Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Vectorworks Designer software?

Vectorworks Designer is a smart choice for designers serving many different disciplines and industries. It’s a collection of all the Vectorworks products delivered in a single interface: Vectorworks Architect, Landmark, and Spotlight. If you need the tools and functionality of more than one product, then Vectorworks Designer provides you with the best value. The solution is made for the individual or firm that handles multiple design disciplines and needs the tools to get it all done.


However, if your needs are more specific to one particular design discipline like architecture, landscape, or entertainment, and you don’t need tools from other disciplines, then you may prefer to choose a single Vectorworks Design Series product to suit your needs. To learn about our other products, check out our product pages.


2. What is the advantage of Vectorworks Designer?

Whether you are an architect involved in Building Information Modeling (BIM) and in need of detailed site context, a landscape designer grappling with extensive site design and in need of BIM data, or a lighting designer putting together the greatest concert tour of the year at indoor or outdoor venues with detailed construction data, Vectorworks Designer gives you access to the tools, functionality, and object libraries to cross all disciplinary boundaries for high impact in your designs. Along with intelligent 2D/3D objects and tools, Vectorworks Designer is supported by Parasolid model technology, providing best-in-class, sophisticated modeling tools with the flexibility and power that facilitate freeform modeling when needed. It is also an intelligent modeling and database system, providing tools to create and process native and user-defined data associated with objects. With the flexibility and power of Vectorworks Designer, you can start in a 2D plan or 3D mode and change your view to add and edit data at any time.


3. Can I get high-quality 2D documentation, which is still an important aspect of project design and execution?

Documentation is a snap as the model is fully integrated with live, dynamic views on pages containing presentations of the plans, elevations, sections, and details of the project. As you design and make changes to the model, the results automatically show up on all views. Automatic Drawing Coordination means your drawings are automatically identified and coordinated correctly. Additional 2D annotations and drawings can be included in all views, extending your ability to communicate your designs clearly, effectively, and beautifully. Organization and 2D publishing tools give you many options to arrange and output drawing sets in many styles, sizes and formats.


Vectorworks software is known for its graphical capabilities that support your creative individuality. The software has many tools, such as colored fills, image fills, gradients, tiles, hatches, unlimited colors, variable line weights, and custom line styles, to create the drawings and presentations that set you and your designs apart. This is one of the many reasons why so many great students and professionals choose Vectorworks Designer.


4. Is Vectorworks Designer suitable for large projects and teams?

Award-winning designers and firms from around the world depend on Vectorworks Designer for the design and execution of large-scale projects. The program deftly handles the needs and functions of a large project with the ease of a smaller project.


Project Sharing allows several coworkers to collaborate on the same project, simultaneously, without the need for a dedicated BIM server. In addition, with the help of referencing, office standards can be set up so that everyone can access standard object libraries, graphical resources, and more. With Vectorworks Designer, you can all move ahead together.


5. How can I share data in and out of Vectorworks Designer?

Vectorworks Designer software handles a large variety of image, vector, and model formats. You can import or export drawings in DXF/DWG or DWF format, which will allow you to seamlessly and accurately send files back and forth between our program and other CAD applications. You can also exchange BIM models successfully using our certified IFC 2x3 support, as well as import Point Cloud data – 3D scans of existing environments – to provide context for your models. Plus, you can create presentations and images using PDF, DWF, JPG, TIF, and EPS files. For exchanging 3D data freely with a great number of other modeling applications, Vectorworks Designer supports Parasolid X_T, SAT, IGS, 3DS, STL, SKP, KML, 3DM, STEP, 3DPDF, and OBJ formats. With Renderworks, you can even export CINEMA4D, FBX, and COLLADA models for use in other standalone modeling and rendering applications.


In addition, you can share Vectorworks Designer files with your colleagues, clients, printing services, and anyone who wants to open, view, or print Vectorworks models or documents, using the free Vectorworks Viewer. With the Viewer, you can open files from all Vectorworks products, but the content cannot be changed; all tools except those for printing, navigation, and revision control are locked. Download it free of charge.


Another option is to subscribe to Vectorworks Service Select, where you’ll have access to the Vectorworks Cloud Services desktop client and Vectorworks Nomad mobile application, which is available for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire, to share files and documentation with other computers and mobile devices.


6. Can I create renderings, videos, and animations with Vectorworks Designer?

Renderworks is an add-on rendering application available for purchase. It provides the ability to create videos of orbital, path, and solar animations. You can also create high-quality photorealistic and stylized non-photorealistic rendered models for stunning images and animations. In addition, Renderworks provides a high-fidelity integration with CINEMA 4D by MAXON Computer to create stunning visualizations and complex, multi-object animations.


