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Vectorworks Architect

4.3
(99)

Vectorworks, Inc. is a global design and BIM software developer serving over 650,000 professionals in the architecture, landscape and entertainment industries. Since 1985, we’ve been committed to helping designers capture inspiration, nurture innovation, communicate effectively and bring their visions to life. With our cross-platform software, designers can build data-rich, visual models without sacrificing the design process, while collaborating efficiently throughout the project life-cycle. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, Vectorworks is a part of the Nemetschek Group. Learn how we empower designers to create experiences that transform the world

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Vectorworks Arch review by Peter E.
Peter E.
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"THE complete BIM package for architects"

What do you like best?

Our office has been using Vectorworks in some incarnation since 1994, and personally since 1992. Since those early releases (and continuing to this day), it has distinguished itself for its ease of use as a 3D modeling program, enabling us to generate sophisticated, integrated, complete visualizations and documentation of our projects. No other software package has been able to offer such capabilities at such an accessible price point. In short, Vectorworks is a spectacular design tool.

What do you dislike?

The primary regret with Vectorworks is its lack of penetration in the US market in architecture. New associates in our practice rarely have experience with the program. However, once using it on our projects they too are evangelized.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Get the trial version - engage with the tutorial, and see how straightforward it is to generate an intelligent data-laden 3D model.

Version 2018 is a major upgrade - the multi-window view is finally here.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Architecture Is Fun utilizes Vectorworks for quick design sketches and modeling, for generating out to 3D printers, and as our BIM software. Having a single program have such range and ease of use, with support and upgrades that keep ahead of competing products has proven a wise investment over the life of our practice. It works equally well on our Mac platform, and on platforms used by colleagues. Invisibly, and with great ease it imports and exports to all of our consultants and collaborators platforms - realizing great efficiency.

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Vectorworks Arch review by User
User
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"Greatest Program I have used"

What do you like best?

It is very easy to transition from cad or revit. The Bim software is excellent and growing. I like to compare vectorworks to a more sophisticated illustrator that has cad/revit built in. I am able to work in a 3d format as well as 2D just like illustrator, just in case I need to urgently create a design with lines and polygons. The best part is how easy it is to export in a PDF/Image or DWG I am able to instantly export each sheet/design in its proper format to share with clients/ collaborators, I highly recommend vectorworks for new users who want to have control over their whole drawing. the hotkeys and commands are very easy to learn but are not required to complete a project.

What do you dislike?

I dislike how you have to pin some of the tools onto you're drawing page. Considering there are hundreds of tools in this program I dont think working on a single screen is as fusible as a duel. I can also say that I am not a fan of the story setting.The one thing I appreciate about other programs compared to vectorworks is how easy they are at working in a vertical position compared to vectoworks

Recommendations to others considering the product

Take advantage of their software training and webinars. its free and its very in depth

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I am solving the problem of designing on the go. I can render, Detail, do a schematic design or a complete bim project all within the project. The dimension tool also allows to collect data very quickly about the project

What Building Design and Building Information Modeling (BIM) solution do you use?

Thanks for letting us know!
Vectorworks Arch review by John C.
John C.
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"3D for the Mac That Works"

What do you like best?

Ease of Use

Short Learning Curve

Excellent Rendering

Excellent DWG translation

Clear and Easy to use interface

Strong 2D tools

Really strong database for object intelligence

What do you dislike?

Unclear instructions as to how viewports work

No advantage of using sheet layers over sheet views

Difficult to do animations

v2017 doesn't perform the Save Image with Image Props on a 2011 iMac

File size of document is very large, although save times are OK

Recommendations to others considering the product

Make sure your Mac is 64-bit for 2015 and later. Your mac should have 16 gb RAM for optimal performance, especially when making complex renderings and animations.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

It's a great tool for designing in 3D and representation in 2D. Once layers and classes are mastered and clearly understood, it then becomes clear as to how to do a fully integrated design solution using this program. One document can contain 2D plans, elevations, and details, and the 3D model in wireframe, which can be rendered in RenderWorks and can be permanently affixed to the document as an imported image. I use this program in the Design Phase, principally.

Vectorworks Arch review by Dov H.
Dov H.
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"Architect long time user "

What do you like best?

Initial set setup, ease of design and 3d presentation

What do you dislike?

Some features do not get better with time, Occasionally it feels as if they get worse

For instance: Stair tool have become more and more difficult to manipulate

Dormer tool- extremely frustrating

Roof tool unrealistic

Floors, Slabs and Stories MUST have Wall Section GRAPHICS , just as in Real Architecture

Need better manipulation of wall layers

Slab creation should have options for controlling components gross area or individual spaces (not separate spaces) Wood be nice to have a floor joist creation and direction within slabs

Wall joints tend to open during work, would be nice to have a 'Wall Lock' feature that will allow insertion of doors/windows without breaking joint. Not easy to create UN-conventional terminus.

Schedules: doors, windows need upgrading for ease of use and graphics.

In general there needs to be better coordination with practicing Architect in the US

Recommendations to others considering the product

It's a good product, but may not be the best in the markey

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

As an Architect I find it easier to show a client a 3D project, quick sketching

Vectorworks Arch review by John M.
John M.
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"Crippling problems ruin otherwise great software"

What do you like best?

The software at an initial level is pretty user friendly, good layers and classes system for drawing on. Rendering has improved a lot in recent years.

What do you dislike?

The software advertises itself as being suitable for BIM workflows, and it frankly isn't. Bugs are prevalent throughout the software, and new implementations are added with each edition year after year which are half finished and never revisited.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Use Revit instead.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Vectorworks is fine for 2D drawing. Now that we have moved into 3D modelling and BIM, Vectorworks simply does not cut it. If you are planning to use Vectorworks for any BIM process, avoid it and go instead for Revit.

