Custom Device fields

Many people need to add extra fields to device records either to store metadata or to integrate with their existing business systems. Here’s how to do that and how to display this information on the drawing if you need to.

Open the Vectorworks Plug-in Manager


Select Device and click Edit Definition


In your case you will find Device under the Third-party Plug-ins tab. Here it’s in Custom Plug-ins because I’m the developer :-)

Go to the parameters tab and click the New… button


Set up your new parameter

  1. Give it a name. I recommend keeping this to a single word without spaces or special characters.
  2. You can also optionally set a more friendly display name that will be shown in the Object Info Palette
  3. Choose the parameter type. We support Text, Radio Buttons, and Pop-up. Pop-up is particularly useful where you have a specific chioce of valid input.
  4. Set the default value – can be empty if you like.

Exit all dialogs with OK and close the Plug-in Manager.

Now let’s see what we’ve done.

Enter a device group and select the tag


Now every device will have a field called ‘IPaddress’. This gets displayed is all related dialogs, So if you click on a device with the Edit tool you’ll see the new field in the dialog. If you do Make Device List, ‘IPaddress’ appears as one of your choices.

So far so good, but how do we see this on the drawing?

Visualising user device fields

What we would like to see is this. But how do we get there?

Locate the ‘dev_rec’ record format in the Resource Browser


Right-click and select Edit…

Add a new field called ‘IPaddress’ to dev_rec


Click the New… button to open the Field dialog.

Give the field exactly the same name as your Device parameter – in this case IPaddress

The fields type should be Text – we don’t support numeric fields. If you need numbers type them in as text.

Exit dialogs with OK.

Locate the symbol ‘dev_label_generic’ in the Resource Browser


This is the symbol used to create device label graphics and text. It’s located in the ‘system_symbols’ folder of your document.

Right click on it and select Edit 2D Component.

Select All to see what’s there


The reason for this is that some items don’t have default text so you can’t see them if they aren’t selected. In the next step you’ll add your own text item for the IP address and you don’t want it to be over the rack location for example.

Create a text item in the symbol


Change fonts, size, colours etc. to match your particular style.

Go to the Modify / Link Text to Record menu command


With the text item you just created selected – do the Modify / Link Text to Record menu command. In the dialog select the Format ‘dev_rec’ and the Field ‘IPaddress’.

Click OK.

Text is now linked to the value of ‘IPaddress’


It disappears because the default value of this for the symbol definition is empty. Not to worry :-)

Click Exit Symbol to commit the changes.

Now use the Edit tool to modify one of our devices


The IPaddress field is displayed and I’ve just changed the value. Click OK and…

Ta-dah !!!


There it is.

One last cool thing


I said that user fields appear in the dialogs. Check this out…

Make a device list.

Update Device data direct from the list


Type you data into the spreadsheet – it updates the drawing right away.

Now that’s useful :-)

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