Increase Vectorworks speed

Do you notice that your Vectorworks software is slow or unstable? It may help to customize your settings! 

This can be done on two levels: your computer settings and your Vectorworks settings. If you experience problems with all documents, even blank files, we recommend that you first have a look at the computer settings and Vectorworks settings. If problems occur only with specific Vectorworks files, you should look at the document settings.

Computer settings

Focus on these settings, especially if Vectorworks seems unstable or is working slow with all your Vectorworks files - also with blank documents.

Operating system

Make sure Vectorworks supports your operating system. You can check this in the compatibility table for macOS or Windows.

If your operating system is too old for your Vectorworks version, please update your system. If necessary, contact your IT manager first. If your operating system is too recent for your Vectorworks version, we recommend upgrading your Vectorworks to a more recent version. Our sales team in the Netherlands, Belgium (NL/FR), France or Poland is happy to look at the possibilities together with you.

System requirements

It is important that your computer meets the system requirements of Vectorworks for macOS or Windows.

The system requirements under ‘absolute minimum’ will allow you to get started with Vectorworks, but you will notice a delay with complex drawings (such as BIM files, extensive 3D modeling or complex 2D and 3D geometry). For these applications, it is recommended to meet at least the requirements under ‘Entry-level Profile’. 

If your computer does not have the ‘absolute minimum’ system requirements, you should upgrade your device. If necessary, contact your IT manager.

Graphics card

On Windows computers, your graphics card may be working on outdated drivers. In that case, check the type of graphics card you have and update your drivers for NVIDIA or AMD. This is not required for macOS: the driver updates will run with your OS updates.

For Windows desktop computers, it is important to connect your screen directly to the dedicated graphics card. If you do not connect the screen directly to the graphics card, your screen may use the weaker Intel card. This reduces display quality. Therefore, always use the HDMI port; this is the port with the metal structure (see image). If this port is not present on the back of your computer, use a different HDMI port and follow the computer instructions.  

If you are working on a laptop, check if it has multiple graphics cards. If so, your laptop might use the weaker Intel card as a standard card. Link your Vectorworks to the dedicated graphics card. To do this, follow the steps for macOS or Windows.


Make sure your laptop is connected to the power network. Many laptops that run on battery, do not have optimal power management for high performance use. 

On Windows laptops, be sure to adjust the power performance settings to ‘best performance’ for optimal use.


Your antivirus program may block the Vectorworks program or its essential components. Make sure that Vectorworks is set as a secure program in your antivirus software. Contact your antivirus support service for more information. 

Unnecessary software

Computers often contain non-essential programs and bloatware. These programs are installed standard on your computer and can consume a lot of your computer’s performance. Some programs may even interfere with various Vectorworks functionalities. Ask your computer’s manufacturer or your IT manager to determine which standard programs can be removed so that your computer can work faster and more efficiently.


It is possible to store Vectorworks files on a server. If you want to do this, make sure you have a strong and stable network connection. Ask your IT manager to have a look at your connection if you notice any network related problems.

Installation of your Vectorworks program

By default, Vectorworks will be installed in ‘Program files’ (on Windows) or ‘Apps’ (on macOS). When you install Vectorworks at a different location, instability problems may occur. In this case, remove Vectorworks from this new location and reinstall your software in the correct location. Your installer will automatically indicate the default location.

Vectorworks settings

Vectorworks Preferences

To open your Vectorworks Preferences, go to ‘Tools/Options/Vectorworks Preferences’.

  • Check your settings in the ‘Autosave’ pane. If you are storing your Vectorworks files on a server, it is important to keep your backups locally. If the backups are also stored on the server, Vectorworks may appear unstable due to the time it takes to make copies of the file regularly.
  • Up to Vectorworks 2021: If your computer meets the requirements for ‘Absolute minimum’ or ‘Entry-level Profile’, adjust the ‘Navigation Graphics’ in the ‘Display’ pane. Choose ‘Good Performance and Compatibility’ or ‘Best Compatibility’ for a smoother screen calculation during, for example, zooming in your drawing.
  • In the ‘Session’ pane, do not increase the number of undo operations too much. The more undo operations, the more memory your Vectorworks will use to remember these operations.
  • Never change the location of the user folder in the ‘User Folders’ pane. . When you move the user folder, Vectorworks may become unstable.

