AECBytes Architecture Engineering Construction Newsletters  

AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #9 (August 29, 2006)

Making a Template File in VectorWorks

Jonathan Pickup
Principal, ArchonCAD Limited

A template file is like a pad of stationery; it's a file you can use to get a job started quickly. The template file can include your standard layers and classes; it can include common symbols (such as doors, windows, bathroom fittings), title blocks (even with the drawing names filled in); and it can also include settings for parametric objects (like window and door objects).

In VectorWorks, you can make up template files for different types of projects so that, when you start a new project, you can choose the file you want from a list of templates.

To create your own template file, open a new file, then from the menu bar choose: File > New…

Choose to start with a blank document. This way, you won't have any surprises in the file, and you can set it up exactly as you want. With a completely blank file, you can set up the units, grid and page size to suit your drawings.

From the menu bar choose: File > Document Settings > Document Setup…

This opens a dialog box for you to set up the major parts of the file, all in one easy-to-use dialog box.

Now we can start to make changes to the file. Click on the button to change the Drawing Units. Set the General Display units to suit the way you want to draw. If you are using the Metric system, then set the units to mm for the general display. If you are using the Imperial system, then set the units to feet and inches for the general display.

Click on the Dimension Objects (Primary) tab. This part of the dialog box sets up your primary dimensions, the dimensions that you use most of the time. Set the options to suit your drawings. The important thing to look at here is the precision. Make sure that you set the precision to suit your drawings. This will save you a lot of time and aggravation later on.

Click on the Dimension Objects (Secondary) tab. This part of the dialog box sets up your secondary dimensions. These can be used with dimension standards to make your dimensions into different units. Set the options to suit your drawings. The important thing to look at here again is the precision—make sure that you set it to suit your drawings. Click on the OK button. This closes the dialog box and takes you back to the Document Setup dialog box.

Click on the button to change the Layer Scale. Change the layer scale to a scale that will suit most of your drawings. Then click on the OK button.

Click on the button to change the Drawing Area. This opens the Page Setup dialog box so you can set up the printer that you want to use. Choose the printer and page size that you use most often. Click on the OK button.

Click on the button to change the Drawing Grids. This opens the Set Grid dialog box where you can set your snap grid and the reference grid (the blue grid). Try to set a snap grid that makes sense to your constructions and try to set a consistent reference grid that you can use for several projects, say 1000mm or 3ft. Click on the OK button.

Now you can close this dialog box. Click on the OK button. To save this file as a template file, choose File > Save As Template… from the menu bar. You can then save this file into your Templates folder in the VectorWorks application folder.

In the next article, we'll explore other things you can add to this template.


About the Author

Jonathan Pickup is principal of ArchonCAD Limited, based in Napier, New Zealand. His firm has been providing training and consulting services to architects and design professionals since 1992. He has written several VectorWorks training manuals for architects, landscape architects, educators and design students. He also co-chairs the New Zealand VectorWorks User Group. He can be contacted at ++ 64 21 743 470 or jon@archoncad.co.nz.

 

 

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