Vectorworks Arch review by Kevin L.
Kevin L.
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"Been using VectorWorks since the mid 1990's and prefer VectorWorks over all the others"

What do you like best?

Ease of use has always been the primary reason - it works the way I think! Of course working in model format so I can look at my design in 3D as well as work on production drawings in 2D has been key. Integration of multiple production tools, symbols, worksheets and libraries are a primary plus.

What do you dislike?

An issue I've had with the program has been with upgrade where features are introduced, or changed and they don't work or are "buggy" and require work arounds. Often the fix comes with a paid upgrade or the next version (which has a cost of either an upgrade or paying for the service select membership). Hours may be spent on trying to get the feature to work and then giving up in frustration with the feature just isn't ready for prime time (the feature "Stories" comes to mind!).

As an architect it would be like me telling the client, "oh, the front door doesn't really open, we're hoping it will work properly in the next version. But we find a good work around is to use the back door when you want to come in and out of your house!"

Yeah, that would work really well!

Recommendations to others considering the product

Vectorworks is a full featured program that has allowed me and my firm realize great communication with our clients and the builders we work with to get the best outcome we can in the execution of our designs, to the satisfaction of our clients.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Production and work flow. being able to model / sketch with 3D to help clients see how the design will come together.

Vectorworks Arch review by gary o.
gary o.
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"very frustrating-- full of unacknowledged bugs "

What do you like best?

When it works, it's pretty good.

seems easier to use and more intuitive than auto cad, particularly in WYSIWYG, and organization of layers and classes. Though admittedly, that's just my perception, as I really have very little experience with other programs, except for Sketchup

What do you dislike?

It is FULL of bugs. They claim that all the problems I'm having are unreported by anyone else and may be specific to my setup. I'm on a top of the line Macbook pro from 2015 running yosemite-- not the best, but should be good enough.

A few of the Biggest:

-Actively used files are degrading-- spontaneously losing substantial information

-Doesn't update pallets unless i save, and sometimes not even then

-Doesn't autosave consistently

-Often gets into streaks when an undo takes me back many (10?, 100?) steps and cannot accept a re-do

-Doesn't recognize which of multiple windows are active (e.g. I try to add a layer to the active file, and it adds it instead to a different, open but not active file.

Also, tech support is incredibly available, but incredibly useless for anything other than routine issues

Recommendations to others considering the product

Be prepared for bugs you would have expected in 2002

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Architectural 2d construction documents and 3d modeling

Have produced CD drawings and fairly detailed models for presentation and study

Vectorworks Arch review by Neil B.
Neil B.
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"A great, flexible tool for everything from initial concept to project completion"

What do you like best?

The flexibility that the software allows for my entire design process from start to finish, plus the ability to create looking drawings and renderings all within one application.

What do you dislike?

It's difficult to say because anything I've found in the software that I feel needs addressing, the company addresses. The company clearly cares about and stands behind their application. If anything is needed, it's perhaps more versatile options for window/door configurations.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Download the trial version, review the Getting Started Guides at Vectorworks.net and communicate with over users at the Vectorworks Community Forum.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I no longer need several different applications (with all of their individual costs and learning curves). Vectorworks does everything I need for 3D modelling, 2D drawing creation and visualization.

Vectorworks Arch review by Thomas G.
Thomas G.
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"I use Vectorworks because it combines 2D graphics and 3D modelling in a very intuitive way"

What do you like best?

The best thing about Vectorworks is that it combines both 2D and 3D. It has great tools for drafting, and I especially like the graphic tools in 2D. It's easy for me to create good drawings, because I can control the graphic output in a very intuitive way (much like Adobe).

I don't need Illustrator or Indesign to create presentations. This saves me a lot of time.

What do you dislike?

It tends to crash often, which can be annoying from time to time.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Buy the program if your desire is designing. It´s easy to learn and I enjoy to work with Vectorworks every day.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

It's time saving, easy to learn, easy to use. And it's much cheaper than Revit.

Vectorworks Arch review by Chuck H.
Chuck H.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Vector Works Architectural"

What do you like best?

The 3D Modeling and presentation capability. It is very easy to work a 3D environment.

What do you dislike?

When in 3D views the inability to select objects and get an accurate measurement distance between. Or selecting an object and moving it an X or Y plan and returning to the plan view to find it moved in a direction that you did not intend for it to move. Example in your in an elevation view and you decide to raise the roof 6 inches. You select the roof, select move, input 6 inches in Y direction, return to the plan view to find the roof having moved 20 ft in the X-direction. Now comes the fun of trying to get everything aligned. Been complaining about this problem to Vector Works since version 2014 when the problem first arouse so far it was not fixed w/ 2016. Have not installed 2017 - hopefully it has been fixed but not optimistic that it has.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Architectural and Mechanical design for light commercial and residential structures

Vectorworks Arch review by Keith B.
Keith B.
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"It's great, but I've not given it my full attention yet."

What do you like best?

Vectorworks is native to Mac and offers a much more intuitive graphic approach. It's powerful and capable of doing all that I need. I prefer the interface to other programs, even more as I use it more.

What do you dislike?

It's inconvenient to share files with AutoCAD users. As I'm normally the one hiring consultants it's not me having to adjust to their needs so the pain isn't huge on my part, but can be a bother for them. That has the potential to be an issue with consultants who'd maybe rather not deal with the hassles I bring to them. Yet to be seen.

Recommendations to others considering the product

You can't do it half way, you have to commit. Once you do, it comes pretty easy.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I'm looking for a cost effective software that delivers comprehensive capability in the BIM market. This does it in spades as it's considerably less expensive and much better supported by the company. Other online resources are more limited because VW does not hold such a strangle hold on the market as Revit, for instance, but we're managing.

Vectorworks Arch review by Niel D.
Niel D.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"A CAD Program for Architects"

What do you like best?

