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Savvy Symbol Key

version 1.0.8

Users Guide


Created by Joshua Benghiat

Joshua Benghiat Lighting Design



Requirements | Installation | Support

Getting Started

Adding to your Workspace | RegistrationOverview


Insert in the DrawingBuild Symbol List | Multi-Circuit DevicesAdjust Display Parameters | Instrument Maintenance

In Detail

CountingObject Info Parameters | Changing Default Parameters





Vectorworks 12 or higher



If you haven't already, download the Savvy Symbol Key Installer from the JBLD downloads page.


Make sure Vectorworks is not running.  Run the Savvy Symbol Key Installer.  Select your version of Vectorworks. The installer will install a folder called "-JBLD Savvy Symbol Key" in your user Plug-Ins folder, containing the Savvy Symbol Key plug-in object and the Instrument Maintenance menu command.


The Macintosh installer allows you to select a custom location for your Plug-Ins folder.  Windows users with a custom user data location or Mac users having trouble with the installer can download the "Raw installer" and manually drag the "-JBLD Savvy Symbol Key" folder to Plug-Ins.  For more information, see this FAQ.



Please visit http://BenghiatLighting.com/software/support for support options and to report bugs.  


You may also email software(at)BenghiatLighting.com.


Getting Started

To use the Savvy Symbol Key object, you must add it to your Workspace.


 Adding to your Workspace

To add Savvy Symbol Key to an existing workspace: Screen-Cast-Icon-Sm

  1. Select Tools>Workspaces>Workspace Editor.
  2. In the Menus tab, click the disclosure triangle next to JBLD in the list of Menu categories on the left hand side.
  3. Drag Instrument Maintenance to an existing menu on the right or create a new menu.
  4. Select the Tools tab.
  5. Click the disclosure triangle next to JBLD in the list of Tools categories on the left hand side.
  6. Drag the Savvy Symbol Key Plug-In Object to an existing palette on the right or create a new palette.
  7. Click OK.

SK_Add to Workspace



The first time you use the Savvy Symbol Key, you will be asked for a registration number or demo code.  You can also access the registration dialog through the "About" button in the Object Info palette.  The Savvy Symbol Key will not draw without a valid code. 



The Savvy Symbol Key is a plug-in object key to instrumentation.  You can select and order your symbols for the key, as well as set several text and alignment attributes, and show unit type counts.

Spacing for extra wide symbols (like strip lights) or extra large symbols (like a 5K fresnel) is automatically adjusted.

Counts can be subtotaled to count bodies vs lenses.  Symbols which have the same Instrument Type are counted together, allowing for alternate versions of a single type.  Multi-circuit devices are counted properly.

There is also an Instrument Maintenance menu command to allow you to easily view and edit the Light Info Record, whose data appears in the key.


For a list of key features and screenshots, visit the Savvy Symbol Key product page.



 Insert in the Drawing

Click on the Key_Object_Icon Savvy Symbol Key Tool icon, and then click on your drawing to insert.  Because the object is scale independent, you may insert the object in a design layer, on a sheet layer, or in an annotation.


 Build Symbol List

  1. Click the Build Symbol List button in the Savvy Symbol Key's Object Info palette. You will see a dialog with a list of symbols used as Lighting Devices in your drawing.  You can click the top of the columns to sort by symbol name or by device type.
  2. Move items you wuish to use in your key to the right column.  You can select multiple symbols to add at once, or double click a symbol in either column to move it. Screen-Cast-Icon-Sm
  3. If you wish to add a symbol that you have not yet used as a Lighting Device, select Add Unused.  Your chosen symbol will be added to your symbol key list.  Unused symols that are already in your key list are shown in blue.
  4. Use the Up, Down, and Sort buttons to arrange the order of your symbols.  You can also drag the "-" on the left-hand side to reorder.  You can select multiple symbols to move at a time. Screen-Cast-Icon-Sm
  5. You can also break down a symbol to its component parts.  For example, if you have a symbol containing both a douser and a barn door, you can break this down in to two symbols for your key.  Each symbol must have its own Light Info Record.
  6. If you would like to subtotal bodies , insert a marker where you would like to begin and end the subtotal.  You can insert as many pairs as you wish. Screen-Cast-Icon-Sm
  7. If you want your key to be multiple columns, add a column break.  You can insert as many as you wish.  You can also add horizontal dividers and header text.  After you've added it, double-click on header text to edit. Screen-Cast-Icon-Sm
  8. To add a "Typical" symbol, add the Typical marker in your symbol list and select a symbol to use. Screen-Cast-Icon-Sm

 Multi-Circuit Devices

The best way to insert multi-circuit lights in your key is to use a master symbol which contains all the component parts.  If you are using Vectorworks 2011, a symbol containing only other symbols is automatically converted into a multi-circuit device.  You can also design a separate symbol for the key, for example, a shortened version with a break line in the middle.  The Savvy Symbol Key shifts the symbol and its text to elegantly fit your key.

