Why Upgrade to 2013

Thinking of upgrading from Vectorworks 2009, 2010, or 2011? Not sure what is in it for you? Lost track of how far we've evolved?
Since Vectorworks 2009, we've implemented over 430 engineered improvements and new features to make version 2013 the most powerful, flexible, intuitive and smart tools for designers yet. In addition to the "What's New for 2013" information, here's a list of some of the most important developments from versions 2010, 2011, and 2012 you are missing, that will greatly improve the performance of Vectorworks software for you, and boost your overall productivity in using it:

Custom Line Styles
Dashed lines and custom line types are now resources that can be easily created and shared. The new feature enables you to base line types on Vectorworks objects to create a repeating pattern. Since line types are resources, you can easily edit them, share them, and set teamwork standards.
Images in Worksheet Cells
Easily add images from any type of Vectorworks drawing object to the cells in a Vectorworks worksheet. The image can be either a thumbnail of the object or a sample of the object's 2D attributes. There are preferences for customizing the image display, including the size, view, render mode, and margin. With this new capability, you can easily incorporate door and window elevations, rendered isometric views of any symbol, legends for plant lists, hatches, fill patterns, wall or slab types, and more.
2D X-Ray Mode
No more hide and seek! Just press the "B" key while you're using the selection tool and you can easily see and select objects that are hidden behind filled objects.
New Hatch from Customized Hatch
Save your newly customized tiles and hatches as standard tiles and hatches so you can easily reuse them.
Perfect Preview Text and Text Styles

We're taking the guesswork out of your work. With perfect text preview, text appears the same when editing as it does on the drawing, saving you time and effort. Rotated text can be edited in place, or un-rotated if needed.

Use text styles to quickly and easily apply and maintain a consistent look to all text throughout a file, including text in sheet borders, dimensions, and callouts. Text styles are resources that can be shared among files to facilitate compliance with office standards.

Check out these additional options:

  • Use a tight fill for optimal text background fill effects
  • Check spelling from the context menu during text editing
  • Rotate text with the Selection tool
  • Left and right justify your text at the same time
  • Make units look more accurate with sub- and superscript options
New Scalable Symbols
Now you can adjust the scale of a symbol right from the Object Info palette, without having to create a new symbol for each size that you need. That's not all-symbols can now be page-based or world-based when created, so if you have an annotation symbol, it will always display at the size you want.
New Tile Fills for 2D Objects
This creative new fill type will amaze you! Enjoy creating beautiful tiled patterns on planar objects.
New Creation and Editing modes and Tools

This new Line tool mode adds the option to draw a line starting from its center.

New Even Divide command divides lines, arcs, circles, and rectangles into even subdivisions.

New Create Dividing Lines quickly create lines or loci that evenly divide the space between two existing lines.

The new Scaled Line Creation option for the Line tool scales a line by a specific value as it's being drawn.

New Triangle Tool
Add the new Triangle tool to your tool set to quickly create triangles by a variety of methods.
Improved Move by Points Tool
When moving objects by a specified offset distance from the reference point, you can now choose whether you'd prefer to click on the object you want to move first and then the reference point, or vice versa. It's up to you.
New Rectangle, Arc, and Circle Modes
Drawing precise rectangles just got easier with new rectangle by Center/Corner and Side/Opposite Corner modes. Drawing circles just got easier too. With new Circle by Point and Center and Circle by Tangent and Center modes, you'll create the most precise circles. Also, check out the new Arc by Circumference mode of the Arc tool.
Connect/Combine Tool Support for Multiple Objects
We introduced a new mode that lets you extend multiple objects to a single boundary object in just one click.
Surface Array
The surface array object brings tremendous 3D modeling power to your fingertips. With this new command, you can easily duplicate 2D and 3D geometry onto planar or NURBS-based surfaces, giving you the power to easily model curtain walls, complex roof systems, stadium-like structures, or any other array model you can imagine.
Clip Cube
The clip cube provides additional visibility control over large, complex models, allowing you to work on isolated parts within the interactive boundaries of the clip cube.
Automatic Working Plane & Improved Push/Pull

Significantly improve your modeling efficiency by using modes in modeling tools to automatically infer working planes as you move your cursor around the model. Simply select a tool and click to create objects on any 3D surface.

