Vectorworks Technical Support

Before contacting our Technical Support team, please take a moment to see if the information you need is already available here:

System Requirements
Click here for a list of system requirements for Vectorworks 2011/2010/2009/2008 products


1) Vectorworks 2009 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard (v.10.6) Stability Concerns

2) Leopard compatibility

3) Vista compatibility

4) Intel Macintosh, Rosetta & Universal Binary compatibility

5) DualCore processor compatibility

6) Vectorworks & MiniCad version compatibility chart

Vectorworks Help Issues

1) Help page shows a blank screen


1) What information does CU require when upgrading Vectorworks?
2) Where can I find my Vectorworks serial number?
3) DWG/DXF import and export

4) Cannot open files across a server

Installing and Opening Vectorworks

1) Serial number is not recognised when installing

2) Message reads “cannot find dongle” when trying to launch

3) Vectorworks keeps opening in demo mode

4) Installing network licences

5) Installing student (E series) licences


1) No red LED on dongle when it is plugged in
2) Flashing red LED on dongle when it is plugged in
3) Dongle keeps cutting out after a couple of hours use
4) Cannot launch Vectorworks, although it was working previously
5) Lost or Stolen dongle.
6) Damaged dongle
7) Vectorworks network dongle and server issues
8) Crashes when running on server using a network dongle
9) Other network dongle error messages

10) Cannot open files across a server
11) Download the latest dongle drivers


1) Printing troubleshooting

2) Images are not printing properly

3) Crash when accessing Page Set Up - Tiger (10.4.1) issues

Artlantis and Vectorworks
1) Artlantis and Vectorworks – general
2) Server error message when trying to install Artlantis

Radiosity and Vectorworks

1) What is Radiosity?
2) When should I use Radiosity render modes?
3) When should I not use Radiosity render modes?
4) How do Radiosity and ambient light relate?
5) Why is Radiosity expensive, memory and processor wise?
6) How can I modify my model to render faster with Radiosity?
7) How do I control how much light is remitted from an object?
8) How do I efficiently render exteriors with Radiosity?

If you can’t find the information you need, click here to contact our Technical Support team.


1) Vectorworks 2009 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard (v.10.6) Stability Concerns

Apple will be released Snow Leopard on August 28, 2009. As many of our customers work on the Mac platform, the release of Snow Leopard naturally brings up questions of compatibility.

Understanding that for the majority of our customer base, our software is a key component of their work flow, our CTO, Dr. Biplab Sarkar, does not recommend running Vectorworks 2009 (Service Pack 4 or earlier) on Snow Leopard at this point in time. Dr. Sarkar and his team are already in process, developing a version of Vectorworks 2009 that will be fully compatible with Snow Leopard and free to all Vectorworks 2009 users. Expect to hear notice of this version availability in early November, 2009. And, if you’re not already subscribed to our monthly e-Dispatch newsletter, please subscribe now so that you’ll get the announcement.

For those customers with software versions earlier than Vectorworks 2009, please note we do not have plans to update these older versions to support Mac OS X Snow Leopard (v.10.6).

Thank you for your understanding and patience. If you wish to read a more detailed technical explanation of the current stability issues with Snow Leopard, you’ll find that information on our ever-growing Vectorworks Knowledge Base site: Click Here If you wish to be kept abreast of all our latest updates on the Vectorworks Knowledge Base, you can subscribe to the feed of new posts there.

2) Leopard OS Compatibility

Leopard & Vectorworks 2008

Nemetschek NA has fixed all significant problems we have found when testing Vectorworks 2008 against our latest seed versions of Leopard, and we expect Vectorworks 2008 SP1 to work well without further attention when Leopard is released. We will not have an opportunity to see the final version of Leopard until it becomes public, so there is a small possibility that something changes at the last minute to affect our software. In that case we unambiguously commit to fully support Leopard with the Vectorworks 2008 product even if it requires us to release an additional maintenance release after the final release of Leopard becomes available.

Leopard & the Plant Database in Vectorworks Landmark

The Plant Database, which is a stand alone application based on
FileMaker Pro, does not launch under Leopard when the System Preference
for 'International - Format - Region' is set to something other than
United States.

As a short term work around international users can access the plant
database by setting the format to 'United States'.

