Is Other Software Better Than Vectorworks?

I have been reading the Vectorworks tech board recently. Generally this community board is there for users to help each other and mostly it works well for that. There are some visitors to the site that seem to want to complain about Vectorworks. Be careful about believing the opinions on the tech board, sometimes it is like listening to talkback radio, where the opinions have no basis.

The implication is that Vectorworks is faulty and other programs are better. Some of these users even say how they are leaving Vectorworks for some other program. The odd thing is that a few of those people keep turning up to complain. I thought that if they stopped using Vectorworks and went to the other program, they would stop visiting the tech board.

I have been reading about some of these other programs this week. These programs are not without their own issues. I heard of a user that is so unhappy with Vectorworks that he is going to buy another BIM program. He says that it satisfies all his needs, is cheaper, and I guess he also thinks that is has no bugs. I was reading about this software today and there are some real issues with the software. I'm not sure that the user is aware that for finishing off the construction documents and detailing, they will also need AutoCAD LT for the detailing. So, when they leave Vectorworks, they will have to learn two new programs.

Some program's will force an upgrade of the operating system or the hardware needed to run the program at a reasonable speed. If you are thinking of a program that stores the whole model in one file then you also need to invest heavily in the network as well as the computer hardware.

Another user I have heard about wants to buy a different BIM program because of the 3D modeling on the walls and roof, the more powerful doors and windows, and the ability to work in sections and elevations. But when I had a look at this software, it was not able to link walls to the story heights, it had very limited 2D tools, and no automatic working planes. I have heard a lot of users have to use AutoCAD LT to finish off the detailing.

So, while these other programs look like the answer, users find that when they change from Vectorworks and they loose their current libraries and they often have to buy and learn more than one program. Then they find that the abilities of the new program are not as magic as they thought. All the BIM and CAD programs have some areas where other programs are better. The answer is to use your program of choice to the best of its abilities and stop worrying about the other programs.

My Irish friend in London used to say “Faraway hills look greener still..” I couldn't agree more.


4 thoughts on “Is Other Software Better Than Vectorworks?

  1. Very timely post Jonathan. I just saw a demonstration of Archicad and came away very impressed – especially since I have been having a lot of problems with Vectorworks lately – 2013 seems to be very buggy. I started with Archicad way back in 1991 and was frustrated with the 2D capabilities since most of my projects then were additions and didn’t have the budget to model all existing conditions. That is when I switched to Minicad, now Vectorworks. I would love to hear a comparison of the two programs (I know Archicad is more expensive). My biggest problem with Vectorworks has been a lot of crashing, and certain tools not working the way they should (remember the work-a-rounds we needed to come up with to insert windows into curved wall). Maybe it is the ability to almost always come up with a work-a -round that makes vectorworks good.

    • Thank you for your comments.

      I hear a lot of people say how good Archicad is, but it has very limited 2D abilities. Vectorworks 3D tools are streets ahead of Archicad. but still you hear people say that that are leaving Vectorworks for these programs. My guess is that they will find another learning curve, and they might have to learn AutoCAD LT to finish off the detailing. I have also had information about the BIM server, for Teamwork. You need a massive computer to host the BIM Server, and you need really high speed networks in the office. It is a cost that most people forget…

  2. I would venture to say the crashing issue could be hardware related. I have not had crashings in VWs that were not solved by info given by the Tech Group. One of them was with batch printing to PDFs. I just needed to install some plugin. My Mac is 5 years old.

    • @perezgatell

      I don’t mean to derail the topic but my Mac is 4 years old and I have the same batch printing to PDFs problem. Can you tell me what the plug-in is or where to get it?


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