Working as a team is often an integral part of the design experience, but it doesn’t have to be painful. With the new Project Sharing feature (which is part of Vectorworks 2016, by the way), you can work concurrently on the same file with as many people as you want without worrying about accidentally saving over someone else’s work. See? Painless! Although, we can’t do anything about that one teammate who isn’t pulling their weight. Sorry.
We recently sat down with two of Vectorworks’ own industry specialists to talk about the ins and outs of Project Sharing.
Vectorworks industry specialists Rubina Siddiqui and Wes Gardner.
Wes Gardner, Senior Product Specialist – Architecture Industry: Getting started is pretty straightforward, especially because you can create a Project Sharing file whenever you want. It doesn’t have to be at the beginning.
Ruby Siddiqui, Product Marketing Manager – Architecture Industry: Yeah, say Wes is working on something in his own file, and we decide to use it as the basis for a larger project. We can make it a Project Sharing file and design based on his idea. Or, if you have site data to create a site model, you can make that a Project Sharing file, and everyone can base their designs off that.
Wes: Basically, you can start at any time! And once you create the project file, you just follow the four setup screens. The four screens walk you through the system setup, the first screen being, “Yes, I want to make an actual project file.” Then you can start adding users to your project.
Ruby: For example, if I know Wes is going to work with me, I can give him access to the file. But this isn’t a one-time action. If someone joins us three weeks from now, I can still add them then. It’s not a closed system.
Wes: Then you set up your master layers.
Ruby: What you’re doing at this point is designating a layer to contain information that is going to change very little during your design process. This includes things like known info and variables like site data and existing conditions. Then the last of the four screens is the backup policy for the file.
Wes: Then you hit “go,” and you’re good.
Ruby: One thing you need to be aware of is, since it’s based on Vectorworks software’s layer system, when you check out a layer to start drawing, it’s locked to everyone else. It’s a good thing because it protects people from overriding what you created, and it lets them know who is working on what. However, it can be limiting if you don’t sync your file frequently because sometimes people can’t meet their own project deadlines without knowing if something has changed.
Wes: But if you’re really pressed for time, and you need to work on a checked out layer, you can draw something on a new layer and transfer it to the project file later.
Ruby: It’s a great fail-safe against problems. Your symbols won’t get overwritten by accident.
Wes: It certainly simplifies the overall file structure of a project since all of the individual pieces of the project file come together so neatly. The setup and drawing processes are no different from drawing in a normal Vectorworks file. Saving, printing, and rendering are all unchanged from what you’d be used to as a single user, and no new hardware is required.
Ruby: And while I’m working, I can still see what Wes is working on since he has a certain layer checked out. You’ll need to be on a server to check your files in, but you can check out files and work offline at home and then sync when you get back to the office.
Want to see all these steps in action? Check out the Project Sharing tutorial videos on YouTube. If you run into any problems when you’re getting started, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet your questions to @VectorworksHelp. And if you’re joining us in Chicago on April 25-27 for the Vectorworks Design Summit, don’t miss our Ask The Experts Happy Hour, Monday training, and sessions with stories about how designers are using Project Sharing at their firms. The last day to register is April 17, so act fast!
This article first appeared in our bimonthly academic newsletter, For the Love of Design.