Design SuiteUsing custom IFC property sets

Property sets are used to assign groups of data fields, or properties, to IFC entities. Several property sets and their values are explicitly predefined and listed in the IFC specification. You can also create custom property sets to exchange data that you have defined. Custom property sets must follow technical encoding conventions. They must have unique names, and they may not use the "Pset_" prefix, which is reserved for sets in the standard IFC schema.

To make collaboration easier, the Vectorworks Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) has functions to create a custom property set either programmatically, or by importing an XML file that defines the property set. For detailed developer-oriented documentation related to the SDK, see

Creating custom property sets

Use a VwPset_ or ePset_ prefix, or use a name that is defined by a specific Model View Definition (MVD) or documented model Exchange Requirement (ER). For example, you might create a Pset named “ePset_MyData.” The property set can contain any number of fields.

To create a custom property set:

Select Tools > Data Manager, and then click Add Data Set to open the Add Data Set dialog box.

Click Manage Custom Property Sets to open the Manage Custom Psets dialog box.

This dialog box has specialized functions to sort, select, and edits its list items; see List box functionality.

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



Custom Psets

Lists the custom property sets currently available in the project

Search box

Enter text to filter the list by name


Specifies whether the property set data can be attached to objects. Click in the column to toggle the setting.

check_mark_icon.png: Enables attachment and data entry

not_icon.png: Disables attachment and data entry


The name of the property set


Opens a dialog box to add a new set


Opens a dialog box to rename the selected set


Deletes the selected set


Lists the fields in the selected property set


Click in the column and drag up or down to change the field’s position in the list; this determines the field order in the Data tab of the Object Info palette 


The name of the property field

Data Type

Select the type of field to display in the Data tab of the Object Info palette.

Boolean: A check box

Integer: Field for entry of whole numbers (uses less memory than a Number field)

Number: Field for entry of general numbers, such as fractions or dimensions

Pop-up: List of options to select from; click Define to enter the options

Text: Field for entry of a string of characters, such as a word or sentence

Simple, Measure, and Derived Measure Values from the IFC specification


Select a unit type for the field


Opens a dialog box to enter a new field


Opens a dialog box to rename the selected field


If the Data Type is Pop-up, opens the Edit Choices dialog box. Enter the options to display, pressing Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac) to separate each item.


Deletes the selected field

Attaching a custom property set

Once the custom Pset has been created, attach the data to an object, group, symbol definition, or symbol instance.

You can create a data mapping to automatically attach a custom Pset when a specific type of object is created; see Using the Data Manager.

To assign the custom IFC data:

Select the object, group, or symbol for assignment of IFC data.

From the Data tab of the Object Info palette, locate the attached IFC data (or click Attach IFC to attach it).

Alternatively, use the IFC Data command to specify the IFC object type as described in Assigning IFC data to objects.

Select the custom Pset from the Data tab and click to give it a check mark (or if in the IFC Data dialog box, place a check mark in the Use column.) A check mark indicates that the Pset is enabled and attached to the object.

To detach the data from the object, remove the check mark from a custom Pset, or select the Pset from the Data tab and click Detach. When prompted, click OK to confirm that you want to delete the Pset from this object.

The bottom portion of the Object Info palette (or pane if in the IFC Data dialog box) displays the properties associated with the custom Pset. Select each property and assign a value to it.

Custom property sets are stored along with data mapping settings in the Data Manager settings file. You can save the mapping scheme and then open and use it in another Vectorworks file if needed.

Viewing and editing IFC data

Using the Data Manager


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