1. Custom key binds are smart time saversInstead of scrolling to each tool with your mouse, commit key shortcuts to muscle memory. For example, the selection tool is mapped to “x” on your keyboard. You’ll save yourself a fraction of a second each time you press “x” instead of scrolling. Throughout an entire career, this adds up.
Tools usage in Vectorworks. The selection tool overshadows others.My biggest takeaway from the training is that you can take this even further. If I were a consistent Vectorworks user, I’d use a gaming mouse with extra buttons. I’d map the selection tool to where my thumb rests, then I’d feel really smart about how much time I’m saving.
2. Don’t ignore classes and layersClasses are organizational categories. So, for a building design, you might have a class for walls, a class for roofing, a class for interior design, and so on. To work on the interior, you can mark the roof and walls invisible, which means you can easily navigate complex, information-rich designs. Limiting the visible geometry also lets your machine run smoother since it doesn’t have to render extraneous objects. For layers, imagine you’re drawing a two-story building and you’ve finished the first floor, but you’re having trouble properly placing objects on the second floor. You can organize all of that floor’s geometry into a layer, then set the layer to appear precisely above the first story at a specified elevation. This way, you aren’t struggling for precision in the 3D drawing space. Classes and layers are pretty straightforward and mastering them will make your designs much easier to interpret.
3. Use input boxesOn a related note, you’ll notice a dialogue box whenever you place geometry. Instead of drawing free-hand, consider using this box to type in your desired dimensions. To do this, all you have to do is press the TAB key. It means you can draw more accurately and produce designs to scale. This was super helpful in my documentation process.
4. Take advantage of documentationOn that note, proper documentation is huge in design. Fortunately, Vectorworks has integrated all steps of documentation and presentation into its software.
Viewport for the colonnade designed in the Core Concepts class.I should admit that I tend to treat documentation as an afterthought. Before taking this course, I didn’t think beyond design itself to consider what follows. Now, the bigger picture is clear to me. Definitely familiarize yourself with using sheets and viewports to present your designs. That’s part of what makes Vectorworks so powerful: you can mobilize your project from start to finish, from sketch to complete BIM presentation. Use this to your advantage, especially preset templates, which cut down document set-up time.