FileMaker has fixed this problem in a patch for 9.0 but our database is
created using 8.5 so we are in the process of evaluating all of the
possible data compatibility issues.

A second option we are weighing is a planned patch from FileMaker for
the 8.5 version which is scheduled for sometime in December.

Vectorworks 12.5.3
Nemetschek are also working on releasing a Vectorworks 12.5.3 free update for version 12.5 users. This update will be available once Nemetschek have had a chance to test the final release version of Leopard.

There will not be any updates available for versions below version 12.0 and therefore the Leopard is not supported for any version of Vectorworks below version 12.

Vista 64 bit OS Compatibility

Vectorworks 12.5.2 and 2008 is compatible with Windows Vista.

During our testing efforts thus far, we have found only issues that are likely caused by your graphics card and driver not being fully supported by Windows Vista. Users should visit the web site of their graphics card manufacture for the possibility of downloading Vista compatible drivers. Please be aware that having the latest graphics card driver does not make it 100% error free and that you should expect these drivers to be updated over the next few months with maintenance upgrades.

Also bear in mind that Vectorworks (along with most other software) is still a 32bit native software so you will not see any speed gains by going to Vista.

Vectorworks Series B users should upgrade to VW2008 if they intend to run on Windows Vista.  They can continue to use HASPHL version 5.12 of the device driver supplied on the current DVD or install the compatible Windows Vista drivers (HASP4 – or HASPHL – 5.22) from

Those running Vectorworks Series C on Vista will be required to use the HASPHL 8.31 version of the HASP License Manager that’s supplied on the Vectorworks install DVD or from Aladdin’s web site.  This is regardless of the user having a HASP4 or HASPHL dongle.  It should be noted that the HASP License Manager icon may not appear in the lower right of the TaskBar on the Desktop.  Also, the Aladdin Monitor application is not currently working on Windows Vista.  Return to contents

Vectorworks versions PRIOR to version 12.5.2 are not supported under Vista and users will need to upgrade.


4) Intel Macintosh® - Universal Binary & Rosetta Compatibility

Vectorworks products have been fully Universal Binary compatible since version 12.5. This means that it runs natively on Intel Machintosh machines. All Vectorworks users running Intel Machintosh machines are strongly recommended to ensure that they are running Vectorworks at least 12.5.2 and ideally, VW2008.

Users running versions prior to 12.5 can run Vectorworks using "Rosetta," Apple’s emulation software that allows native PowerPC applications to run on Apple’s Intel hardware.

These earlier versions are stable and robust enough under Rosetta emulation to be used in some limited evaluations or less demanding capacities.

Functional Concerns for running versions prior to Vectorworks 12.5 under Rosetta

Our main concern centers on geometry offsetting functionality. In earlier versions of Vectorworks such as 12.0.0, for example, all attempts to offset geometry will crash the application. This includes the Offset tool and all operations listed below. In Vectorworks 12.0.1, we prevent the crashes, but any attempt to offset geometry will fail and leave the geometry in its original form. The offset tool will still work in some cases, but it uses an older and less sophisticated algorithm on older versions. The best advice is to ensure you are running at least 12.5.0.

Offset Failures:

Most, if not all, modes of the Linear Material tool will fail
The Repetitive Unit tool cannot be offset from its path
Most, if not all modes of the Roadway (NURBS) tool will fail
Some handrail configurations will fail on the Stair object
The Stipple tool will fail if it is set to "Fade from Edge"
The Create Walls from Spaces command will not align walls properly, especially at the outside wall
The Window and Door objects will not draw muntins properly (with thickness)
The Hardscape tool will fail in path configuration (and perhaps others), and will not create a border properly

Speed Problems Running earlier versions of Vectorworks under Rosetta:

Older versions of Vectorworks running under Rosetta on new Intel-Macintosh hardware is slower across the board than the same versions of Vectorworks running on mainstream G5 hardware. The following comparisons were between a single processor 1.8 GHz G5 workstation and a 1.8 GHz Intel Core Duo iMac.

Vectorworks 12.0.0 on the Intel machine under Rosetta emulation:
Takes 31% longer redrawing using Quartz
Takes 39% longer redrawing using QuickDraw
Takes 122% longer on average in a variety of rendering tasks
Takes 100% longer on average in a variety of solid modeling operations

The worst-case slowdown we measured is about 245%. That operation will take about three and a half times as long under Rosetta as on the reference G5 machine.

