Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who uses Vectorworks Spotlight software?

Vectorworks Spotlight is considered the international gold standard for design, modeling, presentation, and documentation software in the entertainment industry. Many successful designers, including lighting design, set design, exhibition design, event planning, and audio/visual design – rely on the power and flexibility of Vectorworks Spotlight to create spectacular shows and environments.


The software allows you to handle all phases of a design‚ diagramming and analyzing initial ideas, developing important design elements, creating compelling presentations, and documenting clear, accurate execution plans‚ all while visualizing the design in 2D and 3D. Multidisciplinary designers can also benefit from Vectorworks Designer software, which contains the entire Spotlight package plus a full suite of tools for landscape and architectural design with Vectorworks Landmark and Vectorworks Architect software, respectively. To learn more about Vectorworks Designer, visit our website.


2. What are the advantages of using Vectorworks Spotlight?

There are a number of purpose-built tools in Vectorworks Spotlight that give you a tremendous advantage specifically for the entertainment industry. You’re not limited to light plots or scenic construction plans; you can design anything you need. You’ll see many intelligent 2D/3D objects such as Lights, A/V equipment, Trusses, and Soft Goods and even building elements such as Walls, Windows, Doors, and Stairs.


In Vectorworks Spotlight you can draw the light plots directly. The program shows different layers, so different parts of the drawing can be arranged for light plots, scenic designs, sketches, elevations, details, sections, and schedules.


Plus, Vectorworks Spotlight offers a robust suite of intelligent tools and commands that creates event room layouts. The suite offers you the flexibility to create and customize the room, stage, steps, lectern, video screen, and seating. It works well for all types and configurations of event rooms.


Supported by Parasolid model technology, Vectorworks Spotlight also 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.


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 design. 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 Spotlight 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 designers choose Vectorworks Spotlight.


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

Vectorworks Spotlight 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 Spotlight 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 Spotlight 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 Spotlight?

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.

Spotlight users can transfer Vectorworks designs to ESP Vision, a long-time Vectorworks Spotlight partner, for pre-visualization to see how lights will work in the specific context. When you’re done, save your pre-cued show and load it to your console to run the event.


6. How quickly can I learn Vectorworks Spotlight?

Vectorworks Spotlight 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 Spotlight, 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.


7. How do I purchase Vectorworks Spotlight?

Vectorworks Spotlight 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 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.


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

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 object libraries with thousands of symbols for generic and manufacturer-specific single source lighting, LED lighting, moving light instruments, gobos, light accessories, audio speakers, human figures, furnishings, designer furniture, scenic elements, 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 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 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 including Yamaha, Altman, ARRI, and Philips Color Kinetics and Vari-Lite, 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 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.


11. What can Vectorworks 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 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.


12. What are the system recommendations for Vectorworks Spotlight?

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.