Connection Tools

These tools allow you to create and modify connections. Their behaviour depends on the context to give you quick access to many functions.

Connect

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The Connect Tool lets you make connections between the sockets in your devices. There are five connection styles available in connectCAD:

1 Straight – polylines with sharp corners
2 Round – lines with rounded corners
3 Arrow – labelled arrows showing to and from device/socket
4 Layer-to-Layer – connections between sockets / devices on different layers
5 Ext Link – connections to links in other documents

Here’s how it works. Select the Connect Tool. Click on an output socket, and move the mouse towards an input. A blue polyline joins the output to the mouse showing a preview of the circuit path. Each time you click the mouse you add an intermediate point to the path allowing you to route the line around other devices. See this in action on YouTube.

As the mouse moves over an input the cursor gets larger to show you that you can connect. If you click the connection is made and the circuit is drawn.

The Connect Tool is used for all five connection type (Straight, Rounded, Arrows, Layer-to-Layer). You can flip between them during the connect process by pressing 1, 2 & 3. When you press 4 the Layer selection dialog appears and you can change drawing layer during connect.

Connecting to other documents works like this: first you place Links on the sockets you want to connect to from the outside. Then save and close the document. Now open the other document containing the sockets that you want to connect to the links you just created. Begin a connection in the normal way and press ‘5’. This brings up a file selector, you choose the document you want to connect to, pick the link from the list and press OK to connect.

keyboard commands:

While you’re using the Connect Tool there are some neat keyboard commands:

1 – selects polyline-style
2 – selects rounded-style
3 – selects arrow-style
4 – selects Layer-to-Layer
5- selects external Link
C – zooms in 2x
V – zooms out 2x
Q – cancels the operation
Z – removes the last point you defined.

You can define up to 8 points to help route your connection nicely.

New in connectCAD 2015: Connect now lets you begin a circuit from a Link in another document. Here’s how it works:

  1. Shift-click with the Connect tool at an empty spot in the drawing where you want the Link bubble to appear.
  2. the Link-select dialogs appear – choose the file and the Link to connect from
  3. a Link preview is shown and the blue preview line appears as normal when connecting
  4. add points to route the line and connect to the destination socket.
  5. click on socket to complete connection from external Link to current document.

Connect Tool settings

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Connect tool settings:

Auto-pan, moves the drawing when you move the cursor out of the window during Connect.
Snap to Grid, locks the circuit polyline to intervals of half the snap-grid
Automatically colour circuits when a Legend is defined.
Show the device and socket names or tags in message box.
Show feedback, displays the socket names in a window during connect. Useful for working zoomed out.

Vectorworks Reshape tool

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Although this tool is a native part of Vectorworks, it’s so useful that we include it in our workspace as standard. Reshape lets you edit any polyline-based object. And Circuits are based on polylines. So if you click on a Circuit or a selected group of Circuits you can modify and edit the vertices with this tool.

The example shown above – dragging multiple vertices – is just one of the uses of Reshape. Check out the Vectorworks documentation to find out more.

Hopover

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The Hopover tool lets you hop one circuit over another if you get your wires crossed. All the tool does is put a small arc in the circuit path. Clicking again on the arc removes it.

(In all honesty, here at connectCAD we don’t like hop-overs. If you need a hop-over there’s usually a better way of drawing it. But hey, the choice is yours.)

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Place Link puts a Link object on a socket. Links mark a destination socket as externally connected and make the details of the socket and device visible outside the document so others can connect to it. You can put Links on inputs and outputs and make connections to and from them in other documents. It’s best practice to factor your designs into modules and use Links to export the inputs and outputs of sub-systems, then connect these on higher level drawings.

Each Link must have a name, so once you’ve placed a link, type a name in the Label field in the Object Info Palette. Usually one would choose a name that reflects the function of the socket at a system level.

If you haven’t saved your document at all you get a warning dialog telling you to save first. Links store the absolute path of the document to allow Circuits to update if the Linked socket details get changed.

Disconnect Device

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deletes all the connections from a device.

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