To repeat the advice at the top of this page, none of theabove problems occur on version 12.5 of all Vectorworks products because it is now fully Universal Binary compatable which means that it runs natively on Intel Machintosh machines. All Vectorworks users running Intel Machintosh machines are strongly recommended to ensure that they are running Vectorworks 12.5. Return to contents


5) Dual Processors Compatability

Vectorworks is 100% compatible with Dual Processors & DualCore processors. In general, this means that RenderWorks will speed up ray tracing and image compression in QuickTime should speed up as well on a dual core or multi-processor machine.

Additionally, when Vectorworks or another application is doing something processor intensive, there remains a substantially unused processor to run other applications or perform system services, so the entire machine often will feel faster. Return to contents


6) Vectorworks & MiniCad Version Compatibility

Runs On  
Mac Windows
VW 2008
MC 7
Mac OSX 10.4.8 Win 2000 SP4, XP, Vista
VW 12.5
MC 7
Mac OSX 10.3 - 10.4.8 Win 2000 SP4, XP

VW 12.0

MC 7
Mac OSX 10.2.8 to 10.4.8 Win 2000 SP4, XP


VW 11.5
MC 7
Mac OS 9.2,2,
Mac OSX 10.2.8 - 10.3
Win 98, 2000 SP4, XP
VW 11.0
MC 7
Mac OS 9.2,2,
Mac OSX 10.1 - 10.3
Win 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP
VW 10.5
MC 7
Mac OS 9.2,2,
Mac OSX 10.1 - 10.3
Win 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP
VW 10.0
MC 7
Mac OS 9.2,2,
Mac OSX 10.1 - 10.2
Win 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP
VW 9.5
MC 6
Mac OS 8.6.0, - 9.2.2,
Mac OSX 10.1 - 10.2
Win 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP
VW 9.0
MC 6
Mac OS 7.0 - 9.2.2 Win 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP
VW 8
MC+ 4
Mac OS 7.0 - 9.2.2 Win 95, 98, NT4, 2000
MC 7
MC+ 4
Mac OS 7.0 - 9.2.2 Win 95, 98, NT4, 2000
MC 6
MC+ 4
Mac OS 7.0 - 9.2.2 Win 3.1, Win 95, 98, NT4, 2000
MC 5
MC+ 1
Mac OS 6.0.5 - 9.2.2
MC+ 4
MC 4
Mac OS 6.0.5 - 9.2.2
MC+ 3
MC 3, 2
Mac OS 6.0.2 - 9.2.2
MC+ 2
MC+ 3, 2
Mac OS 6.0.2 - 9.0.4
MC 4
MC 3
MC 2
MC 1

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Vectorworks Help Menu      

1) Help System shows a blank page with Safari 2

Some Mac users have been experiencing a blank page when they try to access the Help Menu in Vectorworks and they are using Safari 2. If you experience the same issue, you are advised to download Safari 3 from the Apple Website:



1) What information is required when upgrading Vectorworks

For version 10 and later: All the user needs to supply is the Serial number (24 digit code beginning with B)

For version 9 and earlier: Both the Serial number AND Dongle ID is required (the Dongle ID is found using the Dongle ID Checker). To request a free copy of the ID Checker click here

2) Where can I find / input my Vectorworks serial number

In Vectorworks, go to:

File>Preferences>VW Preferences>Session Tab> Serial Numbers button.

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3) DWG/DXF import and export

My drawing is coming through at the wrong size / scale

The import feature in versions 10 and earlier does not automatically recognise the unit type (mm, cm, Metres, Inches) that is stored in the DWG/DXF file. The user must therefore establish the units that were used to create the original file and set Vectorworks to the same unit type. (It can be set back to the preferred unit type after import.)

Version 12 import export has been greatly improved. Vectorworks now automatically reads the correct units assigned to the DXF/DWG file.

Return to contents

4) Cannot open files across a server

Problem: When trying to open files across a network server the following Warning Message appears: "-54 no write permission. attempts to open file -FS open"


Diagnosis 1: This message can appear when other users have the same file open so check the drawings are definitely not open on any other machine.