Vectorworks was designed from the beginning to be used by architects and designers for architectural projects. It is not loaded down with features that a designer will not need or use. It is also very user friendly. I found it much more intuitive to learn than my previous CAD program.

Vectorworks Service Select is great. 95% of the time a phone call is answered immediately and I get an answer to my question.

Being able to carry all of my custom setting over into a new version is one of the best improvements in years.

What do you dislike?

Not much. There are functional characteristics that I don't like but they are minor in light of how well the software works.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Take the plunge.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I'm very busy and working to keep up with the requirements of my clients. The ease of incorporating corrections and changes is great.

Vectorworks Arch review by RamĂłn P.
RamĂłn P.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"More productive than you ever imagined"

What do you like best?

What I like best is being able to be a lot more productive than anyone I know that uses 2D and especially folks still using AutoCAD. I can't imagine doing tons of work on models in SketchUp only to have to butcher them to insert a bunch of lines into AutoCAD or similar 2D applications. And then when changes to the wok happen (and a LOT of them ALWAYS happen) you have to go back and redo the model AND the CAD drawings separately??? NO THANKS...

Anyone still on the fence thinking about wether to take the plunge I would tell that in a couple of days (or nights if you are concerned with office downtime) you'll be on par with what you were doing in 2D CAD. From there on it's money in the bank in terms of time and effort saved. The Help menu and the free online tutorials are a formidable resources for becoming progressively more productive and efficient. There is even a free demo.

What do you dislike?

I'd say that new features are coming out faster than one can incorporate into the drawing routine. But, OTOH, when you need to do a very special or even weird object or effect it turns out that the capabilities are there and you just had to check a free online tutorial and in a few minutes go back to producing.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Download the demo and take the free online tutorials on the Vectorworks website. In half a day if not less you'll realize that the potential for you being more efficient and productive is extraordinary.

When I first started to watch some tutorial videos 11 years ago I said to myself, "Damn... I can do that!!!"

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Well, construction drawings of course. But also great presentation drawings using the same info that eventually becomes the CDs. No wasted time there.

Vectorworks Arch review by Richard G.
Richard G.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Pretty good"

What do you like best?

Best CAD program for Mac. Reasonably user friendly. Pretty good tech support.

What do you dislike?

There are a few bugs which have been giving us ongoing difficulties. Tech support has been somewhat helpful, but a few times the only answer was to upgrade, which we can't afford. Our issues were related to basic functions of the program so there's no excuse for bugs not being fixed.

3d is overly complicated to use for early design studies.

Upgrades are way too expensive!!! Upgrades in the past couple of years have been very incremental and have not added much value or additional usability to the program from our perspective. There's no justification for these upgrades costing the same as purchasing the program new.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We use the software to make drawings. It works pretty well for that. It would be great to use it as a 3d design tool, but it is too time consuming to input all the necessary data.

Vectorworks Arch review by Steve E.
Steve E.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Software switch with confidence and ease"

What do you like best?

I love the potential! I moved from a straight-up 2D cad program that was beloved for the entirety of my office's history - 17 years! But when it was clear that my office was behind the curve a little and clearly duplicating work, we needed to make the move. There is no doubt that the instant I started learning the ins and outs I knew we had made the right choice. Vectorworks is quite a well of tools, information and possibilities, but I've never felt it daunting at all. The switch was EASY! Being able to continue 2d drafting was virtually a non-issue. No time lost. Like many products, I know there are other ways to do what this does, but I think the look, feel and just the vibe of the interface is best in class. I've been consistently surprised and confident at the ease (and even fun!) to "getting to the next level" with productivity. Whether it be schedules, references and now 3D integration to our workflow, Vectorworks is an easy adventure in deep water. To stick with the analogy, the water is clear and also pretty warm - makes for nice diving!

What do you dislike?

The only thing that I would say could be considered a challenge is just the fact that I waited so long to add Vectorworks to my toolbox. At my office, we have been pretty entrenched in our ways and the inertia is real. Just getting going is hardest part. I wish there were more on-board tutorials or manuals - like a "Start Here Guide " - that came with the package. I initially tried to learn Vectorworks while on vacation and since the reception was spotty for internet, it got fairly frustrating to view video tutorials and the real learning had to wait. (That said, once I was back in civilization, it was a breeze.)

Recommendations to others considering the product

Buy the books, do the tutorials, you cannot be disappointed.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We have been jumping back and forth from our 3D modeling software and 2D cad work for years, but now the 3D capabilities of Vectorworks have collapsed the coordination time to zero. This saves a TON of time and frustration and keeps us designing a lot more ( and cleaning up translations to virtually zero). Schedules are also becoming a very low effort game as well. We're having more fun drawing again and that is worth a lot!

Vectorworks Arch review by Rob N.
Rob N.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Lets me work how I wish to work"

What do you like best?

Vectorworks allows me to work the way I wish to work. Provides me with all the tools I need and some I didn't know I need. Its a very powerful all in one solution to handle the smallest of projects to large team collaboration projects.

What do you dislike?

I honestly cannot say I dislike anything. Any issues I have had have been able to be addressed to the Vectorworks team. They would acknowledge my concerns and either provide a solution or have updated me on progress of things being fixed. Their active communication on their forum lets clients know they are indeed listening.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Watch the tutorials provided by Vectorworks. Becoming an advanced user is doable through bite sized pieces of implementation.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Allowed me to show clients how their projects will look in a way they can understand. Allows me to coordinate with consultant team to show where conflicts may have occurred.

Vectorworks Arch review by Craig S.
Craig S.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Very simple program to teach employees."

What do you like best?

This software is for architects. It was developed by architects and is used by architects. Other CAD systems were hard to learn, or it took much longer to teach and apply. Another positive aspect is the fact that you can model (go 3d) very easily. This is large in both design and production.

What do you dislike?