In addition, you can instantly push or pull profile geometry without additional steps. It's a great time saver.

With this easy-to-use tool, you no longer need to know coordinates or a time zone to place a Heliodon object with a directional light when it contains attached data like the region and city. You can create QuickTime solar animations and create "view from sun" animations too.
Optimized 3D Dimensions
It's easy to dimension 3D features by sensing the 3D working planes with the mouse. Simply click on 3D features with your constrained, angular, or radial dimension tools and dimension away.
Extract Planar Objects
Now the Extract tool can create instant planar objects from a 3D surface in the Extract Surface mode, so you can simulate the appearance of a hatched 3D object.
Improved 3D Environment
The 3D environment is much more intuitive in the Vectorworks 2011 software. Working in 3D is similar to the ease of 2D, for a truly unified and simplified experience. You can draft any shape, on any plane, in any view, using the tools you already know how to use.
Push/Pull & Face Selection
The tool's name tells you how it works-just push and pull. The Push/Pull tool can edit solids faces and planar objects just like it would in the real world, so you get dynamically interactive feedback and instant results as you work.
New Unified 2D/3D Environment
Building upon the Parasolid modeling foundation we laid in 2009, Vectorworks 2010 has a new unified view that makes it an ideal 3D modeling environment. When you're working in unified view, it allows you to select and modify objects on any layer.
Improved 3D Snapping
Now more than ever, Vectorworks users are investigating the potential of 3D. As a result, you'll notice improvements in the overall usability and reliability of 3D snapping. With the 3D cursor and new working plane graphics, you can reliably acquire your snaps, so it's easier to select, modify, and align your objects in 3D.
New Planar Graphics
2D objects can occupy the screen plane as they do now, or they can become planar objects, which exist in 3D space and maintain their relationship to the 3D model.
A great addition to the Vectorworks program is a new hyperlink feature. With Vectorworks 2013, you can create hyperlinks with associated thumbnails or symbols to launch websites containing product manufacturer data, open other Vectorworks documents, open a folder, or display saved views, sheet layers, open file resources such as image files, PDFs, movie files, and more. Plus, hyperlinks are preserved when exporting to PDF.
Collapsible Classes
You can now choose to display classes inside the Organization dialog box and Navigation palette in hierarchical form. You'll be able to hide groups of classes you don't need to see.
Sheet Layer Ordering
A new stacking order column has been added to the Organization dialog box and Navigation palette, so you can easily change sheet layer stacking order by drag and drop.
Workspace Changes for 2012
As 2D and 3D become even more integrated, we've consolidated tools so the reshape, symbol insertion, NURBS circle and arc tools, extruded rectangle tool, extruded polygon tool, and cylinder tool all do double duty as both 2D and 3D.
Modify by Record Value
You've received a very powerful set of options for making modifications to selected objects or an entire drawing based on record values. With this command you can automatically modify the attributes of objects, resize objects, and even create extrudes for objects sharing a specific record value.
Hidden Line Intersection Edges
A new option in Hidden Line rendering modes gives you the flexibility to have Vectorworks calculate and draw the lines between intersecting geometry.
Rename Referenced Resources
We've made it easy to rename most types of referenced resources, without having to find and open the associated files.
New Select Connected Objects Command
Here's a handy command that will save you a bunch of time. Select one or more objects and all other objects that are connected end-to-end are also automatically selected. I This is especially useful for imported DWG survey drawings.
Number-Aware String Sorting
Your alphanumeric lists sort correctly, whether they contain a 1 or 01!
New Dimensional Constraint Manager (DCM)
Make life easier with more reliable parametric constraints. The new and robust Dimensional Constraint Manager provides bi-directional associativity, so you can interactively make edits to either objects or their constraints and have the changes automatically reflected.
Interactive Dimension Editing
Great new feature alert: now you can directly edit object geometry by changing its dimension value! Just edit the dimension value and when you press Enter, both the dimension and the associated object automatically update.
New Select Similar Tool
Super time-saver alert! The new Select Similar tool enables you to select the objects you need with just one click, regardless of class or layer. You can select all similar objects based on any combination of 27 criteria, define saved settings, and save, load, or delete your selection settings-easier done than said.
In-Place Reference Editing
Here's a big time-saver: now you can modify referenced resources in place and in context with the right-click edit option, and even save the changes directly to the referenced file. Use this option for referenced gradients, hatch definitions, record definitions, render backgrounds, symbol definitions, textures, and, for Design Series users, sketch styles and wall styles. This feature will also allow you to modify referenced symbols in context.
New gbXML Support
With direct support for gbXML, you can now easily export required information to communicate with a wide variety of energy modeling and analysis applications.
New Rhino Import/Export Support
Effortlessly work with Vectorworks and Rhinoceros with the addition of import and export support for Rhinoceros 3DM files.
New DWF Import and Export Support
With Vectorworks 2013, you can now import and export the Autodesk DWF file format.
New DXF/DWG Import and Export Capabiltiies
You asked and we listened. With Vectorworks 2013, we've added several improvements and capabilities to the DXF/DWG import and export process that will dramatically improve the interoperability process. Now you can export Vectorworks 3D objects as 2D flattened graphics in the DWG model space. A new command lets you do a batch export for DWG/DXF from multiple files at the same time. A new option allows you to make 2D and 3D conversion resolution adjustments during DWG/DXF imports. A new option lets you choose true (RGB) or indexed colors on DWG/DXF exports. A new DWG/DXF import feature improves the speed of your imports by alerting you when complex hatches with multiple boundaries are found. This alert gives you the option to skip importing the hatch, convert hatches to lines, or proceed with the import.
Increased DXF/DWG Support
Discover the advantages of efficient collaboration. You'll have better support for image fill export and import, transparencies, and gradient types, plus a new ability to save user defined settings for DXF/DWG export. You can pick and choose the objects you want to export to DXF/DWG- even hatches. You can interface seamlessly with AutoCAD 2012 files and even import clipped AutoCAD blocks as cropped Design layer viewports or as symbols without cropping. We've also made it simpler to save your defined mappings of DXF/ DWG colors to Vectorworks line weights.
DWG/DXF Support Improvements
Imported file sizes have been substantially reduced for DXF/DWG files with significant numbers of 2D polylines with line or arc segments, 3D polygons, 3D circles, and