Diagnosis 2: This message can appear when one or more of your machines, folders or files do not have full read / write permissions set and so Vectorworks is not being allowed to open the files because it is being denied access. Check with your system administrator that all machines have sharing read / write permissions activated correctly.

Return to contents

  Installation and Dongles      


1) Serial Code is not recognised when installing

It is possible that the Dongle ID and the Serial Code do not match. To check this, first locate the Dongle ID which for version 10 and later is the eight digit code printed on the dongle. Check that the last six digits of the

Dongle ID are the same as the last six digits on your 24 digit Serial Code.

Users still upgrading from version 9 will need to run the Dongle ID Checker which can be requested from the link below. If they do not match please report it using this link, giving both the Serial Code and Dongle ID number.Return to contents

2) Message reads “cannot find dongle” when trying to launch

This problem often occurs if the dongle driver has not been properly installed. Improper installations can often occur if the dongle has been plugged into the computer before software installation. Follow the steps 1 & 2 below:

Step 1 - Windows XP Users - Clear the Registry

Go to Start > Run > Type 'regedit' (without the "") & hit OK. This will launch the Registry Editor.

Next double click on the HKey Local Machine folder. Repeat for the following folders > Software > Nemetschek > Vectorworks > Registration > Serial Number. Drag the serial number file to the Recycle Bin.

Step 1 - Windows Vista Users - Clear the Registry

Hold the Windows key and type "R" to open the Run dialogue, then type
"regedit" (without the "") and click OK. This will launch the Registry Editor.

Chose Find from the Edit menu and type "Nemetschek" (without the "")
into the Find what field. Check all boxes then click Find or Find Next button.
When a folder called Nemetschek is found and selected, choose Delete from
Edit menu then click OK to confirm the deletion.

Press F3 (find next) and repeat the delete process from the previous step .

Repeat the Find next (F3) & delete steps until Nemetschek is no longer found.

Exit the Registry Editor.

Step 1 - Mac Users - Clear the preferences

Go to Hard disc > User (ie the ‘house’ icon)> Library > Preferences > Vectorworks. Drag this Vectorworks preference file to the trash.

For Mac users, check that the dongle is a HASP 4 or a HASP HL dongle and not a MacHASP dongle. If it is a MacHASP dongle it will need to be replaced.

Step 2 - Install latest driver - All Users

Now try downloading & installing the latest dongle driver. The driver can be found in the Support folder on your Vectorworks installer disc or can be found at:

Return to contents

3) Vectorworks Keeps Opening in Demo Mode

Diagnosis a: The dongle is not in the machine.
Solution: Plug the dongle into a USB port on your machine.

Diagnosis b: The serial number has not been input.
Solution: Goto: File>Preferences>VW Preferences>Session Tab> Serial Numbers Button.

Diagnosis c: The dongle driver is not the latest version.
Solution: Request a copy of the latest dongle driver.

Diagnosis d: The dongle is faulty or damaged.
Solution: Request a dongle swap / replacement.

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4) Installing Network Licences

Go to this link > Vectorworks network dongle and server issues

5) Installing Student (E series) Licences

Please note that these licences can only be installed on one computer. Once installed and authorised, any attempt to install an E-series licence on additional machines will fail.

Return to contents


1) No red LED on dongle when it is plugged into machine

Diagnosis: Driver is not installed correctly.

Try installing the driver manually, later versions of Vectorworks include the driver in the Support folder of the installation disc. If this does not work ensure you have the latest Hasp Dongle Driver from the link below:

Return to contents


2) Flashing red LED on dongle when it is plugged into machine

Diagnosis: This means that the dongle is definitely faulty.

Action: Contact us to replace the dongle using this link, putting “FAQ - Dongle LED Flashing” in the “Your Question” box, and giving both the Serial Code (24 digits) and Dongle ID (8 digit code printed on your dongle). Return to contents


3) Dongle keeps cutting out after a couple of hours of use

Diagnosis: This suggests that the dongle is faulty and a replacement needs to be issued. Historically this also occurred if machines were allowed to go to sleep, so disabling sleep mode may also solve the issue.

It may be worth making sure the latest dongle driver is installed to see if this solves the problem. To download the latest driver go to:

If the latest driver does not solve the problem, then the dongle will need to be replaced.

