Setting design layer properties



View bar




Ctrl+Shift+O (Windows)

Cmd+Shift+O (Mac)

Once created, the design layers display on the Design Layers tab of the Organization dialog box, where various properties can be set and edited.

To edit design layers:

Select the command or click the View bar button.

The Organization dialog box opens.

Select the Design Layers tab.

A list of the current layers in the drawing displays in their stacking order. Depending on which view option is selected at the top of the dialog box, either details or visibilities of the design layers display. Stacking order, drawing area visibility, and active layer can be changed in Details view. The visibility of layers in viewports and in saved views can be changed in Visibilities view.

In the Vectorworks Architect product, Details view includes the stories and story levels for each layer that is associated with a story level.

Layers that are imported from another file with layer import referencing display in italics. Position the cursor over the layer name to display a screen tip with the full layer name and the source file name.

To change other layer properties, select one or more layers and click Edit to open the Edit Design Layers dialog box.

Click to show/hide the parameters.Click to show/hide the parameters.




If one layer is selected, displays the layer’s name, which can be edited


Click to enter additional information about the design layer. The description displays as a screen tip when you position the cursor over the design layer name in the Organization dialog box, Navigation palette, or (on Mac only) the Layers list from the View bar. Descriptions also display in the New Design Layer dialog box, so that you can see descriptions of layers before you import them.


Sets the scale for the selected layer; see Changing the scale of selected design layers

Stacking Order

Changes the 2D stacking order of the layer; see Changing the design layer stacking order


(Architect required)

Associates the layer with a story; select the story from the list, or create a new story for the layer (see Creating and managing stories). Layers that are associated with story levels derive their elevation value from the associated level.

Story Level

(Architect required)

Associates the layer with a story level; select the level from the list of levels for the story selected in Story. The level elevations are displayed in brackets to assist with choosing the correct level. Alternatively, create a new level (see Default story levels).


Sets the height of a layer relative to the ground plane.

For Vectorworks Architect users, the elevation is set relative to the story, if the layer is associated with a story level, and the elevation cannot be changed here.

The elevation relative to the ground plane also displays. For example, the second story of a building might be slightly offset from the story elevation, and also several feet above street level.

When a new layer is added to a drawing, its elevation values are automatically entered based on the previous layer’s elevation and layer wall height values.

Layer Wall Height

Indicates the height of walls (and certain other objects such as columns) created on that layer, when the Top Bound option for those objects is set to Layer Wall Height

Enable Cut Plane at Layer Elevation

(Architect required)

The cut plane is the intersection of an imaginary XY plane and object geometry. This option enables cut plane display for the following items on the layer: auto hybrid objects, walls and curtain walls (including the objects, like windows, that are within the walls), structural members, and wall features. When enabled, set the cut plane elevation.


Controls how the selected layer and other visible layers display; on Windows, the Vectorworks display preference Use GDI+ imaging must be enabled

Transfer Mode

(Windows only)

Controls how the selected layer and other visible layers display; the Vectorworks display preference Use GDI+ imaging must be disabled


Specifies the default layer color for the selected layer.

A selected viewport data visualization (Design Suite required) overrides this option.

Assign Tags

Opens a dialog box to assign tags to this layer for sorting and filtering purposes; see Filtering and tagging classes and layers

Saved Views

Specifies the visibility settings for the selected layer in each saved view; see Visibility columns


Specifies the visibility settings for the selected layer in each viewport; see Visibility columns


(Design Suite required)

Indicates whether the layer is georeferenced. See GIS and georeferencing for details.

Bind to Feature Service

Associates the layer with an online feature service with geographic features and data; see Using a feature service

Advanced Georeferencing

Opens the Advanced Layer Georeferencing dialog box, for custom options when Specifying design layer georeferencing

Concept: Layers overview

Setting the design layer opacity

Setting the design layer transfer mode

Creating Renderworks backgrounds

Setting the design layer color

Setting up the building structure with stories

Wall display with design layer cut plane enabled


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