hatched objects with multiple boundaries and islands.

Imported DXF/DWG hatches of different scales and angles import as a single Vectorworks hatch definition. Imported hatches with different colors import as different Vectorworks hatches.

So that planar objects display properly when exported, design layer objects are exported in Top view and the DXF/DWG view is changed to match the view in the original Vectorworks file. Planar objects now display on the appropriate plane, not as if they are on the screen plane.

Define Design Layer viewports as either separate DWG external referenced files or as entirely bound into the current master DXF/DWG file.

Import or export arc length dimensions with full support.

Import improvements

Improved DXF/DWG reference import support: xRefs are now imported as referenced design layer viewports (Design Series products) or layer links (Fundamentals).

DXF/DWG import saved settings: We've added a saved settings capability so you can recall saved sets of import options.

Import support for AutoCAD® scaled blocks: AutoCAD scaled blocks are now imported as Vectorworks symbols rather than groups.

Support for 128 dash styles: Vectorworks 2010 can hold up to 128 dash styles, so all dash styles will import, and your existing Vectorworks dash styles will not be overwritten.

Import 2D or 3D view of ADT objects: When you import files containing ADT objects, you can select whether you want the 2D or 3D view of the imported architectural objects.

AutoCAD table import support: Formatted tables are imported as lines and text and maintain their proper attributes-line style, color, line thickness, and size.

New custom dimension standards: When DWG dimensions are imported, custom dimension standards corresponding to the AutoCAD file dimension styles are automatically created and applied.

SketchUp 7 import support: SketchUp 7 files can be imported in Vectorworks 2010

Export Improvements

DXF/DWG batch export of saved views: Easily batch export any number of, or all saved views to separate DXF or DWG files.