Action: Contact us to replace the dongle using this link, putting “FAQ - Dongle Cutting Out ” in the “Your Question” box, and giving both the Serial Code (24 digits) and Dongle ID (8 digit code printed on your dongle). Return to contents


4) Cannot launch Vectorworks - it was working previously

It is possible that the user has recently:

A: Reinstalled or Upgraded Vectorworks.
B: Upgraded the Operating System.
C: Upgraded their system security software.
D: Added some software to their computer that is not compatible with the dongle/program.

Action 1:

Check if the dongle LED is lit red. If it is go to action 2 below.

If it is flashing, go to this link for further details.

If it is not lit at all, go to this link for further details.

Action 2:

Try Deleting the Preferences (Mac) or Clearing the Registry (PC); see here for full details.

Action 3:

Ensure you have the latest Hasp Dongle Driver from the link below:

Action 4:

Uninstall and Reinstall your software including Quicktime.

Action 5:

In cases where the user has installed a new operating system, service pack, security software or additional software it may be that a compatibility issue has occurred. (ie HASP may need to create a new version of the dongle driver to correct the problem.) If you have explored steps 1-3 without success please report the case using this link making sure you document exactly the changes you have made to your system. Return to contents

5) Lost / Stolen Dongle

As of 1 March 2006 it is no longer possible to purchase lost and stolen replacement dongles.  This is in response to the increase in fraudulent claims we have received. Customers requiring a replacement, will need to purchase a 2nd license of Vectorworks 2010 and will receive a legacy serial number if they have lost an older version.

Q: If you have a version of Architect/Landmark/Spotlight/Machine Design/ Designer/Renderworks, how can you buy a replacement dongle?

A: You will still need to purchase an additional license using the format above. Pricing for these options will be given at the time of enquiry.

Action: Contact us to replace the dongle using this link, putting “FAQ - Lost Dongle” in the “Your Question” box, and ensure you provide the Serial Code (24 digits). We will still require the original serial number when purchasing the replacement license.

We recommend that you insure your dongle(s) against loss or theft for minimal inconvenience. It is advisable to report your crime reference number when making a claim. Return to contents

6) Damaged Dongle

If a dongle is physically broken or damaged, the replacement charge is £50 + delivery + VAT.

The broken dongle should be sent back to CU as proof – make sure it is sent recorded delivery.

Action: Contact us to replace the dongle using this link, putting “FAQ - Dongle Damaged” in the “Your Question” box, and giving both the Serial Code (24 digits) and Dongle ID (8 digit code printed on your dongle).

Return to contents


7) Vectorworks Network Dongle / Server Issues

General Information

In educational institutions, Vectorworks is generally installed and licensed using a single network dongle. This small USB device stores information about how many licenses the institution has and is what monitors license compliance. Under the terms of the license agreement, such institutions may install Vectorworks on any number of computers on the network, that are within an 8km radius, provided all licenses are owned by the one institution.

The computer that has the network dongle attached also requires a small piece of software to be installed called the License Manager. This is what communicates between this computer and the client machines and while it does not have to be on a server (an admin machine is OK), it must be a machine that does not have Vectorworks installed. The License Manager must only be installed on one computer on the network. The installer for this is on the first Vectorworks installation CD or DVD.

If the client machines are on a different sub-net, then each client machine requires a small .ini file called "nethasp.ini" in the Vectorworks folder, to tell the software what IP address to use to find the License Manager. Use the link at top right to download this file if required, then unzip and open in a text editor. On line 40 enter the IP address of your License Manager computer (the line contains the text (192.---.---.--), save then distribute the file to the Vectorworks folder on each client machine.

One final requirement for the network installation is that there must be no firewalls between the License Manager computer and the client machines such that the client can "ping" the License Manager computer in two directions, ensuring that packets can move in both direction for client/dongle communication.

Assigning permissions to user machines to access Network Licence Vectorworks Installations (PC):

You will need to give permissions to the Nemetschek and Vectorworks registry folders in the registry editor for the student accounts.

This should prevent the user from having to enter in the serial number each time they access Vectorworks.

To do this, you will need to first access the Registry Editor Windows 2000. Once the Registry Editor window is open, you will need to expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE folder.

