This blog will serve as your guide for the recommended steps to take when switching to Vectorworks from other design, CAD, and BIM programs.
Switching software can certainly feel daunting even if the benefits are clear. These recommendations can help get started effectively in your switch to Vectorworks.
The 6 steps to take are:
- Get a free 30-day trial.
- Take advantage of free learning resources.
- Purchase your preferred license.
- Convert your standards and resources.
- Seek training.
- Practice on a pilot project.
Step 1 | Get Started with a Free 30-Day Trial
Taking Vectorworks for a trial run is like test driving a car before you buy it. The difference with a software trial is that you have the time to freely explore the program in-depth.
Getting started with a 30-day Vectorworks trial is free, easy, and gives you the chance to do some research before committing to a license. Use this time to get a feel for the interface, clicking operations, simple drawing and modeling, the hybrid 2D/3D work environment, and documentation features.
Or, take it a step further and get a monthly subscription. A subscription license gives you access to additional learning content as well as valuable tech support, which all together is bound to accelerate the transition process.
Step 2 | Take Advantage of Free Learning Resources
As you explore Vectorworks during your trial period, take the time to explore some free learning resources on Vectorworks University (our learning management system), the Planet Vectorworks blog, or our monthly webinars series.
Most Vectorworks content is industry-specific, so filter the content to "Architecture" to see content made for you.
Recommended Getting-Started Modules on Vectorworks University
- Getting Started | The Basics
- Getting Started | Free-Form Modeling
- User Interface
- Palettes and Workspaces
- Top Ten Things to Remember about Vectorworks
- Transitioning from AutoCAD to Vectorworks
Creating a free Vectorworks account allows you to track your progress across the entire Vectorworks University as well as get Vectorworks certifications. This is a good way to turn your learning experience into real career momentum. Learn more about certifications.
Top Blogs to Read on Planet Vectorworks
- Object Creation & 3D Modeling in Vectorworks
- From Sketch to BIM — All in Vectorworks
- Why Updating Preferences Makes Design Work Easier
- How Modeling and Presentation Qualities Bring Unique Characteristics to Vectorworks
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Sign Up for Monthly Webinars
Each month we host a webinar focused on notable topics in architecture. The webinars are completely free and can be watched on-demand after they air.
These webinars are a great way to get valuable insight into the software at no cost! Click here to check out the webinar schedule. We also post each month’s webinar schedule on Planet Vectorworks at the beginning of the month.
Step 3 | Purchase Your Preferred License
You’ve used up your trial, explored learning resources, and have decided Vectorworks is the software for you. Great! Let’s look at purchasing options.
Cost-effectiveness has been a topic on Planet Vectorworks before, so check out that blog for a more in-depth breakdown of our pricing structures compared to other popular options in the industry:
Option 1: Perpetual License
Pay once and a perpetual license is yours forever.
Option 2: Perpetual License with Maintenance
Add the popular Service Select plan to your perpetual license for automatic updates to new versions of Vectorworks, free cloud storage, plan-exclusive content libraries to use in your designs, and much more.
Option 3: Monthly Subscription
A monthly subscription allows you to pay for only what you need when you need it.
Option 4: Yearly Subscription
This option means you can maintain access to Vectorworks year-round at a discount compared to paying monthly.
Step 4 | Carry Over Templates, Standards, and Resources
We have several resources to help you understand what resources can be converted, as well as some best practices for creating and managing new resources:
- CAD Manager’s Guide to Switching: Why You Should Make the Move
- CAD Manager’s Guide to Switching: Importing and Converting Resources
- CAD Manager’s Guide to Switching: Managing Your Resources
Step 5 | Seek Training
There’s a variety of ways to get help with Vectorworks!
First, check out the Community Forum to engage with like-minded designers and Vectorworks staff. Even if you don’t feel like posting yourself, you might find that your question has been answered already.
Vectorworks University is a great place to go to familiarize yourself with operations and workflows.
If you’re looking for more specific training, the customer success team at Vectorworks is filled with architects, site design professionals, and entertainment designers who’re experts at using Vectorworks software. You can take classes online, schedule sessions for your entire firm, or even work one-on-one with a member of the training team.
Step 6 | Take on a Pilot Project
As you familiarize yourself with using Vectorworks, try using the software on a pilot project. A pilot project is a real project with real stakes.
Here are some recommendations for choosing a pilot project:
- One with a non-compressed timeline. This allows time to learn from potential mistakes as opposed to a project with a tight deadline.
- One with a more straightforward design solution. Avoid projects that would take a ton of customization.
- One that's representative of the kind of work you normally do. For example, if you primarily do residential architecture, you want to avoid commercial projects in your pilot.
There are also some great sample projects on Vectorworks University. Explore these to see examples on how to organize files and develop projects, and to get an overall feel for what you can do with Vectorworks.
For further help getting started with Vectorworks, consider scheduling a personalized demo or training session with our customer success team.