7. How quickly can I learn Vectorworks Designer?

Vectorworks Designer is known for its intuitive user interface and workflows. Getting you up and running quickly is our goal. Typically, after a two-day training course, you’ll understand the basics of Vectorworks Designer, and you’ll be able to start designing. You can purchase online one-on-one or group training, attend classes at our headquarters in Columbia, MD, or attend classes at locations around the country throughout the year. We also have a number of other self-training options available for purchase, including tutorial workbooks, or for free, including our Getting Started Guides and videos through our YouTube channel, so you can learn at your own pace. For more information, visit our Vectorworks Training page. International customers can learn about training options in their countries by contacting their local distributor at Vectorworks Worldwide.


8. How do I purchase Vectorworks Designer?

Vectorworks Designer is available to design professionals all over the world. It is available in more than 85 countries and has been localized into nine different languages, including German, Norwegian, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Chinese, and Japanese. The English version is available worldwide, alongside localized versions, through our international distributors.

In the United States, you can purchase through our online store, or for more personal attention and help with any questions prior to your purchase, contact our U.S. Sales team at 1-888-646-4223 or via email at Outside the United States, you can find a distributor in your country, or region, by visiting Vectorworks Worldwide or by sending an email to with your inquiry.


9. What’s included in my purchase of Vectorworks Designer?

Your purchase entitles you to free service pack updates for the current version, Getting Started Guides, and technical support. All users also have access to the Vectorworks KnowledgeBase for more technical information about their products, as well as the Vectorworks Community Board for 24-hour peer-to-peer support on a wide range of topics.


At no extra charge, we’ve included with your license architectural, landscape, and entertainment design object libraries with thousands of symbols for generic and manufacturer-specific windows, doors, equipment, designer furniture, fixtures, furnishings, human figures, vehicles, trees, plants, and even some details.

While you are not obligated to upgrade with each new version of the software, you may do so for only a fraction of the original cost of a new license. We encourage our customers to consider purchasing a Vectorworks Service Select membership to further enhance the value of their purchase.


10. What is Vectorworks Service Select?

Vectorworks Service Select is an annual subscription service that provides guaranteed best pricing for upgrades, added access to priority technical support, and additional online learning resources, including an extensive, on-demand learning video library with tips, tricks, and tutorials. You’ll also receive discounts for one-on-one and group training to boost your productivity and expertise. In addition, you’ll have access to download even more high-quality generic and manufacturer-specific product libraries for architectural, landscape, and entertainment design. Last, but not least, you’ll get exclusive access to Vectorworks Cloud Services.


11. What is Vectorworks Cloud Services?

Vectorworks Cloud Services provides users with the ability to publish in multiple formats, as well as store and synchronize project files to a cloud account, allowing multi-point access and sharing. Vectorworks files with sheet layers will have PDFs automatically created when uploaded. With Nomad for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire, you can access the resulting PDFs and mark them up with notes and basic drawing elements, sharing the results with external partners.


12. What can Vectorworks Designer offer to students and schools?

Students have free access to Vectorworks Designer with Renderworks software, which combines all the functionality of Vectorworks Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, and Renderworks into a single application. Many educational institutions throughout the world rely on Vectorworks software in their labs and classrooms as a powerful, flexible, and complete design tool.  

For more information about student and academic programs, please visit our Education webpage. Students may also visit our Student Portal to download the software and incorporate Vectorworks products into their design education journey.


13. What are the system recommendations for Vectorworks Designer?

Windows: 64-bit version of Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10; 4 GB minimum, 8 GB or greater recommended, 8 to 16 GB RAM for larger models and complex renderings; 64-bit Intel Core i5 (or AMD equivalent) or better processor; 1440x900 minimum, 1920x1080 or higher recommended monitor resolution; 1 GB minimum, 2 to 4 GB VRAM or greater recommended for best performance on high-resolution monitors; OpenGL v2.1 compatible; a dedicated graphics card is highly recommended.

Mac: Mac OS X 10.9 or later operating system; 4 GB minimum, 8 GB or greater recommended, 8 to 16 GB RAM for larger models and complex renderings; 64-bit Intel Core i5 (or AMD equivalent) or better processor; 1440x900 minimum, 1920x1080 or higher recommended monitor resolution; 1 GB minimum, 2 to 4 GB VRAM or greater recommended for best performance on high-resolution monitors; OpenGL v2.1 compatible; a dedicated graphics card is highly recommended.


For the most current technical information, please visit our Knowledgebase.