Would like to see more advanced, or updated rendering interface software that could be utilized in conjunction with Vectorworks.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Just try it. It's very addictive and very simple in application. Recommend you start on a smaller project, but utilize ALL aspects of the system. It is also easy to "form" and apply personal touches with relevant applications. Whats really cool, it how you can go back and forth on a design solution once in 3d to evaluate. That will sell you....

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Cut-to-the-chase problem solving. When you utilize the full capacity of the software, it takes much less time to develop a design solution then expected. Plus you can apply alternatives in as short a period of time, as well.

Vectorworks Arch review by User in Design
User in Design
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Verified Current User
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"Usable, but Needs to Evolve"

What do you like best?

I purchase Vectorworks many years ago, when options for professional drafting on Macintosh were limited. There are more options today, including AutoCAD, but Vectorworks is still quite capable. 2D drafting tools are good. Page layout, formatting, a composition tools are also good, but not entirely intuitive. 3D modeling tools are basic, but functional. Renderworks and product good results, if your expectations are simple.

What do you dislike?

The user interface is outdated and convoluted. The learning curve is steep and can be frustrating. BIM capabilities are limited and inflexible. Tools seems half-baked and are often awkward to use quickly and efficiently. User are forced to adapt to oddities of the software, rather than the other way around. BIM capabilities are very limited, and setting up a model in a clear, logical way is extremely difficult.

Recommendations to others considering the product

I would recommend Vectorworks, but with caveats. 2D drafting tools are quite good. 3D tools are emerging. Rending is fairly simple, but inflexible. BIM capabilities are very limited.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Vectorworks is great at combining 2D, 3D, and page layout and it's a great option for Macintosh-based offices.

Vectorworks Arch review by Judith R.
Judith R.
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"Vectorworks just keeps getting better and better!"

What do you like best?

BIM capabilities combined with almost infinite flexibility in the look of output. Whenever I need a specific technique or took, I can invariably find it and marvel at how

I ever lived without it!

What do you dislike?

Sometimes I cannot figure out how I have done a really awesome thing in the past. But that is me, not Vectorworks. Usually after some traipsing through the software I can find the elusive technique.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I am looking forward to getting more into Marionnette. In general, Vectorworks is excellent at 'keeping track of' and compiling building components.

Vectorworks Arch review by Bill F.
Bill F.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Complete and versatile program"

What do you like best?

I like what Nemetschek has embraced in the way architectural drawing software needs to work. It is a nimble and intuitive three dimensional software program that surpasses its locomotive sized nemisis, Revit, in its lightness, agility and speed.

What do you dislike?

Unlike the larger lumbering and powerful, program Revit, Vectorworks falls a notch behind in total work group solutions and document integration.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Ask Nemetcheck to share more about other users in other cities, so users can fluidly communicate with each other and in fact know who is using the program

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I am using Vectorworks as my total visualization and architectural documentation too.

Vectorworks Arch review by Thomas T M.
Thomas T M.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Versatile, Powerful, Fast"

What do you like best?

Vector works is easy to set up for the simplest task, but with a system that for handling very complex and large jobs. I use generally for architectural projects, but also for graphic design and quick studies. The symbol routine enables very efficient drawing. The wall tool is useful for many things other than walls. Being able to quickly transform text into enhanceable graphics, and use of images as surface textures adds flare to drawings. Cross referencing files is key. Viewports and annotation are fast and effective ways of creating interim drawings, or setting up for long run.

What do you dislike?

A few glitches when files get large, especially with nested symbols. Some ghost images. It imports PDF's very well, but bogs down if they are large, and creates huge files when exporting drawing containing pdfs. The rendering engine is good for cartoon sketches, but frustrating for lighting and textures, which work really well sometimes, others not so much. Would like more explanation of different options and tools. Cross referencing is a bit cumbersome, as is setting up of 3D viewports and the camera tool.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Highly recommended. Take time to learn the tools.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Architectural and Interior design. Concept and schematic, all the way to design and construction detailing. I can get drawings updated and out quickly and effectively. I am able to utilize my own systems and routines.

Vectorworks Arch review by Zoltán K.
Zoltán K.
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Review Source

"Vectorworks Architect for Interior Designers is the most usable tool"

What do you like best?

VW 3D modeling is easy to use and learn even for those who have never worked with a CAD software. I personally really like how BIM can be done in VW and how to make every sheet from a 3D model. Symbols are great and subdivisions made life easier significantly. I even use VW for graphical works as well.

What do you dislike?

It is a problem that VW doesn't have a lot of Eurpoean drawing standards such as door and window labels (door and window center lines with both height and width measurements for example). And some bugs (i think it is a bug) for example when you make a symbol from a door in a wall, than draw the center line and the measurements in it, when you turn the wall more than 90 degrees VW flips the numbers the wrong direction no matter what. It would be awesome if i could set different drawing styles to symbols to show different details in different scales and even to set up symbols to show different 2D in different layers (such as stairs). I wish there was an option to save multi-pass renders. I would really like that if there were more built in deafult scheduels such as wall volumes...just to mention some.

Recommendations to others considering the product

It is a great software that has everything you need and even more. You don't have to buy different softwares for different thing, this one has everything you will ever need to design any building from scratch to realization.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

There is no such software that can handle 2D drawings, 3D modelling and awesome rendering at the same time integratedly without add-ons or plug-ins, while it is capable of making graphical designs, supports all scales from GIS through BIM until furniture design.

Vectorworks Arch review by Steven G.
Steven G.
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"Vectorworks Architect 8 hours per day"

What do you like best?

Vectorworks Architect has a set of integrated 2D and 3D tools that allow small and large firms to use the software from Schematic Design through Construction Documents and have photo-realistic renderings produced art any point in the design process.

What do you dislike?

Upgrading yearly to take advantage of the new features requires upgrading files with the potential of minor incompatibilities with older versions. Many of the projects I work on don't magically end in September when the new versions are released.

