Vectorworks plugin workflow

A written tutorial for the 2D version of the Vectorworks Designer 2021 plugin

Patrick Chopson avatar
Written by Patrick Chopson
Updated over a week ago

Vectorworks Designer 2021 is a fully integrated 3D modeling tool that provides a BIM workflow. This article will walk through the basic workflow of setting up the plugin, identifying the correct inputs, and exporting building geometry to the web application.

At the moment, the geometry is exported as 2D information into cove.tool's manual mode. Vectorworks is working on a way to export 3D geometry which will allow users to access the 3D Analysis pages. Definitely reach out and let your Vectorworks product rep know you would like the 3d export to cove.tool!

Before We Begin

The Geometry Plugins are BIM extensions that make exporting building geometry, a quick and accurate process. By automating 90% of the workflow, cove.tool gives the time it takes to set up and run a simulation, back to the designer. Make sure you have the most recent plugin version to use this feature, currently Vectorworks 2021 plugin v1.0.

What Geometry is required for a cove.tool project?

Cove.tool runs various types of building performance simulations. Each analysis type requires its own set of inputs and standards which are used to output accurate results and diagrams. The simulations which require geometry values need them in the following categories: Roofs, Floors, Exterior Walls, Windows, Building Height, Skylights (optional), Interior Walls (optional), and Shading devices (optional). If your BIM model contains these objects, then you have the components required to make an accurate analysis model for cove.tool.

The next section will cover the process of extracting area take-offs for all the components required to assign the appropriate model properties, and useful tools and tips for setting up these elements for an error-free export.


Make sure to have Vectorworks 2021 software installed, and open the project.

  1. Download the plugin installation file here - it contains an object that’s a wrapped Marionette Network containing the code for the plugin.

  2. To install it, right-click the “Wrapper” and choose “Convert to Menu Command...“, and give it a name (e.g. “cove.tool Plugin”).

  3. Go to “Tools -> Marionette Commands” and click on “cove.tool Plugin” - the first time it will have a prompt to install the Python requests library which you can let it do.

4. Follow the prompts to log in (use the same credentials as that for the web application) and choose the unit system.

5. Create a cove.tool project - assign it a name, select the building type, location, energy code, and units.

6. In the plugin within Vectorworks, choose the project. Then set the object classifications under Building Settings. It might be different for each model, make sure to match them to the model’s Class Names. It also lets you choose the way the building height is calculated - this example uses Story Levels.

7. Once all the building information is collected and classified, a summary report is displayed. The preview displays the information that is about to be exported and also presents an opportunity to edit it. This step could take a few seconds depending on the complexity of the model. Cross-check the areas to confirm they are correct.

8. After clicking 'ok', the geometry will get uploaded to the selected cove.tool project. This could also take some time, it then opens the Geometry page in the browser with the Manual inputs updated.

9. The project is now hosted within cove.tool and one navigate to the Facade Tool. This tool allows us to modify the fenestration size (add/remove windows), change the window-to-wall ratio (WWR), modify the Visible Transmittance (VT) of the glass, and add shading devices (overhangs, fins).

10. The next step would be to proceed to the Baseline Energy page to access the energy breakdown and customize the inputs for the design.

Happy Modeling!

Related Articles:

Did this answer your question?