SST_1808 – Cloud Services

For some time, Vectorworks has offered cloud services as part of the Vectorworks Service Select (VSS) subscription. Most users know that VSS gives them a free upgrade each year, but what about the other things that are included?
This manual will be looking at the cloud services part of VSS.

What Are Cloud Services?

VSS includes:

  • Tutorials
  • Desktop application
  • Nomad smartphone application
  • Remote smartphone application

As part of VSS, these are services that you pay extra for. VSS pays for the Cloud Services, extra library resources, and your next version of Vectorworks. This makes it well worthwhile.
You get to your Cloud Services by going to the Vectorworks website, clicking on the Log In button and choosing Cloud Services. Your login will be the same as your VSS login.
Once you have logged in, you should see the homepage. It includes a menu that enables you to jump between the Cloud Services and VSS, a menu to control settings and login information, and settings to integrate your computer with the Cloud Services portal.
One of the main features of Cloud Services is the ability to save your documents and library files online. Once stored online, they can be shared with other people. This is not a unique service; saving and sharing files online is also provided by services such as Box and Dropbox.
The Cloud Services feature that other services do not provide is the ability to process your files online. This means that you can upload a Vectorworks file to Cloud Services and have Vectorworks process the PDF files and a 3D model for you.
Cloud Services can be integrated with your Vectorworks desktop application.  When you start Vectorworks there is a Cloud menu at the top right, just before the Help menu. You can use this to sign in, manage your Cloud Services folder, launch the Cloud Services website, run Cloud Publish, etc.


The Cloud Services tutorials are excellent. They’re so good that there is no need for me to repeat the information that they contain. I do highly recommend that you look through the tutorials when you need help with Cloud Services.
Access the tutorials from the top-right corner of the website.
The tutorials are organized in three parts: Uploading, processing files, and collaborating with others. I’ve had a look through these tutorials and they really do cover everything you need using a very simple approach.

Desktop Application

The Cloud Services desktop application runs in the background of your computer, managing the synchronization of the services. One way of using the services is to have a Vectorworks Cloud Services folder on your computer. Any files stored in this folder will automatically be synchronized with Cloud Services on the Internet. When you add a file, Vectorworks will upload it for you. When you save the file, Vectorworks will upload the new file.
You do not have to use the desktop application in this way. You are able to turn off synchronization so that you only upload files when you want to. To upload files, you open the Vectorworks Cloud Services website and manually upload them.

  • From Vectorworks, go to the Cloud menu and choose Settings…

This will open the Settings dialogue box where you can manage the general settings (such as having it remember your login information, running on start-up, and sending error logs to Vectorworks).
The next tab, Computing, controls the location of your Cloud Services folder on your computer and it also tells you how much storage you have used online. By default, you get 20 GB of online storage.
Originally, only VSS users could get cloud storage from Vectorworks. Now, anyone can get 5 GB of free online storage from Vectorworks. This means that your clients could also get some free storage.
The next tab, Schedule, controls how files will be synchronized between your computer and the cloud storage. You can choose to have PDF versions of your files generated manually or on specific days or at specific intervals.
The last tab is all about the technical aspects of your connection.
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Nomad Smartphone Application

Nomad is an application that you need to download onto your smartphone or tablet. It works on both iOS and Android devices. On an iOS device, you get additional benefits including augmented reality (AR). AR is really cool, allowing you to create a model, connect it to a space, and then walk around the space. You could think of this as a live version of Camera Match. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on Android devices.
In this image, you can see the two Vectorworks applications on my smartphone.
When you open the Nomad application, you have to connect it to your Cloud Services account.
Once it is connected to your account, you can see all the files that are stored online. You can share, download, delete or view the files as a 3D model or PDF.
One of the coolest tricks is the ability to open a 3D model on your smartphone.
Before you can view the 3D model, it has to be processed. If it has not been processed yet, Vectorworks will ask you if you want it to be.
Once it is processed, you can view the model on your smartphone and can walk around or fly through it.
This will allow you to share your model with clients and they tour the model.

Remote Smartphone Application

If you find that your screen is relatively small, and you want to have something that will help you to navigate layers, classes, cameras, etc., then this application will help you.
You have to connect to your smartphone using a QR code. Once connected, you can then use your smartphone to speed through some of your normal tasks, such as organizing layers and classes.

Cloud Processing

This is one of the best reasons for using Cloud Services. When you create a large set of drawings, they can take several minutes to process on your computer. During the processing, you will find that your computer runs extremely slowly and becomes unproductive. If you use your computer during this period, your computer has to share its processing power between the drawings you are processing and what you are working on. Everything just goes slowly.
The answer is to use cloud processing. It works extremely well if you have a very large model with several rendered views, which can sometimes take hours on your own computer. Cloud processing can accomplish it in minutes.
I had a problem with a PDF. I wanted it to be extremely high resolution. When I tried to process it on my computer, the memory would run out, and I could not finish the rendering. I uploaded it to the cloud for processing and received a PDF file with a very high resolution.
In this image, you can see the original PDF file and also a small area where I zoomed in to show you the level of detail. I was able to produce this very high-quality PDF only because I used the processing on Cloud Services.
There are two techniques for processing files on Cloud Services. The first technique is to publish directly onto Cloud Services. Later, we will look at the other technique, where you upload your files directly to the Cloud Services website.

  • Start by publishing your drawings. If you have not used Publish…, it’s on the File menu.


  • This opens the standard Vectorworks Publish dialogue box. What most people don’t know is that there is a pop-up menu at the bottom where you can choose to process with local storage or with Cloud Services Storage.

What is not clear is that choosing this option will upload your file to your Cloud Services Folder for processing. For very large files, this is a huge advantage, because it frees up your computer to work on other projects.

  • After choosing Cloud Services Storage, choose the drawings that you want to process.
  • Click on the Publish button.


  • Choose the required folder in your Cloud Storage Folder or create a new folder for your work.

When you have the correct folder, click on the Select Folder button.
Your files will be uploaded to the Cloud Services website and will be processed in due course.

Uploading Files to Cloud Services

The other way to upload your files is to manually drag and drop them from your computer to the Cloud Services website. I use this method when I do not want to have my Cloud Services Folder automatically synchronized with the Internet.

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