DXF/DWG anonymous block export support: A new export option allows groups to be exported as anonymous blocks, and re-imported into Vectorworks as groups.

DXF/DWG export of sheet layers as 2D graphics: When sheet layers are exported, a new option allows viewports, and saved views with 2D and 3D Vectorworks graphics, to be exported as 2D "flat" graphics in AutoCAD model space.

Improved IFC Export: The architectural symbol content in Vectorworks Architect has been pre-categorized with IFC data, making your IFC exports easy.

Auto Hybrid Object
The new Auto Hybrid command provides an easy, yet powerful way to turn arbitrary 3D geometry into a hybrid BIM object with a custom 2D plan appearance. Its controls give you the flexibility to determine specific aspects of the plan appearance to meet the needs of your documentation while maintaining the powerful and intuitive 3D geometry editing capabilities of Vectorworks software.
Create Detail Viewport
The new Create Detail Viewport command provides an extremely efficient way to automatically create cropped viewports, allowing for better navigation between detailed views and the model. This improvement gives you detailed views of plans, elevations, and sections with markers that automatically reference and coordinate to your viewports' drawing and sheet numbers.
Enhanced IFC Usability
IFC data can now be attached to Vectorworks symbols, enabling you to automatically define IFC data for all existing instances of symbols in your model. Plus, you can now see a short description of assigned IFC data, and run the IFC Data command from the Object Info palette. A new IFC option to export solids operations as BREPs has been added to the Export IFC Project command. In addition, the layout and controls in the IFC Export dialog box have been improved to meet the requirements of the new IFC2x3 Certification 2.0 process. Additional IFC export options increase the flexibility of your Vectorworks software to communicate with many other IFC-compatible products.
Now it's even easier to make changes that move with your design. You can express the elevation of design layers relative to a story elevation. As you edit the story elevation, all design layers with that story adjust their elevation by the same amount.
Extensive Door and Window Improvements

Use new options to create unequal bi-part leaves and several bi-part and double acting door configurations. Define a doors threshold to extend into and even beyond the doorjamb. Even define door muntin depths for glass leaves, transoms, and sidelights.

Further define and display your doors and windows with options for delineating the opening using leaf size, unit size, sash opening, and rough opening measurements. It's easier to class the components in doors and windows by specifying your own classing standards for components like sills, slabs, swings, lintels, and overhead door paths.

Now you can also choose configurations for transom muntins. You can exert greater control over the geometry and insertion of windows. Specifically, you can now offset glass in sashes and offset sashes within jambs of a window object.

Notes Manager Improvements
Enjoy increased flexibility when creating and placing notes. You can make multiple selections, rotate the callouts, and specify absolute or relative path connections to the active database.
New Slab Tool
Create BIM-compliant slabs that interact with bounding walls to make architecturally correct wall-floor intersections in both 3D and cross-section. And more.
Improved Space Object
Get the power and flexibility to model spaces that are truly intelligent. Add a large array of BIM/IFC-compatible and GSA-specific details. Create the spaces with a single click according to the wall boundaries, or use familiar drawing tools. And more.
New 3D Wall Components
Enjoy better wall modeling with more realistic section views and textured wall components. Wall components can be offset from the wall itself, and of varying heights for detailed wall views
Connect Roof Faces
Building complicated irregular roof faces just got a whole lot easier. With version 2011, you can use the Connect/Combine tool to trim or extend a roof face to another roof face
New Stair Object
Introducing a fantastic new stair object with improved performance and reliability in both 2D and 3D views! The new stair options let you tailor the settings to your specific needs, and then transfer the parameters from one stair to another with a single click.
Wall Sculpting
Our new wall sculpting capabilities allow you to add wall features like projections and recesses to walls while maintaining the wall intelligence and behavior. Now you can model those older or unusual walls!
Corner Window
You can easily place corner windows in 2D or 3D.
Improved Plant Object
Individual plants within plant groups can be randomly scaled and rotated for a more realistic look. Plants in curved rows can now be positioned tangentially, which is particularly effective for hedges. 2D plant shadows can be optionally varied depending on the plant height. Additionally, variations of plant settings can exist for the same definition, reducing extra work.
Site Model Improvements
A series of beneficial, enhancements have been made to improve the functionality of site models. 3D locus objects can now be created from an imported survey file, resulting in nimble files without stake object data for situations where the data is not needed. A new Create Pad from Grade Limits command automatically creates a balanced pad modifier from selected grade limits, so the amount of cut is equal to the amount of fill.
With our new GIS capabilities, you can store georeferenced information on each Vectorworks design layer, transform geometry to a different map projection or georeferenced coordinate system, and enjoy improved Shapefile import and export functions.
Site Modeling Enhancements

