Collaborating with Vectorworks: IFC, RVT, DWG, Oh My!

The ability to collaborate with your team, consultants, and clients can make or break your design project. That's why, when you're evaluating design software, it's important to pay attention to the collaboration capabilities it offers.

Vectorworks supports the most import/export options for common industry file formats. These capabilities foster collaboration with all project stakeholders while Project Sharing, Vectorworks' multi-user environment, caters to internal collaboration for the architect team. 

Import/export capabilities include file formats such as:

  • AutoCAD (DWG)
  • Revit (RVT)
  • SketchUp (SKP)
  • Rhinoceros (3DM)
  • Excel (XLS)
  • PDF

For a full list of supported file formats:


Vectorworks as a Design Hub for You and Collaborators

As a design hub, Vectorworks can function as a home base for a project’s lifecycle. Let’s look at a few of the ways this is possible.

Getting Started by Importing Files

Ever start a project by importing base files for site context? It’s a common method that a design-forward software should always embrace. Vectorworks supports importing DWG, PDF, and image files, making it easy to get designing no matter where you started your project.

Vectorworks has just what you need to get started and develop a 3D model — but sometimes a project might begin with a different 3D application. That’s OK, too! It’s easy to import the model and advance the design from there into renderings, presentations, and more. This is possible through support for SKP, 3DM, and 3DS file formats, among others.


You can create renderings directly in Vectorworks with the integrated Redshift render mode by Maxon. If rendering in real-time appeals to you, incorporate Lumion, Enscape, or Twinmotion. Rendering activities can be offset to the cloud, keeping your machine free for designing.

Morning Sun

Rendering created with Enscape by Vectorworks, Inc. 

Vectorworks Cloud Services | File Hosting & Collaborative Hub

Vectorworks Cloud Services offer a range of functionality that makes collaboration fast.

The popular Service Select plan offers free cloud storage, perfect for storing larger files. Project teams can use Cloud Services not unlike they'd use a file hosting service like Dropbox or Google Docs, which conveniently can be integrated with Cloud Services as well.

Upload a file to the Vectorworks Cloud and you and collaborators can view it on workstations, tablets, or even mobile devices via the Nomad app. Then, use the Cloud's native features to create presentation packages from your uploaded files.

What can I use Cloud Services for?

You can use Cloud Services to simply exchange files with consultants orto work together with your project team by hosting Project sharing files on the cloud. You can additionally use Cloud Services to:

  • Automatically render documentation sheets and publish them as PDF sets.
  • Capture comments on every version of your project.
  • Create dynamic presentation boards and VR experiences.
  • Create models from photos.

Also, resource-heavy activities like rendering can be designated to the cloud so you can continue work on your device without sacrificing processing power.

Collaborating with Clients

One of the draws to Cloud Services is that it’s perfect for collaborating with clients, who can access your files through a free Vectorworks account or a Nomad guest account. You’ll be able to see and respond to all their comments on every version of your files.

You could even incorporate Studio in Bluebeam Revu to collaborate live on construction sets.

All considered, it’s no surprise that we call Cloud Services a collaborative hub! Use it to manage collaboration with consultants, clients, and other collaborators with ease, while simultaneously keeping your device’s computing power free for designing.


Collaborator-focused Documentation

So what can Vectorworks do to help present and receive project information?

Exchanging Documents with Others

Exchanging documents with consultants like structural/MEP engineers, landscape designers/architects, interiors professionals, and more can be done by exporting PDF, DWG, RVT, or IFC files. In turn, you can directly reference consultants' files into Vectorworks and design atop of them.

Project Sharing, the Multi-user Environment

Project Sharing is the best option for working with your internal team. It's a great way for your project team to all work on the same file simultaneously without having to set complex servers and rules.

Shared Resources & Libraries

Symbol libraries, object styles (like walls, doors, and windows), textures, and standard details can be stored in shared Workgroup Folders .

Say your firm designed balcony railing details for a large residential project, and a year later you take on another similar residential project. Why not use the same railing details? The information is already contained in the model from the last project, so you'd save yourself time in modeling as well as provide documentation with just a few clicks.

In the blog series below, you'll find helpful information on Workgroup Libraries and dozens of other topics related to created and managing resources.


The Publish Command

The Publish command can be used to create PDFs, DWGs, and other file types for your documentation. It can also be used to publish saved documentation sets for elements your firm uses consistently.

Documents published with this command can contain hyperlinks for the Smart Markers placed in viewports. These links help collaborators navigate to points of interest in your drawing with a simple click.

If you're unfamiliar with Smart Markers — they're a wonderful tool to make documentation cohesive and robust, and they're easy to use. Check out this short video to see what Smart Markers can do:

BIM Coordination & Clash Detection

When. it comes to BIM, Vectorworks is set up to handle your data and share it accordingly.

The Data Manager & Industry Foundation Classes (IFC)

All that data stored in your 3D model? Do more with it via the Data Manager, which allows you to create rules that connect and enhance existing data. 

The Data Manager can map model information to IFC standards and create customized data sheets for whatever you need. With IFC data, you can export a file to be used for clash detection and model checking, enabling a proactive BIM process.

The ability to import or directly reference IFC documents and export IFC-specified models means you're perfectly set up to participate in the BIM process, like A&Q Partnership did on their Eight Gardens residential project. This Open BIM project serves as a perfect example of the non-proprietary collaboration embraced by Vectorworks software.


Image courtesy of Nick Lawrence and A&Q Partnership.

Federated Models

When it's time to combine each party's BIM models, Vectorworks supports workflows for several popular model-checking programs like Solibri and Revizto.

Our partnership with Solibri enables a real-time, two-way connection with Solibri Office for BIM quality assurance. 

And with that, you should have a solid understanding of collaboration tools and methods available with Vectorworks. See how others are collaborating with the software to create stunning, coordinated BIM projects:BIM with Vectorworks

Topics: Buildings


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