  1. Make sure your composite symbol appears on the Instrument Maintenance list.  If not make sure to add it.  Standard practice is to indicate the wattage for each circuit, not the net wattage of the entire instrument.
  2. Select your Savvy Symbol Key and enter the Build List dialog.
  3. Click Add Unused and select your compound symbol.  Place it in your key list.
  4. Select the multi-circuit symbol and press # Circuits.  Enter the number of circuits for that symbol, and the count will be correct. Screen-Cast-Icon-Sm

Note: For multi-circuit units to count properly, the types and wattages of all the circuit components as well as the symbol in your key must match.  You can check this in Instrument Maintenance and push that data out to your Lighting Devices.

 Adjust Display Parameters

Use the Object Info Palette to adjust the visual spacing and scale of your key.  Use the Text menu to set any font attributes other than size.  You can also add a border and title to the key.  See the next section for an explanation of the object's parameters.


 Instrument Maintenance

The Savvy Symbol Key uses the Light Info record for its data.  The Light Info record contains real-world data about a lighting instrument and is attached to all Spotlight symbols which can be used as Lighting Devices.  Instrument Maintenance allows you to easily edit all the Light Info records in your drawing in one dialog.

  1. Select the Instrument Maintenance menu item.
  2. You will see a dialog listing all the symbols in your document with the Light Info Record attached, which means they have the necessary data to use as Lighting Device Objects.
  3. Click on a symbols Type, Wattage, Weight, or Model Name to edit.  The Model Name field will be used in your symbol key, while the Type field appears in the Lighting Device data, and subsequently, your paperwork.
  4. Adding a backslash ( \ ) anywhere in a text field will force a line break in the symbol key.
  5. After you have changed a data item, be sure to press Update.
  6. You can easily add a new symbol to the list, remove a symbol, or replace the units of a certain type with another symbol.
  7. When you exit the dialog, pressing Done, you have the option of updating all your existing Spotlight Lighting Devices with any updated fields.  You can select Push all data to Lighting Devices to apply the Instrument Maintenance data to all Lighting Devices regardless of whether they have been updated.


  In Detail


The Savvy Symbol Key counts all Lighting Devices whose Type and Wattage match those in the symbol's Light Info Record.  This allows you to have alternate version of an instrument type (for example, overhung / underhung, regular / shortened, etc) and still have them counted as a single type in the key.

For multi-circuit units to count properly, the types and wattages of all the circuit sections as well as the composite symbol must match.  You can check this in Instrument Maintenance and push that data out to your Lighting Devices.

 Object Info Parameters

As with all Plug-In Objects, the first time you place a Savvy Symbol Key in a document, Vectorworks will ask you for default parameters.  You can set the default object parameters for the document by selecting the object’s tool, then clicking on the parameters button Plug_In_Pref_Button in the mode bar.



Parameter Description
x, y The insertion point is the insertion point of the top instrument on your list.
Column Offset The distance, on center, between columns.  In page units.  see fig 1
Item spacing The vertical distance between instruments. The object will add additional distance if a symbol is larger than the unit spacing. In page units.  see fig 1
Auto Rotate

If selected (default) symbols will be rotated in the orientation that minimises vertical distance.


Left margin The maximum distance to the left of the insertion point for symbols to extend. If a symbol exceeds the margin, it will be slid to the right. In page units.  see fig 1
Text distance The distance between the insertion point and the text origin. In page units.  see fig 1
Text width The maximum width of text before it wraps. In page units.  see fig 1
Text size In points. Other text attributes are set though the Text menu.

The scale for your symbols, as a proportion. If this number is not familiar, see the Layer Scale dialog.


Show Wattages Append "@ [wattage]" to an instrument's type.  Note, a blank wattage or a wattage of 0 will not show in the key. 
Show Weights Display the unit's weight, as set in the Light Info Record.  If your drawing uses metric units, the key will display the weight set in Light Info Record M.
Show Lamp Types Display the unit's lamp information, as set in the Light Info Record.  Note, this is the lamps spec or ANSI code, as distinct from the wattage.  You may include the wattage here in lieu of the wattage field.
Show Counts Select to show instrument counts.
Show Column Headers Will display the headers "Symbol," "Description," and "Count" above their respective columns.  The text size depends on the Title Text Size.
Heading Alignment When you add a header to the list, it can align to the left or center.
Draw Border Select to draw a border around the symbol key.  The border will use the object's attributes. SK_Screen_Shot-09-Borders

Border Type Choose between single and double lines.
Border Separation The separation between double lines.
Border Padding The distance, in page units, between the bounding box of the symbol key and the border.
Draw Title Draws a title for the symbol key box.  You need not draw a border to display the title.  Border Padding affects the title even is the border is not drawn.
Title The text of the title, e.g. "Symbol Key."
Title Text Size The size of the title text
Title Text Position Above the border, Inside the border's double lines or on the single line, Below the top of the border.
Show Data
Shows your symbol lists as text arrays.
Refresh Redraws the object, which is useful if you have changed a symbol's geometry or database.
Build List Use the resulting dialog to select and sort the symbols you with to use for your key.
Position Filter For future use.
Make Default Will use the object's current setting for future new Key Symbols.
About… Check the version, enter registration information, and get help.



fig 1

 Changing Default Parameters

To change the default parameters for all new documents, choose Tools>Scripts>VectorScript Plug-in Editor…, select Savvy Symbol Key, click the Parameters button, and edit the default values.  Please note, if you install an update the object, you will have to redo these custom settings.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 April 2017 13:12
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