Next expand the SOFTWARE folder. Locate the Nemetschek folder. You will need to assign user Permissions to that entire Nemetschek folder.

You need to do the same thing for the HKEY_CURRENT_USERS folder, assign user Permissions to the Nemetschek folder and the Vectorworks folder.

For the HKEY_USERS folder, assign user Permissions to the Nemetschek folder and the Vectorworks folder (These folders will be located under the folder with the long number attached to it.)

Assigning permissions to user machines to access Network Licence Vectorworks Installations (Mac)

When problems are encountered installing or running Vectorworks on machines with restricted permissions it is often the case that the user machines do not have Read & Write permissions to the VW 11.5 folder.

If the admin is able to open the VW software with no problems but the user accounts cannot then the user account must have no Read & Write permissions since they are unable to access the program. Check to see if the user accounts have Read & Write permissions to the VW folder before you set up the Parental Control. If they do not, then you need to do that first.

In order to do this, hit the control key on the keyboard then click once with the mouse on the VW folder. Then select Get Info. Expand the Ownership & Permissions section. Expand the Details section. In theOwner dropdown box, you need to first click on the lock to unlock that dropdown box.

Next, you need to select the user accounts from the dropdown box. Underneath the Owner’s dropdown box, set Read & Write to the Access dropdown box. Make sure that all of the Access dropdown boxes read Read & Write along with the Others dropdown box. Also make sure to click on the Apply to enclosed Items box. This will ensure that the users have access to the VW folder and all of its contents. Then do the Parent Control step. Return to contents

8) Crashes when running on a server using a network dongle

This may occur when different OS versions are on the client and server machines.

Make sure you have the appropriate HASP drivers for the machines operating system. For example the client machines may have Mac OS 10.4.2 and the server Mac OS 10.3.9. In which case, install the latest OS 10.4 only driver (HDD_Installer_MacOSX_Tiger_only1 on the client with Tiger system and the OS Unified drivers (HDD_Unified_Installer) on the server with Panther system. Dongle drivers can be downloaded from the Aladdin website here:

Return to contents

9) Other Network Dongle Error Messages

Network Dongle Protection Error: The current login request exceeds the number of stations which may run the application at the same time. Vectorworks will now quit.

Solution: The network dongle is only programmed for the number of licenses which have been purchased. If the number of licenses has been exceeded, then you will get this error message. Check your invoice or purchase order to see how many licenses you have purchased.

Return to contents

Network Dongle Protection Error: Program number specified is not in the program list of NET4 HASP Memory:

Solution: Dongle hardware issue. Dongle needs to be replaced.

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Failed to Start Aladdin device driver. Failed to start a service in the service control database.

Solution: Uninstall the License Manager (LM); Install latest HASP dongle driver; Run the LM setup again to reinstall it. At the end of the installation for the LM, select No button/option to install the dongle driver. Return to contents

HASP License Manager cannot find the configuration access program /contents/MacOS/Imguicfg (This error message usually occurs when customers are installing the HASP LM on Tiger 10.4 server computer.)

Solution: Follow the instructions located in the Network Licensing folder on how to install the LM and the fix for the LM for Tiger (10.4).

Solution: Download the dongle driver for Tiger 10.4 and the HASP LM for Tiger 10.4 to the desktop of the computer.

Instructions: Make sure the network dongle is not plugged into the computer. There should be a folder called HDD_Installer_MacOSX_Tiger_only on your desktop. Open this folder.

Run the AKSUSB Uninstall program first. This will uninstall any existing dongle drivers on your computer.

Next, run the AKSUSB Install.pkg file. This will take you through installing the dongle driver. When that has finished installing, go to the LM_Setup_Mac_10.4 folder and open it.

Run the HaspLM_Install.pkg file to install the License Manager. Now, reconnect the network dongle to the computer. With the LM_Setup_Mac_10.4 folder open, run lm_hotfix.

When that has finished installing, reboot the computer. When you have logged back into the computer, you will not see the HASP License Manager installed in the Application folder.

However, the HASP License Manager will be running in the background. Now, continue to install Vectorworks applications on the client computers (if you have not done so already). Return to contents


10) Cannot open files across a server

Go to this link Cannot open files across a server

11) Download the latest drivers




1) Printing Troubleshooting

99% of printing issues are related to the Printer Drivers and Printer Memory.

