Project Sharing Dos & Don’ts

In Vectorworks software, Project Sharing is a multiuser environment used to simultaneously collaborate on the same file at the same time, regardless of location.

It’s a powerful tool for collaboration, and one that’s become more powerful with the release of Vectorworks 2024. Project Sharing has been rebuilt from the ground up to better ensure project data and geometry is the most current in a project file. But there are some important things to keep in mind to use it successfully. In this blog post, you’ll see a handful of helpful tips curated by our product experts.

Setting Up Project Sharing

Before you jump into collaboration with Project Sharing on a project, take some time to consider the following points. It’ll help to ensure that you’re getting the most out of the feature.

Understand project files and working files:

The project file (.vwxp) is the shared master file to which everyone on the project ultimately commits their work. Working files (.vwxw) are individual, temporary files that each user saves locally. Working files are used to commit changes to the project file periodically to keep the project file up to date. Each user can also refresh their working file with the latest changes from the project file.

Store the project file in a centralized location:

It’s crucial to place the project file in a centralized location that can be easily accessed by all team members. You have the option to choose between a server or a cloud folder, so you have the flexibility to set up Project Sharing in a way that works best for you and your team.

If you opt for a server, make use of the project sharing server application, which is typically installed on the company server.

On the other hand, if you choose a cloud folder, ensure that you only use compatible cloud applications or Vectorworks Cloud Services. Additionally, remember to share the entire folder with all team members, rather than just sharing the file itself. If you decide to use a cloud application, we recommend reducing the frequency of Vectorworks backup creation because the cloud application effectively manages file history. Less frequent backups means less network traffic in the cloud application and more bandwidth for syncing the project file. Here's a list of compatible cloud applications for Project Sharing:

  • Vectorworks Cloud Services
  • Dropbox
  • Resilio Sync
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • Box Drive
  • Google Drive (Backup and Sync, Drive Workspaces)

1 VCS Shared Folder

Limit administrative permissions:

It’s advisable to limit administrative permissions to only the project manager and another office member, such as a BIM Manager or someone not directly involved in the project. This additional member can serve as a backup administrator in case the project manager is unavailable. Limiting administrative permissions encourages transparent communication, because only the project administrators can manage checked-out layers or objects of other team members.

2 User Permissions

Referencing other files:

When referencing other files, it’s best to place them in the same location as the project file. These references can be regular Vectorworks files (.vwx) or other project files (.vwxp), but not working files (.vwxw). 

3 Reference File Location

Tips for Managing Project & Working Files

  • You should only have one working file at a time and should only use one computer to connect to the project file.
  • Don't change the name of the project file as it serves as the connection to the working files.
  • It's important to save your working file on your local desktop and avoid saving it on a server or in the cloud.
  • Don't duplicate your working file. Multiple versions of a working file can create syncing conflicts.
  • Backup files cannot be used to connect to project files, so if you need information from a backup file, you must manually copy and paste it into your current working file.
  • Save your working file frequently. You can save it without committing to the project file.

Checking Out & Committing to the Project File

Check out exactly what you need; no more, no less:

Check out all the necessary layers and objects for a specific task. This will streamline and improve efficiency. Conversely, avoid checking out unnecessary items that others may need. Successful Project Sharing requires careful planning and effective communication.

You don’t need to commit every change immediately:

You don’t need to commit to the project file every time you make a change to your working file. Committing can be time-consuming, so it’s best to only do so when you reach a good stopping point, complete a task, or at the end of your workday.

Save, commit, & release your changes at the end of every workday:

Always remember to save, commit, and release at the end of your workday. This ensures that if someone starts early the next day or if you’re unable to come to work, objects are not checked out by you and unavailable to others.

4 Save and Commit
You can still work on the go with offline mode:

If you need to continue working while not connected to the project file, you can check out objects and work in offline mode. Keep in mind that, once offline, you can’t check out additional objects, so make sure you have everything you need checked out. Additionally, you can’t commit your work until you reconnect to the project file, so plan accordingly. 

Learn More About Using Project Sharing

For more information on Project Sharing, including instructions on how to set it up for your team, refer to the Vectorworks University course below!


You can also check out this Coffee Break session hosted by Vectorworks trainers to further explore this feature.

Topics: Buildings


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