SST_1711 – Door and Window Styles

Object styles are a powerful technique for controlling objects. On one end of the object style spectrum, you have plug-in objects, which are individual and flexible; on the other end, you have symbols, which are fixed—when you edit one, they all update. Object styles can be anything in between a plug-in object and a symbol. You can choose which parts of the object style are controlled like a symbol and which are flexible like a plug-in. This manual will be focusing on doors and windows, but the techniques covered can be used on all object styles.
First, we will be looking at the concept of object styles. Then, we will look in detail at how to  control our object styles, before finishing off with how we can use object styles to create a window and door schedule.

Table of Contents


Beginner Topics

Object Styles Explained

When you create a symbol, every instance that you place on a design layer is connected to the symbol definition. When the symbol definition is updated, all instances on all design layers are updated as well. In some cases—for example, when you want to make sure that all your windows are consistent for a bathroom—this is a good idea. However, this also means that the window number is the same for every window, which might not make sense. In that case, you want to have an object where almost everything about the windows is consistent except for the window number. This is a great opportunity to use an object style. The object style could control everything except the window number, ensuring that your window characteristics remain consistent while maintaining flexibility regarding the window number.
This image shows the spectrum from a plug-in object on the left to the symbol on the right.
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The plug-in is totally flexible in the design layer, and the symbol is totally fixed in the design layer. This means that every time you use the plug-in, each one is individual, and a change to one does not affect any other instances of that plug-in. Each time you use a symbol it is a perfect copy of the symbol definition. Any change to the symbol definition will change all the instances of that symbol that you’ve placed on your design layers.
An object style lives between a plug-in and a symbol. When you create your objects style, you can choose which parameters are controlled by the style and which parameters are flexible. You can make your object style more like a plug-in, allowing for more flexibility of the size, configuration, etc.
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Or, you can make it more like a symbol, where only a few things are flexible.
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When you create an object style, you choose whether the object style is controlling a parameter or whether the parameter is flexible. You control this by clicking on the icon. A sliding bar next to a parameter means that it is adjustable, while a curved arrow means that the object style is controlling the parameter.
In this manual, we are looking at window and door styles. The concepts that we are covering can also be used with other object styles such as columns, cabinets, and ramps.
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Creating a Window Object Style

The easiest way to create a window object style is to create a window on the design layer that has the settings that you want.
When you right click on this window object, you get a contextual menu where one of the options is to create a style from the un-styled plug-in. When you choose this option, Vectorworks will turn your window into an object style and save it in your Resource Manager.
Once it is saved in your Resource Manager, you can use it wherever you need it. All instances of the style will be identical except for the options that you allowed to be flexible.

Editing a Window Style

A window style will control settings on the instance of the window that you place on the design layer. After creating the style, it can be edited from the Resource Manager or from the Object Info palette. When you edit the style, you see the dialog box for the door and window settings.
For each setting, you can choose whether the style controls the setting
or whether the option is flexible and can be changed on the instance of the object that you placed on the design layer.

Creating a Door and Windoor Object Style

Creating a door object style is similar to creating a window object style. You set the door to the configuration required, right click on it and choose to create a style from the un-styled plug-in. This object style will be saved to your Resource Manager.
Windoor also has Object Styles. They are graphically different but they work in the same way. Watch the movie to see how to us WinDoor object styles.

Intermediate Topics

Creating and Using Duplicate Window and Door Styles

Once you start creating window and door styles, it is easy to use the Resource Manager to create duplicate styles. You can then edit the style to suit a new window. I find this to be an easy way to create all the windows and doors for a project. This way, you can set up all the consistent settings on the first style and as you create each duplicate, adjust the options that need to be different.

Advanced Topics

Creating A Door and Window Elevation Schedule

Projects that I have worked on often need to have an elevation of each window or door type. This is the case in Australia, the UK, and NZ. Some projects do not require this, but the schedules can be useful for the contractor to see all the windows in one place. These drawings are also useful for the window subcontractor, so they can see all the information they need.
The drawing usually has an elevation of each window, dimensions, and details.



  1. Hi Jonathan, very useful for a project I’m setting up now – I am putting it into use straightaway. It would be great to know a bit more about ‘tagging’ (if thats the right word) a bit more of the window spec to the style, and then the best way to see that data on the schedule, rather than typing it all out?

    1. I do not think that the tagging will flow into a worksheet. I believe that the tags are mainly to help find the library objects. Data attached to the symbols is different and will flow into a worksheet.

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