My Best of Vectorworks 2016 list (so far)
20 Jan

My Best of Vectorworks 2016 list (so far)

How is it possible to have a “Best of” list for 2016 when the year has just begun? That’s because this list is about Vectorworks 2016, the latest version of the software that was launched in September.

This version of Vectorworks brings many highly touted (and quite frankly amazing) new features such as true Project Sharing, Marionette visual scripting, Subdivision modelling, Energos energy modelling and Point Cloud support. In an unprecedented move, we even got a sneak peak at these at the 2015 Vectorworks Design Summit.

While these are indeed superb features that I’ve been enjoying exploring since launch day, each new version also brings a plethora of other new features and enhancements that haven’t received as much fanfare. Sometimes they get none at all, yet they are still fantastic additions to the application.

Here is my list (so far) of my favourite new features and enhancements in Vectorworks Architect 2016. Readers of my previous years’ lists for 2014 and 2015 will know that the these are features that may be small, may be less often used, but they are ones that once again boost my usability and enjoyment of using Vectorworks. They have already made me more productive, efficient and accurate.

So without further delay, my favourite new features in Vectorworks 2016 are:

Selecting and purging coincident duplicate objects
Coincident objectsA long awaited feature that is perhaps most welcome in 2D workflows. If you have duplicate objects sitting directly on top of each other, this mode of the Purge command will locate and delete all but one of them!
Palette Docking on the Mac
Palette dockingFinally palette docking has come to the Mac. You can either dock palettes to your drawing window or dock palettes to each other.
OpenGL edge line thickness option
OpenGL edge thicknessThat wonderfully quick and handy render mode now allows the edges to be displayed with different thicknesses. If you find the default thickness a bit too “chunky”, reduce it. If you want a more bold OpenGL view, increase it.
Direct editing of Worksheet cells
Worksheet cell direct editingNow just double click the cell you want to edit and edit away! You can even access font attributes and drop-down menus, as applicable to certain plug-in objects.
Expand/Collapse all sections in the Resource Browser
Resource Browser collapse allNo longer do you have to click on EACH little triangle to expand or collapse multiple types of objects in the RB. Now just Option-click on a Mac (Alt-Click in Windows) and ALL the types will expand or collapse at once.
Walkthrough tool Gamer Mode
Walkthrough Gamer modeFor those of you familiar with the widely used gaming controls of the W, S, A and D keys to move forward, backward, left and right respectively, the Walkthrough tool now allows you to use these when in “Gamer mode”. While moving in this mode, you can rotate your view using the mouse.
3D PDF export
Export 3D PDFYou can now export your Vectorworks model as a 3D PDF. This is a great way to send a 3D model to someone (often a client) without them having to have Vectorworks to view it. They can use Acrobat Reader, which is free, to view the model. The 3D PDF can even navigate any Saved Views that were set up in the Vectorworks file.
Editing a wall style directly from the Wall’s OIP Style dropdown menu
Edit Wall StyleWhen you come across one of your wall styles that you’ve used in your drawing that you now need to edit, you no longer need to find that wall style in the Resource Browser to edit it. Simply select that wall and in the Object Info Palette, in the wall style menu, there is now an option to edit the style. This is so handy!
Ability to map individual Vectorworks classes to DWG/DXF layers
DWG export of classesWhen collaborating with users of other software who are only able to use DWG/DXF files, a little bit of communication goes a long way. Find out what their layer standard is and, in Vectorworks 2016, you can now map your individual classes directly to their specific DWG/DXF layers. This makes the whole collaboration process easier and more seamless.


I am sure that these aren’t the only new features or enhancements in Vectorworks 2016 that will be be added to my repertoire, but these are my favourites so far.
© Neil Barman  Intern Architect AIBC
What are your favourite new features of Vectorworks 2016? Post a comment below and let us know!

2 thoughts on “My Best of Vectorworks 2016 list (so far)

  1. Bryan D.Goff - January 22, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    How bout the Contour mode in Site Modifiers. And Ambient Occlusion

    • Neil Barman - January 22, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      Good ones Bryan! Indeed, both of those are impressive additions.

      In fact, the new Contour site modifier (especially with Snap to Contour Mode on) is especially amazing; It really simplifies modifying a site model. I’ve been using it during the last couple of weeks and if I had written the article a bit later it would have made the first version of the list. It reminds me why I started adding “so far” to the title last year – I really do keep finding great new features or enhancements all year.

      And Ambient Occlusion… What can I say? It’s so subtle and yet so beautiful. I can’t imagine switching it off now that I’ve had it on for a while. Even in OpenGL it makes a model look so much better.

      Thanks for your suggestions!


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