Drivers: Ensure that you have downloaded the latest printer driver from the Printer Manufacturers website.

Memory: Also ensure that you have enough in-built memory for your printer. Bear in mind that large format printouts require a significant amount of memory for processing (especially those with rendered images and/or imported bitmaps and that you may require additional memory adding to your printer. Some lower end printers do not have this expansion capability and the Rasterise Print Output option (File > Print > Vectorworks > Rasterise Print Output) may solve this issue. See below for a more detailed explanation.

Rasterise Print Output:

Basically, all vector information sent from CAD programs has to be converted to pixels prior to printing. Without the Rasterise Print Output option selected in Vectorworks, the printer carries out this processing work. Some printers are better at doing this than others. With the Rasterise option selected, the processing is handled by Vectorworks.

This option can be slower, but if the printer is not equipped with sufficient memory for processing high quality CAD files then this offers a possible workaround.

One other option is to use a RIP (Raster Image Processor) which can do the processing. Some printers come with in built RIPs, some do not. There are also 3rd party RIPs available which can ‘bolt’ on at the printer end to boost the printer performance. An example of a third party RIP would be XRIP from Microspot for the Mac or PosterJet for Windows. Return to contents


2) Images are not printing correctly

Make sure that Quicktime is installed. To download Quicktime go to


3) Crash when accessing Page Set Up - Mac Tiger (10.4.1) Issues

Diagnosis: This problem can occur when opening a v9 file in 10.5.1 or v11.5 or when using v9.

Action: Request the Clear Print Settings file using this form and then follow the instructions below:

Unstuff the Clear Print Settings file before proceeding any further.
Once that has been done, open the file that you are trying to print.
Next go to File-->Import-->select Import VectorScript.
Locate the "Clear Print Settings OS9.vss" file, select and then click on "OK".
You should be able to print the file now without any issues. Return to contents




  Artlantis and Vectorworks      

1) Artlantis & Vectorworks - General

Vectorworks 10.5 will work with Artlantis R. Download the plug-in from the Abvent web site. Artlantis R reads Artlantis 4.5 .atl files.

2) Server Error Message when trying to Install Artlantis

Usually occurs if you are connected to an internal network using an activated Firewall. If this is so, before trying to activate/deactivate the license, the administrator must authorise to give full access to the port 80, it must be wide open, for incoming or outgoing data. Return to contents

  Radiosity and Vectorworks      

Radiosity rendering is very different from other rendering modes, and requires a different workflow process to achieve a successful result.

1) What is Radiosity?

Radiosity is one way for a computer to simulate the indirect lighting that occurs when lit surfaces transfer their energy to other surfaces. To calculate this lighting, all the surfaces in the model are converted into triangles and the brightest triangles are visited in turn. Light from each triangle is re-emitted to its neighbours, until some amount of energy has been accounted for, and then the Radiosity solution is considered to be finished. Return to contents

2) When should I use Radiosity render modes?

You should use Radiosity render modes when:
• The usual direct lighting and ambient light does not capture the lighting subtlety, contrasts, or colour tones satisfactorily.
• There is a large contrast between the darkest and brightest parts of the model, or there are large colour contrasts among the lit areas in the model.
• You are rendering interiors, where the light energy would eventually be dispersed to many surfaces.
• You are rendering exteriors, and you want to see “washes” of light from overhangs, patios, sidewalks, etc. Return to contents

3) When should I not use Radiosity render modes?

You should not use radiosity render modes when:
• You can quickly produce satisfactory lighting by combining existing Vectorworks light objects, or easily “fake” the indirect lighting with fill lights.
• You can use area lights or a dome of directional lights to provide satisfactory soft lighting effects.
• There is not significant contrast between the brightest and darkest areas of the model, or there is not much colour contrast between the lit surfaces in the model.
• Almost all of the light energy that falls on the model's surfaces will be lost into space and not hit neighbouring surfaces when re-emitted. Return to contents

4) How do Radiosity and ambient light relate?