Recommendations to others considering the product

I have worked with training students, Interns, and other firms with Vectorworks. Start-up time is minimal (only slightly longer than Sketchup) but the eventual depth of information you can get out of the software would on par with any other CAD/BIM platform, even surpassing others in instance.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

In addition to CAD and BIM, we also use VW for Graphic layout of forms, project publication and even project payment forms using the multi-dimensional worksheets built into the program, saving me time in project administration.

Vectorworks Arch review by Craig S.
Craig S.
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Verified Current User
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"The long and short of using Vectorworks."

What do you like best?

Since the majority of what I do in Vectorworks now involves importing 3-d models from our Engineering job files and creating assembly instructions for the millwork our facility produces, the increased ease with which VW imports and translates ACAD files for me is one of the best features. What I like the best is that I can use layers as they were intended, i.e., working on small sections of a larger structure that can be correctly and easily aligned and assembled when finished with all the smaller sections, or as I most often use it where each layer is a separate page and at whatever scale works best for the item on that page.

What do you dislike?

I have been working with this program since the late 1980's early 1990's when it was still MiniCAD. The yearly changes have been, at times, difficult to assimilate since I have been self-taught the entire time in which I have used this program. That being said, the fact that I was able to "catch myself up" so to speak says a lot about the user friendly interface and incredible detail in the hard copy manuals and on-line Help function which I admit to using quite thoroughly at times. The fact that I am a MAC user and MiniCAD and Vectorworks appear to be the best available option for Mac users is nothing to sneeze at and maybe that why it’s so easy to use.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Ease of use, relatively low-cost, certainly value-added, Mac based version availability all play a part in my satisfaction and willingness to recommend this product.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

In the past I have used MiniCAD and then Vectorworks to create complete sets of drawings for residential remodeling, and for new construction. These projects were "side-jobs" while during my normal business hours at a Full-service Exhibit House in Northeast Wisconsin. I provided the Concept Sketches for use by our Design staff to use as the basis for the color renderings which at that time were nearly all done with colored pencils and air-brush painting techniques. That was at a time when digital graphic renderings were unavailable unless you had access to a Cray computer. We also used VW for the Approval Drawings required to get clients to sign off on a project with a nearly complete and accurate conception of what we intended to build for them. From there Vectorworks enabled me to provide our Carpenters the shop drawings required to turn concept into reality. Last but not least, since Trade Show exhibits are designed, by necessity, to assemble and disassemble quickly at a trade show event, fit into crates designed to hold each component safely during transit and storage, and be ready to re-assemble at the next show, we used the program to provide a set of instructions for the various trades involved, to set up and then dismantle the booths as quickly and safely as possible.

Vectorworks Arch review by John C.
John C.
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"John's Review"

What do you like best?

3D architectural and landscape design features.

What do you dislike?

Cost of programs and training, amount of time it takes to "catch up" after lapse between use.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you work in VectorWorks Architect regularly, its great. If you go long periods time without drawing, it can take awhile to get back up to speed.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

It permits me to study existing buildings and present my findings with clarity and accuracy. While I continue to do this, it is no longer a business, it is a contribution of my skills to various non-profits engaged in historic preservation, and training less experienced historic preservation professionals.

Vectorworks Arch review by Alexander D.
Alexander D.
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"User of Vectorworks for 4+ years"

What do you like best?

At our firm we hand sketches at the beginning of every project. Vectorwork lets us import these early on and by adjusting the line styling we can create hybrid drawings of hand and cad details which clients respond very well to. This is most likely the biggest plus for us as we can have a stream line process from sketch to final construction document set. In general we are able to work very quickly and efficiently.

What do you dislike?

Some of the 3d modeling tools are a little cumbersome. I have experience in Rhino which gives excellent control of 3d objects in general I miss that in Vectorworks. However I understand that they are completely different softwares.

Recommendations to others considering the product

The software works best when you use solid shapes as opposed to line work only. I have experience in Adobe Illustrator and many features are similar in Vectorworks.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

The basic BIM features for schedules in the file help speed up the drawings and allow for changes to occur fairly seamlessly

Vectorworks Arch review by User in Computer Software
User in Computer Software
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"An horrible case of bloatware"

What do you like best?

Don't like it at all, and would like to replace it with alternatives

What do you dislike?

I started using this architectural software when it was minicad 2.5. At that time it was mac only, elegant, intuitive and great to use. A forerunner in its field. Vectorworks is a horrible piece of software that has remained in the 1980s. To do anything one has to open multiple dialogue boxes which are all unintuitive and confusing. It is a case of software engineers being given control of the user interface. Someone, with proper user interface expericen, has to take it back to the basic and rewrite the software from the grounds up.

Also the pricing structure sucks. To be forced to pay $600 every year for a something that does not add anything is unacceptable.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Renovation projects in London

Vectorworks Arch review by Hyruan M.
Hyruan M.
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" Using Vectorworks Architect as an Architect"

What do you like best?

The program is an evolution of simple CAD, leading to another level of experience, starting with the management of drawings by layers, which facilitates viewing levels and understanding of the plant (even for the customer!). The whole design is done in 3D with BIM technology, it makes the design reconciliations (architectural, civil, hydraulic , electric, etc.) are stored in greater accuracy and clarity.

And best of all, it is much cheaper and easier to work than AutoCad and Revit.

What do you dislike?

The software requires much computer processing, ie good computers. And good computers are expensive. Which raises another expense to the office/company, but worth the investment, which will pay for seeing productivity increase considerably.

Another thing is that sometimes the software does not properly export the DWGs, which creates some discomfort with offices using other software such as Autocad, which is the most in Brazil, the country that I live, but everything is solved with a phone call.

Recommendations to others considering the product

I recommend implementing the Vectorworks software, not only this software, as other BIM software. The programs should not be a problem, but a means of reaching a final result of something much bigger.

