Architect Special Interest Group June 2017 (am)

In this session, we looked at creating keynotes and legends with the Callout Tool, working with details, and how best to modify the shapes of simple details.

Topics Covered:

  • 00:24    We started with the model of a house and quickly created front, left, rear, and right elevations with the Create Multiple Viewports command. On the new elevations sheet, we added a title block and updated the classes of all the elevations at once by selecting them together. Before looking at the Callout Tool, we created a new sheet layer for our notes. The callout preferences are important. That’s where you get your database texts—whether from a new database that you create, an existing one, or someone else’s—and where you select to use keynotes and set other options such as the look of the keynote marker. Keynotes are connected to a legend; so, if you want to use keynotes, you need to determine what legend they’re attached to. We used the Callout Tool to add our first keynote on an elevation drawing and to select the database text. When you select your text, you can easily make changes to the note and choose whether or not to permanently update the note in your database. We closed the dialog box, and the legend appeared on the drawing. In its Object Info palette, we renamed it and assigned it to our notes sheet. We went back to the callout preferences and selected to add our keynotes to the newly named legend.
  • We continued adding keynotes—for features such as cladding, windows, and doors—then switched to our plans to add keynotes there. You can always add new notes to your database whenever you need to. Next, we went to the notes sheet and used the Object Info palette to format our notes. Using a legend and keynotes leaves your drawings uncluttered while letting contractors go to a single place for all the details that they need. Vectorworks allows you to use Note Descriptions or Numbers as your keynotes. If you have a long notes list, the challenge is to make it easy to glance down your list and find a particular note. One option is to begin your database texts with a master spec or building index number. If you double-click on your legend, a dialog box will open where you can change the order of your keynote categories or sort your list. In addition, you can have more than one legend on a project. To remove an “N/A” in your legend, click on the Remove Gaps setting in the Object Info palette.
  • 28:10    Keynotes are a great way to manage notes on a large project. Using a single database and a single keynote legend gives you the ability to quickly update your notes. It might seem daunting to start and maintain your database. However, there are already some notes in the default Vectorworks database and, if you input and update your notes from job to job, you’ll reuse them again and again, even if it’s not on every job. If you find a good note for your project in another source, always add that note to your database. We also discussed how to change the style of keynotes to brackets or clouds; it helps to set these up in your callout preferences at the beginning.
  • 38:15     Save your details, such as foundation details, as symbols and keep them in your library. That way, you can simply drag a detail symbol from the Resource Manager and into your drawing. It remains a 2D symbol. If you clicked Convert to Group when turning it into a symbol, then the symbol will change into a group when placed in a drawing (symbols with blue writing in the Resource Manager convert into groups; those with black writing remain as symbols). The beauty of the group is that you can edit it and it doesn’t update the symbol. Using the None class for the Assign To Class option will prevent your details from disappearing from your drawing sheet because you forgot to turn on the right class. In addition, selecting the Page-Based setting will keep you from having any text-scaling problems. You can right click and select Locate Symbol In Resource Manager to quickly find symbols that you’ve already added to your project.
  • If you have details that are only slightly different—for example, the same foundation wall except for weatherboard on some and stucco on others—you can use the same foundation wall detail, draw the weatherboard on one class and the stucco on another, and then create viewports where you can turn the classes on or off, depending on what you need for that particular detail.
  • 46:35     We discussed how important it is to save your symbols to your library. If you’ve converted your detail symbol to a group and then used it on more than one project, you’ll want to turn that group into another symbol for your library. There’s a good chance that you’ll use it on other projects. If you used a detail on both projects 3 and 7, you should save it to your library. Otherwise, by the time that you arrive at project 11 and want to reuse it, you might have forgotten which project file it’s in. It’s much better to save useful details to your library. You can find a starter library, with some basic folders, on my website.
  • 53:34    Finally, we looked at the easiest way to modify the shape of a simple detail. If, for example, you need to change the shape of a timber detail that you made into a symbol and into a group, the best tool to use is the Reshape Tool. First, ungroup your detail. Then, to turn the rectangle timber into a trapezoid, click on the Reshape Tool and drag the marquee around one corner. Then, as you drag the marquee, everything in the marquee moves with it, making it easy to get the trapezoid that you need. My Timber Tool is still available on my website.

Architect June 2017 am
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  1. Hi Jonathan, The notes/ database area is something I’m working on at the moment. Some useful tips in here, but I’m just a bit confused. If I hit ‘Callout tool preferences’, then ‘get Text from database’, the two files that are there initially are .txt files rather than .xml (VW2018 – Libraries – Defaults – Notes – Callouts.txt or General Notes.txt). Are these database files? Can they be edited outside of VW to create/ amend a well ordered company database? Also, there doesn’t appear to be a button for ‘Create New Database’ – how do you go about that if you want a blank sheet to start making your own database of notes that isn’t based on the VW default .txt files? I think the database side of VW is rather underdocumented generally – I’ve searched around quite a bit and am still far short of understanding the overall structure. I believe you are going to cover in a webinar later in the year so am looking forward to that! Thanks in advance, Mike.

    1. have a look at this manual about intermediate annotation:
      I think will explain most of your issues with creating a new database. It’s important to point out that the database file as a .xml file and it creates a unique identifier for each note in the database. While you might be able to edit these database files outside Vectorworks it is not recommended, because of the unique identifier each note.

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