Drawing structure

Organizing the drawing

The Vectorworks software provides a variety of strategies to organize your drawing. When used in combination, these organizational elements, which can be created and managed in The Organization dialog box, make it easy to focus on the parts of the drawing you need to draw, view, share, and present.

       Design layers are comparable to the sheets of vellum that are used for hand-drafting; each item belongs to a layer in the same way that a hand-drafted item belongs to its vellum sheet.

       Classes span the design layers and allow you to control the attributes and visibility of objects across multiple layers.

       Sheet layers are created for the presentation of a finalized project and can contain viewports, title block borders, notes and other annotations.

       Viewports use a combination of visible, grayed, and/or hidden design layers and classes to display detail, section, or rendered final views of a drawing for presentation.

       Saved views store one or more aspects of the current display, such as the view, zoom, and layer and class visibility settings, so you can instantly return to a view.

       References allow you to use drawing elements from another file in the current file; when a referenced item in the master file changes, the changes are reflected in the target file.

       Stories, available in the Vectorworks Architect product, associate building stories with design layers to organize and control architectural drawing elements.

Design layer and class structure

The basic building blocks of any drawing are an effective design layer and class structure and a system for assigning objects to the appropriate layers and classes. The design layer contains the object, while the class determines the object’s appearance. Each drawing object is assigned to one layer and one class.

Setting up the design layers and classes at the beginning of a project is recommended, so that objects can be assigned to appropriate layers and classes as they are created. Layer and class structures can be saved in a template for use in future files (see Concept: Templates).

Both design layers and classes can be used to control the visibility of objects. The currently active design layer and active class are visible; other design layers and classes can be set to be visible, invisible, or grayed. Once an effective layer and class system is established, you can select the appropriate layers and classes for display, selection, drawing, sharing, printing, and presenting. This allows a single file to be used for many purposes.


The Organization dialog box

Concept: Layers overview

Concept: Classes overview

Setting up the building structure with stories

Layer, class, and viewport standards

Saved views

Filtering and tagging classes and layers

Setting global visibility with class and design layer options

Visibility columns

The Navigation palette

Project sharing

Workgroups and referencing


Was this page helpful?