have been simplified, making it easier for users to create custom reports from model or drawing data.

Braceworks, the new structural load analysis add-on tool, will analyze the loads and distributed loads on trusses, for example, and let you know if they are safe or not. “In Europe, you must get the trusses satisfied by structural engineers for structures in rock concerts and other public places,” said Sarkar. “You’re including the safety factor in the design. You receive a huge PDF of load calculations and dimensions, basically for the BIM to let you know if you need support or the load is supported well.”

Vectorworks 2018 is now Unicode compliant for any file created in any language versions, with all the characters showing up correctly. The software supports over 12 languages compatible with each other and able to open files from other language. This is useful when a company working on a Chinese project has much of the work done in Germany for example. Localized versions will be available in the coming months.


In summary, some of the awaited additions for Vectorworks 2018 include (from company materials):

  • Multiple drawing views: Use multiple views of a project simultaneously, and begin work in one view pane and finish it in another. Switch effortlessly between viewports, views and visibility settings — simply set up panes and view them all at once. Instantly gauge the impact of a design change across 3D, plan, section and elevation views, and even start a rendering in one view while working in another.
  • Direct section and elevation editing: Edit models directly from viewports: add openings, align and distribute windows, reposition doors across multiple layers, reshape walls — it’s all possible. Change the 3D views while in the section to see how edits simultaneously affect plans and model views. And, create better-looking, more-accurate drawings in a fraction of the time.

Enhanced Webview

For architecture, notable improvements include:

  • Improved graphic output for architectural documents: Generate documentation from a BIM file much more efficiently. Improved graphic controls within section views of wall joins and wall, or slab and roof components provides the flexibility to quickly achieve high-quality documentation from a 3D model.
  • Robust wall modeling options: Control individual component heights by instance, attach information to them, insert component caps and simultaneously edit multiple selected components from an easy-to-use dialog box. Plus, swiftly make wall graphic display changes with the new ability to switch all attributes by class.
  • Easier title block customization: Customize items such as variables and orientation, choose from an unlimited set of information to include in a title block, and use styles to more simply manage many title blocks across one or multiple projects.
  • Streamlined drawing distribution: Publish drawings based on issue date and a tightly integrated new title block object; generate and distribute drawing sets, issue information and reports throughout the duration of a project; and automate the typically laborious process of creating a BIM project or lighting a stage. Enhancements for entertainment design include:
  • New zoom option for video and blended screens: It’s now easier than ever to manage the planning and visualization of video screens in designs. With new graphic output capabilities, more accurately understand, estimate and adjust available throw and zoom, to enable final equipment choices earlier in the design process.
  • Enhanced seating section: Choose from additional layout methods, multiple seat numbering options and graphic controls to easily set and modify seating sections from the Object Info palette. Generate more precise seating layout visualizations for an event and automate seating schedules for inventory and ordering. For landscape design, important updates include:
  • Direct site model contour editing: Edit a site model easier than ever with improved site model settings and direct 2D contour editing. Modify each contour line as easily as editing a polyline.
  • New import/export tree survey options: Generate existing site conditions from GIS and tree survey data without the need for external tools. Just use geolocated tree species data to create existing tree objects and export back to clients via Shapefile (SHP), TXT and DXF formats.

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Categories: 3D PDF, AEC, AECCafe, architecture, BIM, building information modeling, Cloud, collaboration, construction, file sharing, infrastructure, rendering, site planning, Vectorworks, visualization

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