A peek under the hood…

You don’t have to understand the inner workings of connectCAD in order to use it, but knowing a bit more will help you get the most out of it. You will need to be quite familiar with Vectorworks to follow this.

Simple CAD drawings comprising lines and text may mean something visually to us humans when we read them, but the computer has a hard time making sense of it. Vectorworks allows you to attach data records to the objects in your drawing and these are what connectCAD uses to track connectivity in your drawing.



Each Device is represented as a Group containing a Device object, Socket objects, and other graphics to make it look nice. The details of the device (e.g. name, make, model etc.) are stored in the parameters of the Device object.

Device label object


The Device object acts as the visual label of the device and also stores all details relating to the device (e.g. name, make, model etc.) in its parameters. When the Device object is selected you can see / edit the parameter values in the Object Info Palette.

The Device object draws itself by placing a symbol on the drawing. If that symbol definition contains text linked to record values, these will be driven from the Device parameters. Which symbol is used by the object is defined in the “Symbol” parameter. This lets you customise device labels for different applications.



Socket objects have a Universal Unique ID stored in their Object Name, this ID is used to track connections between sockets. The socket meta-data (signal, connector etc.) and the data needed to draw the socket are stored in the object parameters. You can view / edit these in the Object Info Palette when a socket is selected.

Socket objects draw themselves by placing a pair of symbols on the drawing – the ConnSymbol and the TextSymbol. Which symbols are used is determined by the values of these parameters of the socket object. Here’s how it works:

ConnSymbol controls the graphic look of the socket. The socket type gets added as a suffix to the symbol name. So the socket shown above draws the symbol ‘skt_con_OUT’. If we change the ‘Type” to IO then the symbol ‘con_skt_IO’ gets drawn.

TextSymbol controls the text displayed around the socket. Here the orientation gets added as a suffix to the symbol name. So the socket shown has the symbol ‘skt_txt_R’ drawn, and the values displayed are driven through linked text in the symbol definition.



Each Circuit is represented as a Circuit object. Circuits store the UUID’s of the start and end sockets plus their device and socket details as part of their parametric object record. You can see these details in the Object Info Palette.

Circuits can have various styles:

  • straight polyline
  • rounded polyline
  • arrow
  • link

Link style circuits join sockets on different layers and on different documents. Like arrow circuits they have a label showing what the arrow is connecting to but in link-style circuits the label is drawn as a rounded ‘pill’ type of box to differentiate from same-layer arrows.

connectCAD record formats

The Record Formats and symbols used by connectCAD can be accessed via the Resource Browser. The symbols are located in the ‘system-symbols” folder of a connectCAD document. You can edit the system symbols to change their appearance – for example, you will certainly want to modify the Company Contact and Company Logo symbols to comply with your own brand, and we encourage you to do this.

Customising system symbols

You can edit connectCAD system symbols to suit your particular style and needs. We will gladly offer help and advice if you want to customise your system. But do be aware that connectCAD Limited supports the standard version of connectCAD only. That said we will always try to resolve any issue.

Feel free to experiment but bear in mind that these symbols have to interact with connectCAD tools and commands. Changing them can sometimes cause subtle problems associated with Vectorworks object detection that are quite hard to track down. Proceed step-by-step and test each change you make carefully.


connectCAD Solutions is committed to the concept of an open data model within the Vectorworks environment. The data in the drawings is yours to use in any way you choose. All the data records discussed above are fully accessible using standard Vectorworks commands. We hope that you will take advantage of this unique capability to extend the power and scope of connectCAD.

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