New visual feedback notifies you when the site model is out of date. We've also added alert dialogs to let you know if you're losing contours when elevation ranges are not updated.

Among other smart enhancements, you'll see the following new parameters and new values for existing parameters in the Stake mark offset and marker rotation fields: "None" and "Filled Triangle marker styles, and XY and XYZ Coordinate Point options.

Customize the shape and elevation of the underlying pad of the site modifier. Additionally, the site modifier sides can be reshaped around retaining walls.

Hardscape Improvements
Thanks to your detailed feedback on hardscapes, we have made some significant changes. Look for better control over hardscape creation, a new convert option between boundary and path configurations, and the ability to specify different pattern sizes for Grid and Running pavers.
New Retaining Wall Site Modifier
This new parametric object not only allows you the flexibility to sculpt the terrain around the wall, but also to easily produce materials take-offs.
New Existing Tree Tool
Document existing site trees for evaluation before construction work or landscaping, or use it for management and reporting purposes.
New Grade Tool
This innovative new tool creates a parametric grade object to annotate terrain slopes on site plan documents. Grade objects can be networked together to show slope characteristics across a surface.
New Create Stepped Wall Command
Here's a simpler method for creating a stepped wall that contains wall peaks at even intervals-one with a constant rise at each interval, or one with a variable rise conforming to the underlying terrain.
New and Improved Parking Tools
Try the new parking tools that make it easy to create intelligent and reportable parking spaces. The Parking Along Path tool creates parking spaces along curved paths. The Parking Area tool fills an area with parking spaces and adjusts the spaces for tree islands and handicap spaces.
New Hardscape Capabilities
Now it's even easier to create custom patios, walkways, driveways, and other landscape elements with the improved Hardscape tool. We've made improvements in the tag, in turning off border segments, in 3D texturing of hardscape borders, in placing openings with borders, and in the way that hardscapes modify the site model.
Re-engineered Site Model
We went under the hood and gave the Site Model an upgrade that will give you a more reliable experience. Additionally, you'll find it significantly easier to crop the site model with a convenient command.
Improved Landscape Area Object
Two for the price of one. Now you can create a concave cloud edged landscape area, and get an improved 3D visualization of the land area you've created.
Lighting Devices Improvements
The lighting device object has been completely re-engineered to offer you great new capabilities and speed for new reset and regeneration times that are 10 times faster than in the 2012 version. Plus can now fully customize the lighting device parameter display with a new dialog box that allows you to add custom fields and re-order and re-name existing parameters. You can also add unlimited label legend labels to lighting devices.
New Speaker Objects
New speaker and speaker array objects, originally from Landru Design, let you effortlessly create speaker system layout drawings and perform basic audio coverage analyses.
Lighting Device Colors
You can now automatically assign colors to your lighting devices though preferences or by class. You can also assign parts of the lighting device to different classes, giving you complete control over the look of your light plot.
Focus Instruments at Next Click
Focusing instruments is now even more intuitive. Simply right click on an instrument or selected instruments and choose the new command to focus them with your very next click.
LED Video Screen
A new LED Video Screen Object, originally from Landru Design, gives you the added ability to model and represent low-resolution LED screens in a series of configurations and formats. Specify the height and width of module shape, format for the array, and the base structure for creating the object.
Lighting Device Color Names
To save you time, gel colors assigned to a lighting device are now automatically added as a named Vectorworks color in the document. Use any of the unlimited color choices in the named color palettes.
Soft Goods Object
The new Soft Goods Object enables you to easily create curtain, border, and pipe-and-drape models in both straight and curved configurations.
Better Focus Point Support for Lighting Instruments
Now you can focus light exactly where you need it most. Lighting instruments and everything associated with them-their light source, accessories, associated 3D geometry, and beam-now always point toward your desired focus point, both when there are actual focus point objects or virtual representations that are displayed in design layer viewports.
