Home > Features > Product Review: VectorWorks Architect 2008

Improved Viewport Workflows

We are going to talk about the dramatic improvements in design-layer viewports when we cover Architect specific features (in a bit) but even in VectorWorks Fundamentals 2008 there are several improvements to the way "viewports" work.

Firstly there is the new improvement when navigating between design layers (where your content is made) and your viewports (where your content is displayed and laid out). In the Edit Viewport dialog there is a new option, Navigate Back to Viewport, which is a default. This helps dramatically with work speed. No longer does the user need to revisit the Navigation palette or the Layers drop-down menu (see images 03-04) to get back to their viewport.

03 - A new default option in the Edit Viewport dialog allows you to easily navigate back to the viewport once you are done editing it. This is a huge productivity improvement over version 12.5.
04 - At the source design-layer the entire working window has a new orange-glow "highlight" with an orange back button. Once done editing, click this button to go back to the viewport.

Other enhancements include adjusting flipped text in viewports without affecting text in other viewports or design layers, and a new black and white only setting to control which viewports have color and which do not. Zoom settings between the annotation mode and the crop mode of a viewport are now maintained. Viewport layer overrides enable the user to present multiple options by duplicating the same viewport and altering the layers associated with them. Lastly, there is new support for Associate Dimensions in sheet-layer viewports, but alas, we found that it only works in Top/Plan view mode, thus this feature is of no value in other view modes, such as elevation or section modes. (see images 05-06).

05 - Red-selection square indicate associative dimensions, but they only work between viewports and sheet-layers if in Top-Plan mode.
06 - Here we changed the wall on the design-layer and its dimension adjusted automatically. We hope Nemetschek fixes this so they can work in at least elevation and section modes.

VectorWorks has always led the entire CAD field when it came to color, line weights, transparency and drawing effects. Now VectorWorks 2008 takes color to an unlimited dimension with "unrestricted access" to the system color palette. Even better, this new release comes with colors palettes for Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Pittsburgh Paints, Pantone and more, including an AutoCAD DWG compatible colors palette. And you can create your own palette and name it. You also get a palette called, Colors in Active Document. (see images 07-08).

And for those with PostScript-based plotters that do not perform well with a mixture of transparency and "screened" colors in the document, this broad brush of colors will mean you will never ever have to "wash down" a color -- to make it lighter -- by applying a screen to it again. (see images 09-10).

07 - Colors in the Active Document appear at the bottom of the Active Document color palette. Colors can be added from other palettes or custom system colors.
08 - The new Benjamin Moore colors are accessed through the Color Palette Manager. You can add colors into a new custom palette and give it a name for reuse.
09 - Here this bush was given its "light" green color via a percentage "screen" from the color palette screen options. The only way to get such light colors in wide variety in the previous version was thru 10, 20, 40, 60. or 80% screen values of a solid color.
10 - Now with Pantone palettes and palettes from a wide variety of paint manufactures -- plus unlimited system colors -- you can always find a 100% version of the color you are seeking. This helps plot times on certain Postscript-based plotters.

The last major new improvements in the Fundamentals version of VectorWorks 2008 is the new CAD Manager features. It is now much easier to manage CAD standards centrally and carry these standards to the next version of VectorWorks. In an office with several people or more, ideally you would store these on a central server but you can store standards locally as well.

And VectorWorks 2008 now has support for AutoCAD 2007/2008 products. Over the years -- and especially since version 12, when Viewports were introduced -- VectorWorks' import/export functionality has dramatically improved. Now onward to the "Architect" specific version of VectorWorks 2008 and the new features.


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