Vectorworks helped me a lot in the construction of knowledge as an architect, because as projects run faster, I have time to devote myself to other crafts and learning new things .

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

It proved to be very useful in predicting design problems, annotation features and detailing of various project scales, documentation and organization boards for printing. Agility, especially in the final stage of the project, which does not require adjustment of lines and colors (already set when drawing). And best of all, you draw is exactly what will be plotted.

Vectorworks Arch review by Michael R.
Michael R.
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"Simple tools that are so powerful. ."

What do you like best?

Making pallets of only the tools I use everyday.

What do you dislike?

If anything it would have to be the overall cost. However less than AutoCad

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you want to be able to work with other companies and people using different software this is the software that will be the most compatible.

Even the Mac and Windows files are compatible with each other without conversion or save as.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

The befit of using VectorWorks is that I can use graphics and engineering drawings and output files to AutoCad and my colleagues don't even know I don't use AutoCad.

Vectorworks Arch review by Jessica T.
Jessica T.
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"Great Software"

What do you like best?

The 2D aspect of the software is great for seeing what your drawing is going to look like before printing. Our firm does not primarily use the 3D side but from what I've used, I have been thrilled with the easy navigation of the tools that the software provides.

What do you dislike?

I think the 3D aspect of the software should be able to automatically update 2D drawings when a change is made in the 3D side.

Recommendations to others considering the product

I would highly recommend this product to others because of the ease of use and instant quality of the drawings on the screen before printing.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are trying to solve the drawing quality of the 3D side that the 2D side allows you to make. Example, line thickness of a drawing should be added into the 3D side with the same ease and simplicity as that of the 2D side.

Vectorworks Arch review by Dominic H.
Dominic H.
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"Software which adds tremendous value, speed and quality to architectural planning"

What do you like best?

Vectorworks is used throughout my office, and it certainly wouldn't function without it. We've had alternatives such as AutoCAD, Revit, Archicad, but none have matched our experience with Vectorworks. Referencing other plans straight into files and overlaying is absolutely essential, both 2d and 3d work seamlessly. The UI is easy to learn, and users manage to completely adapt to the program within days. The layers and class system is straightforward and allows for very structured workflows within groups of people. The price is reasonable compared to other similar CAD software.

What do you dislike?

One of the most recent additions has been collaborative working within same documents, which I believe Nemetschek seems to have addressed. What I find strongly lacking are vector patterns, as well as textures. Finishing touches of architectural elevations for example are always, essentially, completed in Photoshop, because there is simply no way to create equally beautiful imagery straight from Vectorworks. Another strong drawback is Autocad functionality, and while dwg's are certainly supported, small mistakes appear constantly when importing them. Addition problems is the backwards compatibility, with files produced on previous versions being completely incompatible with newer ones. Rendering tools are also lackluster compared to other alternatives.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Due to the relative ease, lower price point, and technical ability of Vectorworks, I would certainly give a trial a go.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

When working with subplanners that also use Vectorworks, the workflow simply seems to be at a higher speed than with alternative CAD software. The graphical abilities also allow for the production of final presentation plans, so while Photoshop can enhance them further, enough offices produce the majority of their competition plans straight from Vectorworks, meaning it replaces other software which could save other software costs.

Vectorworks Arch review by matthew S.
matthew S.
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"Vectorworks is a Life Saver."

What do you like best?

I found the Vectorworks Architect to be relatively easy to jump into and learn. For the most part it feels rather intuitive. But the best thing about using Vectorworks is the integration of all the drawings. It really saves time and man power to when pushed up against tight deadlines.

What do you dislike?

There are some quirky things when it comes to customization. While i have found most anything i need to do, i can. Operations that require a greater level of customization tend to take longer than i think they should.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Vectorworks is a great product for getting into the world of BIM. It has allowed us to move from the world of 2D into the world of 3D documentation with very few growing pains. Overall, it is great product that i would highly recommend.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Tanking on bigger project scope without upsizing my firm has been the biggest benefit from having made the switch to Vectorworks.

Vectorworks Arch review by User in Architecture & Planning
User in Architecture & Planning
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"The most versatile software out there"

What do you like best?

Vectorworks has always been great 2D software. About 10 years ago I started doing more and more 3D modeling. I am at the point where I created a complete model for every project and the time I save in creating documents is amazing. That Is benefit one. The great thing about Vectorworks is that it is not only for architectural models, but you can model anything you can dream up. You can render it and present it in hundreds of ways.

What do you dislike?

It does require a lot of computing power and my platform of choice has always been a Mac, so I have to spend a bit for my equipment to keep up with the software's capabilities.

Recommendations to others considering the product

I would highly recommend it for small to medium sized projects. I have not had experience with very large projects (> 60,000sf) or with work groups.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I love the software so much I went from being a full service architectural firm to just offering modeling, rendering, and construction document services to other architects. I am busier than ever and totally loving my work.

Vectorworks Arch review by User in Architecture & Planning
User in Architecture & Planning
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"VW Architect is a great BIM tool that comes with amazing support."

What do you like best?

The efficiency. Using one program from schematic design to construction documents has been great. The resource manager is a great tool to reference and streamlines the design process. Being able to produce quality renderings throughout the design process has been a nice benefit. The (VSS) support has been exceptional. If/ when I have an issue I can get a response pretty quickly and have usually been able to rectify any issues I might have had, with the help of tech support. My salesman is pretty great to (Shane Swanson) - always easy to get a hold of and helpful when we talk.

What do you dislike?

The file size gets pretty large and slow when you incorporate as much as you can from the resource manager.

Occasionally I have to close and reopen the program because it seems glitchy. I've had some ghosting issues that appear and eventually disappear in a few files. I'm not sure what the cause is. I've had some crashing issues with past versions, but 2017 has been a pretty stable platform.