Lightwright Data Exchange Improvements
The automatic data exchange with Lightwright can now place new lights created in Lightwright between existing lights on a lighting position as well as allow Lightwright to set the selection state of lighting devices when updating
New Event Planning Suite
Introducing a new event planning suite! This complete set of automated tools and menu commands makes it a breeze to create rooms for events ranging from banquets and corporate presentations to large-scale shows and exhibits and everything in between. Now you can easily create the room, stage, steps, lectern, video screens, and seating. Plus, you can create standard views to show your client, and generate reports for the total number of tables and chairs in the room. We've made event planning a lot less painful.
New Seating Layout Capabilities
Now you can offset alternate rows of seating and calculate row and seat spacing based on the chosen symbol. Plus, when you're creating worksheets of seating layouts with tables, the command will show and count nested symbols like tables and chairs separately.
New Video Screen Objects
Use these first-class tools to add and visualize television screens, video projectors, video screens, and edge-blended projection screens. Each produces intelligent objects that can display images in rendered views (Renderworks required), indicate the optimum viewing area, and display custom values and stand configurations. Adding video screen and projector elements to your design just got a whole lot easier.
Non-blocking Renderworks Rendering
Perhaps one of the most significant time-savers is the addition of non-blocking rendering. Now you are free to continue working in your project while a scene is rendering sheet layer viewports or images from the Render Bitmap tool.
Physical Sun and Sky
The physical sun and sky backgrounds provide more natural lighting that automatically responds to a site's location, as well as the date and time of day.
Improved CINEMA 4D Export
The Export to CINEMA 4D and Send to CINEMA 4D commands are now available to our Fundamentals customers in addition to our Renderworks users. Improvements when exporting from Vectorworks and Renderworks to CINEMA 4D ensure that the structure and naming of geometry, materials, and textures is consistent with the data that comes from the Vectorworks file, with the assistance of an intelligent Merge Changes dialog box in CINEMA 4D. In addition, the resulting .C4D file size has been reduced by up to 50%.
Renderworks Styles
Make a statement with your own signature rendering style. You can create custom configurations of lighting, backgrounds, and render settings as re-usable and sharable resources. When you're ready to render, just drag and drop your custom resource and all your settings will be applied.
Realistic OpenGL Shadows
Better accuracy, better quality- need we say more?
New Metallic Shaders
You'll be stunned by the clearer definition and true-to-life appearance of shiny, brushed, or turned metal.
Brick Shader Dimensions
Create your perfect brick shader by editing width, height, and gap parameters based on real world coordinate values.
Renderworks with CINEMA 4D Engine
Introducing the award-winning CINEMA 4D, the exciting and powerful new rendering engine in the Renderworks 2011 version. Together, they provide dramatic speed and quality gains, with a robust integrated rendering option that's right inside your Vectorworks application. You'll be blown away by simpler, more intelligent controls, and render speeds that are five to seven times faster for indirect lighting rendering!
Linking Camera and Viewports
We've given you what you asked for! Now, when you link a camera to a viewport, the viewport's view derives from the camera's view .And, the camera view can be edited from the viewport.
Attribute Mapping Tool Improvements
Now you can edit texture mapping directly in the drawing window, and if the selected part or object has an unsupported mapping type, you're automatically assisted with switching to a supported type.
Since you can now apply multiple decal textures over another texture, it's simple to create labeling, signage, and layered material effects.
Improved Texture Mapping Controls
You'll enjoy the improved 2D and 3D texture mapping. We've merged intuitive mapping controls into a single tool. Nice and simple.
Blur Reflectivity Shaders
A blur factor will be added to several reflectivity shaders, namely simple glass, accurate glass, mirror, and the metal shaders. The visual effects of these shaders cannot be accomplished through any other means in the existing product and will match much closer to the common finishes visible in the real world.