Vectorworks Training with Archoncad

May 29, 2015 5 min read

Editor's note: Vectorworks' trainer Jonathan Pickup, the man behind Archoncad, sits down with Novedge and chats about his passion for training.


Novedge: Someone once said "Hire for passion and intensity, for everything else there's training". But what if you feel passionate about training?

Jonathan Pickup: As you know I am very passionate about training. Training is my life, it is the place where I can make a difference. I will give you an example: I have a client that recently wanted to leave Vectorworks.  This client's Firm had been using the software really poorly. They wanted to spend ten times as much, to change to a competing program. I don't understand why they would rather do that, than upskill themselves in Vectorworks and use it as effectively as any other program. You know, Vectorworks is extremely powerful, and in the areas like the ones covered by  Landmark and Spotlight it has no comparison. If you use Vectorworks well, there is non need to move away from it. Some people have been using Vectorworks since it was called Minicad version 6, or earlier, and they have never kept up to date.

Novedge: We have just heard about Vectorworks 2016 ;  how do you make sure you are using Vectorworks 2016 well, once you download it from VSS (Vectorworks Service Select)?

Jonathan Pickup: The very day Vectorworks 2016 will be released, you are going to be able to download it. But how are you going to get the best out of it? What a lot of people do is they copy their work space from one version to the other. There is a problem with that: first of all, the work spaces from 2015 won't have the new tools. So straight away you won't find the new things available to you. Some people have been doing this for years, and they have no idea what tool thy have access to, because they keep copying their work space from one to another. And they keep missing out on new tools. Professionals should really continue educating themselves, and improve their skills just a little bit; every month they should ask themselves : " where should I get a little bit of Vectorworks Training?" And of course I say that because I run a monthly subscription group and every month I run online webinars where you can learn a little bit more. During the course of one year,  your use of Vectorworks will be completely changed. If you are using Vectorworks really effectively and you get regular monthly training, there is no way you would ever consider leaving Vectorworks. You will be so much more powerful. Five minutes a day,….a couple of hours a month… and your return on the investment you make on your education will be huge. As a famous Philadelphia guy once said "The best investment you can make is to invest in your head", his name was Benjamin Franklin.  

 Novedge: You give out great tips daily, is that right?

Jonathan Pickup:Just about every day I post a tip on my website. They are like little daily candies and I always try to show a picture that goes with the tip. Vectorworks Tip 266Check out Vectorworks Tip 266.

One other thing that I do to show people what my website is about is a monthly webinar.  The webinar is a short introduction to the Archoncad website. We will look at the resources that are there and how to use them. If you are new to my website you may find that this introduction will allow you to get a lot more from this website. There are several manuals, movies, podcasts, and library files here. This webinar will help you find where things are stored and how they are tagged. Did I mention it is free and interactive? Anybody can ask questions and I will be very happy to oblige. Vectorworks Tip 264 Vectorworks Tip 264
 Novedge: There are a lot of resources in Archoncad, and there's also the piece of mind of having a place where you can always find help. How much does a membership comes down to?

Jonathan Pickup:That's right, there are a lot of resources on my website: 1600 movies, 80 manuals…..the amount of stuff is staggering. It comes down to about $25 a month, maybe less…..perhaps the cost of a lunch. Where I am from (New Zealand), that is a round of drinks at the pub! I receive great feedback from my clients. Some of them came on board when they were in between jobs and they used the downtime to go through my movies. Needles to say, they are now busier than ever. And they credit that with the power they got from using Vectorworks to its full potential. In 2007 and 2009 there were a lot of people in between jobs. That was the perfect time to, as I call it, cut the firewood and be ready for winter. Training is like that, you have to do the training ahead of time, so when the jobs roll in and it's time to get busy you are ready to use that training. And while we are speaking in metaphors, to collect a wheat harvest you don't just show up at harvest time. Like a farmer, you have to fertilize the ground, you have to put the seeds in at the right time , you have to weed……you have to do all those things so at harvest time, you have the fullest harvest you could possibly have. And that's what I think training should be like: you should be training now, you should be training in small chunks every month, and you should build up the skills.

 Novedge: You are not telling us that Vectorworks is that hard to master, are you?

Jonathan Pickup:Vectorworks is easy enough to use, but wouldn't it be better to get with a group of people that have already discovered it and can guide you through it? When people say they are going to learn by hits and misses, normally is more misses than hits. And I do a lot of that for you, so when I come to teach you, I will show you the most efficient way of doing things. In my online sessions, called Interactive Workshops,  you have people from around the world joining and tackling a specific subject. If you are subscriber you gain access to a special page that has all the sessions times and synopsis on it. There are several sessions each month that you can choose from, and they are available for different time zones too. When you join one of these sessions ( we use a software for online meetings called Citrix, GoToMeeting) you meet me online and you also meet other people willing to learn and to discuss that specific topic. You can talk and interact with the other attendees or you can just watch and learn. Sometimes when I demo for my groups I am asked to slow down or repeat a passage. For me it's very  important that everybody understand what I am doing, I am there to make them better. I always record my sessions, so that my subscribers can go back and see what was done.  

 I try to make people's lives easier, and have fun doing it!


Archoncad is a gold mine for Vectorworks users. Make sure you pay Jonathan Pickup a visit and take advantage of his daily tips , his website tours and his weekly sessions. 

For Jonathan Pickup's Manuals and everything else Vectorworks , come take a look at the Novedge website.

 Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.


Related articles

Vectorworks 2016 and Beyond
The Edge: Archoncad and the Vectorworks Design Summit
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