Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Vectorworks Fundamentals?

Vectorworks® Fundamentals is a computer-aided design (CAD) solution with an intuitive interface that is perfect for general 2D drafting and 3D modeling. It’s also the core application for other Vectorworks products.
If your needs are more specific to one particular design discipline like architecture, landscape, or lighting, 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 as an alternative to Fundamentals. To learn about our other products, check out our product pages.

If you need tools from two or more of our Design Series products, then Vectorworks Designer software is a smart choice. It’s a collection of all the Vectorworks products: Vectorworks Architect, Landmark, and Spotlight. Vectorworks Designer is made for the person or firm that handles multiple design disciplines and needs the tools to get it all done. To find out more, see our Designer page.

2. Is Vectorworks Fundamentals BIM (Building information Modeling)?

Supported by Parasolid® model technology, Vectorworks Fundamentals provides 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. When coupled with the additional functionality of Vectorworks Architect software, it is an internationally recognized BIM authoring tool, giving architects the tools to create intelligent 3D building models with important data like semantics, physical attributes, quantities, and relationships. For more information, check out the Vectorworks Architect product page and ourBIM in Practice page.

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 design. As you design and make changes to the model, the results automatically show up on all views. Additional 2D annotations and drawings can be included in all views, extending your ability to communicate your designs clearly, effectively, and beautifully. 

Vectorworks software is well-known for its graphics capabilities that support your creative individuality. We have many graphic 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 designers choose Vectorworks.

4. How can I share data in and out of Vectorworks Fundamentals?

Vectorworks Fundamentals handles a large variety of image, vector, and model formats. You can import or export your drawings in DXF/DWG or DWF format, which will allow you to seamlessly and accurately send files back and forth between Vectorworks and other CAD applications. Plus, you can create drawings, presentations, and images using DWF, JPG, TIF, and EPS files. For exchanging 3D data freely with a great number of other modeling applications, Vectorworks software supports Parasolid X_T, SAT, IGES, STL, and 3DM. With Renderworks®, you can even export FBX® and COLLADA models for use in other standalone modeling and rendering applications.

In addition, you can share Vectorworks Fundamentals 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. 

5. Can I create renderings, videos, and animations with Vectorworks Fundamentals?

Vectorworks Fundamentals with Renderworks software 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.

6. How quickly can I learn Vectorworks Fundamentals?

Vectorworks software 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 Fundamentals, and you’ll be able to start designing. We also have a number of self-training options available for purchase, including tutorial workbooks, so you can learn at your own pace. You can also purchase online one-on-one or group training, attend classes at our headquarters in Columbia, MD, or attend classes given at locations around the country throughout the year. For more information, visit our Vectorworks Classroom Training page.

7. How do I purchase Vectorworks Fundamentals?

Vectorworks Fundamentals 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, 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 U.S., you can find a distributor in your country, or region, by visiting Vectorworks Worldwide or by sending an email to with your inquiry.

8. What’s included in my purchase of Vectorworks Fundamentals?

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

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 Selectmembership to further enhance the value of their purchase.

9. What is Vectorworks Service Select?

Vectorworks Service Select is an annual subscription service that provides guaranteed best pricing for upgrades, added access to preferred 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 including Scolmore International, B&B Italia, Vitra, and Bradley Fixtures, to name a few. Last, but not least, you’ll get exclusive access to Vectorworks Cloud Services.

10. What is Vectorworks Cloud Services?

Vectorworks Cloud Services provides users with the ability to 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.

11. What can Vectorworks software offer to students and schools?

Students around the world have free access to Vectorworks Designer with Renderworks, which combines all the functionality of Vectorworks Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, and Renderworks into a single application. Many educational institutions throughout the world have already incorporated the solution into their labs and curriculums as a powerful, flexible, and complete design tool. For more information about student and academic initiatives in the U.S. and throughout our international markets, please visit our Education webpage. You can also visit our Student Portal to set up an account, download the software, and start your design education journey with Vectorworks software.

12. What are the system recommendations for Vectorworks Architect?

Windows: Windows XP SP3, Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, or Windows 8 operating system; 2GB minimum, 4GB or greater RAM recommended, 8-16GB for larger models and complex renderings; Pentium 2GHz or better processor; 1024x768 minimum, 1280x800 or greater recommended monitor resolution; 512MB VRAM minimum, 1GB or greater recommended for best performance on high-resolution monitors; and support for OpenGL v2.1 or greater for the best video card performance.

Mac: Mac OS X 10.7.5 operating system; 2GB minimum, 4GB or greater RAM recommended, 8-16GB for larger models and complex renderings; Pentium 2GHz or better processor; 1024x768 minimum, 1280x800 or greater recommended monitor resolution; 512MB VRAM minimum, 1GB or greater recommended for best performance on high-resolution monitors; and support for OpenGL v2.1 or greater for the best video card performance.

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