Recommendations to others considering the product

VW Architect has all of the tools you need, regardless of the size of your firm. I don't understand the migration to Revit. It's mind boggling, considering what VW can do for a fraction of the cost.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

It's a clean, intuitive, streamlined tool that makes day to day tasks easier. We've realized how efficient VW can be, by reducing redundancy. We need less people involved on individual projects to attain the same level of work and detail.

Vectorworks Arch review by Bill G.
Bill G.
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"Great BIM Software for the Mac Platform"

What do you like best?

I like the fact that the software is very user Friendly. The tools are easy to Identify as far as what tool does what function. The easy of use helps us in the cost of training in our office. We are a small office so the cost for such a powerful software is right on target for our needs. Vector works has been very good about staying on target with the demands and upcoming trends in the BIM software market

What do you dislike?

I would like to see more in the way of Structural tools in this software. The Architectural features are nice but the tools that provide structural members could use some work and the ability to edit them easily would be a big bonus.

The VR Features could still use some more polishing it would be nice for it to upload render works animated renderings as wells the open GL renderings.

We would like to see the compatibility between Revit and opening Revit files to keep improving.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Great software for small firms that want a lot options for a great price.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

The biggest problem this software helps with is coordination throughout our plans. Everything is linked together which helps in fewer missed mistakes.

more and more of our contractors are using BIM during the construction process, so being able to send files back and forth in a BIM format on complicated projects has been great.

Vectorworks Arch review by Danny M.
Danny M.
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"Versatile design software"

What do you like best?

I've used Vectorworks for about 13 years for everything from renders to sell jobs, permit sets, shop drawings, and output for digital manufacturing. I've even been able to use the BIM functions to keep track of parts and BOM for product design.

What do you dislike?

I have had trouble with exporting colored lines requested by my laser cutter, I believe this has been solved in recent versions.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I like that I can turn to a single piece of software for pretty much any design task coming across my desk.

Vectorworks Arch review by Bob Y.
Bob Y.
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"Some room to improve"

What do you like best?

I do appreciate the flexibility to use the program to suite my method of producing working drawings. I am still learning all the features to streamline this process. The new file tabs for each drawing file open was a welcome feature. The way the tool boxes now attach to the window is a plus.

What do you dislike?

Little I dislike. Selecting views using a drop menu could better be served with tabs along the bottom of the window. The majority of drawing time is spent moving between views.

Problem with some fonts I use where some characters not plotting

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Ability to collaborate is making communication with consultants and clients more streamline.

Vectorworks Arch review by randy c.
randy c.
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"Full featured C.A.D. program for a realistic price equals tremendous value."

What do you like best?

Veiwports are the bomb. Assembling sheets with drawings created on design layers using viewports keeps everything synced and systematic.

What do you dislike?

The 2016 version takes too long to boot up.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Just go get this software. Nothing compares for the price. Easy to use and powerful. It will make you a beast.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Design Development drawings for client communication.

Client presentations combining Vectorworks Architect 3D modeling capabilities with Renderworks.

Construction Documents sets for permit submittals and fabrication.

Code analysis and egress diagrams

Vectorworks Arch review by Samuel S.
Samuel S.
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"Best business decision! and a No-Brainer!!"

What do you like best?

I love how intuitive Vectorworks is! It was very easy to transition form auto-cad and sketchup.

What do you dislike?

nothing yet! It's all been positive, the support from the selective service team is amazing!

Recommendations to others considering the product

Just make the move away from the other guys, it will be he best decision for your business and clients!

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

The ability to showcase TOP 3d-graphics to all my clients on small projects. They can see and understand the design from a new perspective, leading to better design decisions and in the end a highly satisfied customer!

Vectorworks Arch review by Tom K.
Tom K.
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"Jack of All TrDes"

What do you like best?

Vectororks does so much, and so much of it well. It is a full BIM solution, an excellent free surface modeler, a decent rendering solution, and a full AutoCAD replacement. It works well with almost any software.

What do you dislike?

Minority software. It does have an expansive list of import and export options, but still less convenient then being in the Autodesk suite.

Recommendations to others considering the product

The learning curve from AutoCAD is not as steep as it might seem.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Vectororks is my full service BIM and rendering solution for my architecture office. It 3 softwares in one and our workhorse.

Vectorworks Arch review by Jeff R.
Jeff R.
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"Custom Woodworker using Vectorworks"

What do you like best?

Versatility of Vectorworks. I like the ability to use 3-D if needed and have resources I can use from drawing to drawing without redrawing.

What do you dislike?

Complexity of some of the menu boxes. Understanding the function of some tools becomes difficult if you do not understand all the terms used within the menu.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Use online resources or a training seminar to help with understanding the most efficient uses.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

The ability to offer customers an excellent representation of the project.

Vectorworks Arch review by User in Design
User in Design
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"I've retired and can now only justify Fundamentals; "Fun" should not be part of that name "

What do you like best?

Architect was really ok -- lots and lots of options. Back in the day, arguing MiniCad over AutoCad for a large design project, I won the day with a contest counting keystrokes to create a drawing. You won then and I suspect your still may?

What do you dislike?

When it comes right down to it the bits, the columns, furniture, stairs, etc. were quite generic and I often ended up creating my own. I suppose that's just my design sense. However, in the best of all worlds it would have been nice to be able to modify the Vectorworks bits and keeping more of their functionality rather than starting from scratch. Beyond that -- I wish your questions were about Fundamentals which seems to me should serve as a gateway drug to the full packages. I am so pissed that it is more difficult to do a vertical section or interior elevation in this stripped down thing than with a T Square. As a newby, I'd walk away from Fundamentals so fast. If I started in Fundamentals, there is no way I would invest in to Architect. You need to find a better balance between functionality and features.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Put some time into Fundamentals -- your gateway drug. It's got some brick walls that will stop many/most newbies.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Volunteer exhibit design for the reworking of a Historical Society and Museum.