Ambient light is a catch-all phrase for the remaining light that is bouncing around in the model. Radiosity can be thought of as a way to correctly calculate and “localise” the ambient light. As more energy is accounted for in the Radiosity solution, the (un-localized) ambient energy decreases until all the light energy has been localised. Radiosity can be used as a “fast” way to produce a more accurate ambient term, and apply some of the brightest light to specific regions of the model. Note that any ambient lighting set by the Set Layer Lighting Options command should be turned off for a radiosity rendering. Return to contents

5) Why is Radiosity expensive, memory- and processor-wise?

Radiosity uses a lot of memory because all of the model's geometry must be duplicated and converted into triangles of a certain size, and assigned energy values. The more detailed the geometry in a model, the more memory the Radiosity processing will use and the more time will be required to re-emit light energy from each triangle to its neighbours. Also, the higher the render mode's detail settings, the more triangles are produced, resulting in larger memory requirements and more time to re-emit the light energy onto each triangle’s neighbours. Doubling the number of surfaces in a model actually quadruples the time required for Radiosity processing. Return to contents

6) How can I modify my model to render faster with Radiosity?

You can modify your model in these ways to help Radiosity render faster:

1. Use the highest-level geometry you can to model your objects. It is much better to model an object as an extrude, sweep, boolean solid, or a NURBS surface than as a mesh. The worst way to model for a Radiosity rendering would be to model a detailed object as a set of small, individual 3D polygons.

2. Eliminate 3D details that are not going to be significant to the rendered image or the indirect lighting. For example, if you model a staircase's individual bolts and threaded screws, each of these will be contributing unnecessarily to the memory and time required for the Radiosity solution. The Median Obj Size shown in the Custom Radiosity Options dialog box will have an unusually small value when the model consists of mostly tiny geometry.

3. Limit the size of large ground planes and landscape surfaces to the minimum size needed for the rendered image. Depending on the render mode's detail settings, the large surface area can produce millions of triangles that do not significantly light up the building because their energy is emitted mostly into space.

4. If geometry must be visible in the rendered image but will not contribute significantly to the indirect lighting, consider applying per-texture or per-object Radiosity overrides to them to help the Radiosity processor ignore them. Return to contents

7) How do I control how much light is re-emitted from an object?

The reflectivity shader controls how much light is re-emitted from a surface. To control this amount, apply a texture that uses a reflectivity shader, and adjust the reflectivity shader's Diffuse Factor. The default reflectivity shader when one is not assigned is Matte, whose Diffuse Factor is set to 100% by default. In addition, use Radiosity overrides. “Turn off” or “turn on” Radiosity for specific objects or textures by using the override checkboxes shown in the Edit Texture dialog box and the Object Info palette's Render tab.

For example, to render a ground plane with direct lighting but not include it in Radiosity processing for efficiency, you can set the Radiosity Override checkboxes to not emit and not receive. This effectively removes the ground plane from Radiosity processing. If a patch of grass needs to re-emit onto the side of a building, split the ground plane into a large one that does not emit or receive and a “skirt” around the building that does emit and receive. Through the Radiosity Optimizations dialog box, model parameters can be set so that only certain objects re-emit indirect light, and all other objects either just receive indirect light or do not participate at all in the Radiosity processing. One combination that can be produced is one where only the light on a floor is re-emitted onto the rest of the room, i.e. one “bounce.” Return to contents

8) How do I efficiently render exteriors with Radiosity?

You can efficiently render exteriors with Radiosity by:

1. Using Custom Radiosity render mode, select the Include Visible Surfaces Only checkbox in the Radiosity Optimizations dialog box. This means that only the visible building facade will be involved with Radiosity processing. The objects and surfaces that are behind the facade will not be included in the Radiosity processing.

2. Set large ground planes and tree image props to not emit or receive, using either Edit Texture or Object Info palette radiosity overrides.

3. Set the Obj Inclusion slider in the Custom Radiosity Options dialog box such that only the largest lit surfaces will emit (grey), and the smaller details like window mullions and door knobs will only receive (red).

4. If any surfaces are not visible that do produce significant indirect lighting (like flat roof surfaces that aren't visible in the current view), they can be forced to participate despite not being visible by setting either an Edit Texture or Object Info palette Radiosity override to emit and receive.

5. In the Custom Radiosity Options dialog box, deselect the Create Ambient from Remaining Energy checkbox. This makes it possible to stop the Radiosity processor sooner without having additional ambient lighting that makes the model overly bright or overly saturated with colour. Return to contents


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