Document preferences

Check these settings carefully if Vectorworks seems unstable or is working slow with specific Vectorworks files, or with all files created from the same template or blanc document.

  • The ‘Unified View’ option is active by default. You can find it in the ‘Legacy 2D’ pane. When the option ‘Turn off unified view’ is enabled, Vectorworks will react more slowly. If enabling this option is part of your workflow, please contact our support team to discuss the possibilities together.
  • If you notice delays while drawing in 3D, adjust your shaded settings. Go to ‘View/Rendering/Shaded Options’, and set the quality for detail and shadows to ‘Low’. When presenting your model, you can increase this option again in the viewport settings.
  • If you want to use sketch styles, apply them only in your presentation or activate the option temporarily. Working continually in sketch style rendering can slow down navigation in Vectorworks. 
  • Drop shadows allow you to add depth impressions to a 2D drawing. However, only apply drop shadows in your presentation, or activate the option temporarily. The more drop shadows are added, the more delay you will notice while navigating in Vectorworks. Drop shadows can be easily managed by toggling the “Drop Shadows” button in the Mode bar.

Program optimization

  • Vectorworks may work slowly, or may result instable if your workspace is damaged. For example, when working with migrated workspaces from an older of Vectorworks version. It is possible that this workspace does not contain the latest version of a tool, which can create conflicts. Select a standard workspace from the ‘Tools/Workspaces’ menu to check if this solves the problem. To avoid this kind of problems, don’t migrate workspaces to another version of Vectorworks.
  • If you notice that Vectorworks is unstable or working slow, perform the same actions on another computer or user. Problems may also be related to your user data. If Vectorworks is working smoothly on the other computer, please contact our support team. They can help you check your user settings in detail. 

Document optimization

  • Slow reaction often occurs after importing a DWG/DXF file. If you work with a DWG/DXF file, import it into a blank document and then purge it before you paste the content into your drawing. If your drawing is only needed for tracing, you can import the DWG/DXF into a blank document and create a subscription in your current file. Watch our video tutorial on importing a DWG/DXF.

  • When you have been working on a document for a while, the document may get cluttered with redundant resources. It is a good idea to occasionally purge your drawing with the ‘Tools/Purge’ command. On the left, you can select the unused resources to be removed from the drawing. At the bottom right, you can choose to remove duplicates. This way, Vectorworks does not have to calculate redundant elements in your drawing.
  • Keep an eye on the complexity of your objects. This is especially important for imported objects from software such as Sketchup, DWG, 3Ds Max, … the more segments or control points an object has, the complexer the calculation of the object. This applies to both 2D and 3D objects. Avoid objects with heavy geometry by following these strategies:
    • First look at your object in the Vectorworks library, before importing.
    • If it is a simple object, consider modelling/drawing it yourself. 
    • Remove redundant objects.
    • Look for a simpler version of your object.
    • Simplify your geometry using the ‘Modify/Simplify Mesh’ command if the object is a mesh object. If your object is made out of polygons, use the ‘Simplify Polys’ command in the ‘Modify/Drawing Aids’ menu.

  • For objects that are repeated, use a symbol. Vectorworks can recognize symbols as identical objects, and therefore calculates the duplicate instances faster. For repeating groups or single objects, Vectorworks will calculate each instance individually.
  • The more objects are visible on your screen, the longer it will Vectorworks to calculate all those objects. Filter your view by toggling visibility settings for classes and layers, so that not everything is visible at the same time. This will speed up the calculation process considerably.
  • If you want to give an object a repetitive fill, use hatches or tiles instead of copying the repeated elements. By using this type of fills, the calculation is less complex, and you will have less work on customization if the surface changes afterwards.

If you continue having problems with the speed of your Vectorworks, even after all these changes, please contact our support team for further advice.

Last update: 29/03/2022
Julie is the author of this solution article.

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