Vectorworks Arch review by Robert S.
Robert S.
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"Room to grow"

What do you like best?

I have been using vectorworks for more than a decade. It has grown with me as my own skills increase. It's a kick ass 2-d drawing program with excellent graphic design features and control. A user can go fully 2d, startusing some BIM features or go all-in on BIM.

What do you dislike?

There are some aspects that need work,- stairs and roofs are still difficult to control. I also find that with my high performance home work, I use non-standard detailing which takes a lot of work to initially set up.

Recommendations to others considering the product

get training

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

My speed and familiarity with Vectorworks allows me to speed up production incrementally as I learn more and more about the program

Vectorworks Arch review by Daniel B.
Daniel B.
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"Capable software with an acquired taste: "

What do you like best?

Feels more like using Adobe Illustrator than, say, AutoCAD. Powerful, easy-to-use 2D polygon editing. The 3D modelling isn't too convoluted: able to work with simple massing. The Renderworks engine may not be what a lot of people require in terms of professional-quality output, but is capable of getting some decent results.

What do you dislike?

Having used Revit comprehensively, feel like Vectorworks is literally years behind in terms of BIM integration, worksharing and parametric customisation. Have not yet had the opportunity to delve into Vectorworks in terms of scripting, but from what I can gather from the online resources I can find, there are still a fair few holes in the program and its 'best practice' workflow to be plugged!

Recommendations to others considering the product

Definitely trial the product to see if it will be your preferred platform. As a user of AutoCAD for ~16 years (and Revit for ~5 years), my personal opinion is that Autodesk are the industry standard for a reason! That said, I may just be a victim of indoctrination from a young age!

The requirements of the rest of your design team are also worth considering. Interoperability with other software was not the best when I first started using the software. Has improved over the last 2 releases and will hopefully continue to do so, but a deeper, more realistic approach to adopting BIM needs to be on the cards. Nemetschek's acquisition of Graphisoft means they now have both ArchiCAD and Vectorworks; best to have a quick look to the future for both software packages before making a purchase.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Have been looking at the way the company have had front-end sketch schemes that practically need a complete re-draw when working drawings are inevitably required. Trying to organise a workflow that makes it easier to provide a decent amount of information at tender stage, which can then be fleshed out further down the line without having to 'reinvent the wheel'! This is somewhat achievable in Vectorworks.

Vectorworks Arch review by User in Architecture & Planning
User in Architecture & Planning
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"I have been using Vectorworks in all its previous iterations since early versions of Minicad in 1985"

What do you like best?

Ease of use. I have been using it for a long time and developed my own techniques. Unfortunately this does not allow me to use all it features but I find it most useful for me as a sole practitioner.

What do you dislike?

Too sensitive when using an Apple magic mouse....it takes off on its own sometimes when my finger is not touching the mouse but just in the proximity.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Offer a simpler version with fewer features to support use as a 2D drafting and cad program. I really do still not have the skills to utilize the full palette of 3D and rendering stuff.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I use it for all aspects of my practice.

Vectorworks Arch review by Judy C.
Judy C.
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"The most intuitive CAD program for MAC users"

What do you like best?

How easy and intuitive the program is; drafting is a pleasure!

What do you dislike?

The only thing I dislike about Vectorworks is that I don't know all of its features. But that's my issue. I need to dedicate time to continually learn about the program features.

Recommendations to others considering the product

I attended Vectorworks training at its headquarters prior to subscribing, and purchased the software upon completion of the training. My recommendation is that you get training so that you understand how to use the software when you purchase it.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

design visualization (for clients) and design documentation (for us)

Vectorworks Arch review by Nicole D.
Nicole D.
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"Lifetime User"

What do you like best?

I like the viewport interface between design layers and sheet layouts.

I also really like the new opacity controls!

What do you dislike?

I don't like setting up and changing wall styles.

I feel like a lot of the things I didn't like have become non-issues with 2017.

Recommendations to others considering the product

I interface with consultants who do not use Vectorworks with 9/10 ease. I usually need to do a couple test runs when exporting from Vectorworks for a new consultant but once I learn what works for them it is fairly seamless.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I love using Vectorworks as a graphics tool for zoning and master planning diagrams that show layers of data.

Vectorworks Arch review by User in Museums and Institutions
User in Museums and Institutions
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"Works for Exhibit Design"

What do you like best?

With each new release, Vectorworks' rendering engine (Cinema 4D) get better and better as does the processing power in general. Renderworks allows me to create beautiful, lie-like images of museum designs, not yet built, and the increased power and 64-bit system allow our whole team to contribute to files without fear of overloading.

What do you dislike?

I am unimpressed with the current ability for multiple people to work in one file at the same time. In its current form, it is just too confusing.

I dislike how one has to have the file that you are referencing from, open in order to reference. AutoCAD has streamlined this.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are able to meet the increased expectations of what the clients want visualized. Be it animation, early concepts, or fully-realized renderings.

Vectorworks Arch review by Wanda M.
Wanda M.
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"Love Vectorworks Architect!"

What do you like best?

Easy to learn, great tech support, Great Training. I work alone so, I can quickly go from design to Construction documents easily.

What do you dislike?

There is nothing I dislike about the product, it is so powerful.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Best CAD program to use for a small firm!

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

The benefits are that you work in 3D and you can model quickly to present your design quickly to clients.

Vectorworks Arch review by Tom B.
Tom B.
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"Good for solo architect"

What do you like best?

Easy to learn. One of the first truly 3D object based cad programs

What do you dislike?

No repeat command for repetitive tasks. No undo arrow like most every other program in the world has.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Try it.

(Note to G2: I'm on a tablet and traveling at the moment t, so I didn't have a screenshot on this tablet device. Will upload or email one if requested. Thanks.)

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Easy to model schemes and create semi-complete schematics. Very professional presentation impression.

Kate from G2 Crowd

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