Vectorworks 2015 and Older
VECTORWORKS DATA EXCHANGE
Data Exchange is generally pretty reliable, but there are some things that can cause it to screw up. Some are bugs, others are things you may not have realized were important.
If you have two .vwx files open in Vectorworks at the same time and they both use Data Exchange, there is a bug in all versions of VW prior to 2015 that can cause data to go into the wrong .xml file. When Lightwright reads the data from the .xml files, the data winds up in the wrong LW file.
If you rework a plot from one show to make a plot for a new show, and you are starting the new show using the previous show’s Lightwright file, RESET ALL HIGHLIGHTS AND CLEAR ALL HISTORY in the Lightwright file before beginning work on the new show. Because Vectorworks UID’s are not guaranteed to be unique, if you add a new light to the plot in Vectorworks and it’s UID happens to match an old deleted light in the Lightwright file, Lightwright will restore the deleted light, which can cause all kinds of chaos.
If the Lightwright and Vectorworks files disagree with each other, do a “Complete Export on Exit” in Vectorworks and then switch to Lightwright. If Lightwright does not automatically reconcile the two files, it means Vectorworks and Lightwright are looking at different .xml files or the .xml file is corrupted. Re-select the appropriate .xml file in Lightwright, or delete it entirely and start Data Exchange over again.
On the Mac, if the name of the folder containing the Data Exchange .xml file contains a backslash (\), or if any of the folders containing that folder have backslashes in their names, Vectorworks will not be able to communicate with Lightwright. This is a limitation of Vectorworks.
Vectorworks doesn’t support case sensitivity in HFS file systems. If case sensitivity is turned on, it can cause all kinds of problems, including not being able to read/write files on these systems. This includes local hard drives formatted for HFS as well as network servers. Be sure you do NOT have case sensitivity enabled for these systems.
Watch out for symbols in Vectorworks that have a space character at the end of the symbol name. Lightwright strips all leading and trailing spaces from data coming into Lightwright, as it can be baffling to users who can’t tell the difference between S4-10 and S4-10 .
If you get a message from Lightwright saying that the .xml file is damaged or not a valid .xml file, then it means that some piece of field data in one or more lights has an undefined character in it. If you look at the .xml file using a file browser or other utility, you can look through it (it’s just text). Undefined characters are often shown as an upside-down question mark. In Vectorworks, undefined characters are shown as an empty box in the text. Eliminating these undefined characters will make the .xml file work again.
Don’t try to add things such as top hats, irises, or color scrollers in Lightwright and expect them to automagically appear in Vectorworks connected to the appropriate light. Vectorworks does some special work to attach accessories and static accessories to the light, and this can only be done by Vectorworks, not Lightwright. If you add them in Lightwright, they will often be Lights in Vectorworks, not accessories or static accessories.
If you are using Vectorworks 2009 or a version of Vectorworks 2010 older than SP1, DO NOT COPY AND PASTE LIGHTING DEVICES IN VECTORWORKS, as this will corrupt your data (it creates duplicate UID's). Edit/Duplicate, Mirror, and Option/Alt-dragging are okay.
Lightwright stores the location of the .xml file relative to the location of the .lw5 file. If you move the .vwx and .xml file to a different place, then Lightwright will not be able to find the .xml file.
Do NOT use the Vectorworks option to save the .xml file to a Custom Location. If this option is used and the custom location becomes unavailable, Data Exchange will stop working, but there won’t be any warning from either Vectorworks or Lightwright. Always keep related .vwx, .xml, and Lightwright files in the same folder at all times.
If you want to save multiple backup copies of your Lightwright files, use File/Save a Backup instead of File/Save As. Save A Backup makes a new copy of the .lw5 file, with an optional timestamp as part of the filename (see Preferences), without renaming the .lw5 file you are working on and without disturbing the Data Exchange .xml file.
If the .vwx file is named Hello.vwx, then by default the .xml file will be Hello.xml
You start Lightwright and choose Hello.xml, so Vectorworks and Lightwright are using Hello.xml to exchange data with each other.
If you use Save As... in Vectorworks or simply rename the Hello.vwx file to Goodbye.vwx, then Vectorworks will use a new file named Goodbye.xml.
However, Lightwright will still be using Hello.xml. As a result, the two programs cannot exchange data with each other.
If you give the .vwx file a new name (by using Save As... or by renaming it), the .xml file associated with it will change, too. However, Lightwright will still be reading and writing to the original .xml file.
Dropbox will not sync files with / or \ in the file name.
If you are using Microsoft Windows, Dropbox will not sync files with any of these seven characters in the file name:
and do not include a period or space at the end of a file or folder name.
Do not use Data Exchange with files while they are in Dropbox. Instead, drag all of the files (.vwx, .xml, and .lw5) onto your Desktop and work with them, then drag them back to Dropbox when you are done. This is because Dropbox syncs data between files on a byte-by-byte basis, which means files can be locked while bytes are being modified Dropbox also automatically stops syncing when it detects frequent changes to files, and syncing may not resume for some time. For instance, if you use Lightwright to make a lot of changes or ask it to select lights in Vectorworks, the .xml file may not contain data that either program tried to write to it. In addition, anyone else trying to use the files is likely to get incomplete data from the Dropbox files.
AVG Antivirus for Mac
Using Lightwright and Data Exchange when this utility is active prevents Lightwright from writing to the .xml file that Lightwright and Vectorworks use to communicate.
WEB ROOT Antivirus for Mac
This utility's anti-keylogger feature prevents you from shift-clicking in many Lightwright windows.
If your symbols in Vectorworks are unexpectedly replaced by rectangles, it’s because Vectorworks can’t find a symbol with the name specified in either Lightwright (via the .xml file) or in it’s own Object Info Palette. This is often caused by degree symbols, the cure is to remove the degree symbols from your symbols (including their default data) and in Lightwright. For more information, refer to pages 210-211 of the LW6 Reference Manual (page 151 in the LW5 Reference Manual), available in Lightwright’s Help menu.
This utility can keep Lightwright (and Vectorworks and Word) from saving anything to your hard drive, especially the "Avast Reputation Services" version of it.
If Lightwright tells you that the .xml file generated by Vectorworks is invalid or not .xml, then there is probably some bad data in one or more of your light's data fields in Vectorworks. To solve this problem, I made a freeware tool that will zap the bad bits and send the good data back to Vectorworks. Install the tool, then launch it and you'll see instructions. You will need Vectorworks open with the .vwx file that is sending invalid .xml data.
This software is FREEWARE, no technical support is available.
Invalid .xml file