A vector is a line or a curve that is created using special graphics software. Each aspect of the vector is defined by a mathematical equation that determines its location, appearance, and properties. As a result, it can be scaled in a drawing without compromising the image quality.

A PDF file that is imported to an Earthwork job may contain vectors. You can identify a vector in a drawing by looking at its edges—a vector will always appear smooth no matter how large you make it or how close you zoom in.

The application recognizes vectors in PDF files as distinct objects and provides tools for easily digitizing them. Unlike a pixel-based line, which must be digitized by tracing the line’s contours, a vector can be digitized by simply selecting it.

If a PDF file that is imported to a job contains vectors, the Vector tool on the speedbar is enabled in the Takeoff, Area, Trench, and Len/EA tabs. You can use the Vector tool in conjunction with other digitizing tools to create annotations from vectors. For example, you can use Single El with Vector to select a vector and create an annotation in a single step.

You can also use Vector with Point or Trace to create annotations using a combination of vector and non-vector functionality. For example, you can begin digitizing a line using Point and then use Single El to select a vector and finish the annotation.

Note: When using a combination of Vector and Point, Trace, or Snap to create a single annotation, Point, Trace, or Snap must be used first.

In addition, you can use the Vector tool in conjunction with the Join and Multiple Join functions in the All Tasks pane to join selected vectors.

An example of a vector PDF file in a job is shown below.

A PDF that contains vectors will most likely contain multiple layers of vectors that can be viewed together or separately. The names of the vector layers are displayed in a window to the left of the drawing in the Manage Earthwork Estimates screen. You can select which layer(s) to display at any given time. See the Help topic on Using Vector Layers for more information on vector layers.

When working with Earthwork estimates, toggle Vector on and off as needed to create annotations in the way that works best for you. If necessary, you can disable vector functionality for all newly imported files by selecting the Disable Vector Import option on the Preferences screen.

Vectors can be digitized using the Vector Tools Reference on the speedbar.