File Performance Checklist

The role of the job captain is to keep a file clean, organized, and functional. This is done by coordinating post audit clean ups and performing regular checks on key file structures. The BIM Manual includes a self audit check list, as does this BIM Blog. There are also tips on keeping your file clean located here, here, and here.

These lists include items for file organization and cleanliness, but may not focus specifically on file functionality. Here is an abridged bullet point list for checking and cleaning items that may slow a file down and make basic operations (send/receive, reserve, update drawing, etc.) tedious.

NOTE: Before running any clean up or deletion of project items, always save a .pln to your desk top or file server as a back up to prevent lost work. A certain level of care needs to be maintained to avoid lost work during routine file maintenance


  • Polygon Count (all visible and unlocked should not exceed 4,000,000 polygons:
    • Check content on Temp Hide layer(s), iteration studies, etc. and remove all unused
    • Clear all furniture, landscape and decorations that are better placed in Twinmotion
  • Library Manager:
    • Purge Master_GDL.gsm elements from embedded library (check for “From Library 201101” folder in particular).
    • Delete unused embedded surfaces and objects
    • Check that Embedded Library does not exceed 250MB
    • Fix missing and duplicate reports
  • Project Map/View Map:
    • Purge unused “independent” sections and elevations
    • Remove unused, redundant, or empty worksheets and details
    • Remove any unused 2d drafted content from work sheets (iterative details, unused copies of model content, etc.)
  • Attributes:
    • Delete (and replace) outdated or iterative surfaces, composites, and custom profiles
  • Drawing Manager:
    • Remove missing internal drawings
    • Remove missing pdf/dwg’s placed from non-shared locations (IE downloads and desk top folders on user end devices).

21 ARCHICAD Party Fouls!

There are certain things we should never do in ARCHICAD, or at the very least, avoid at all costs. Here is a brief list of things to never get caught doing in your projects:

  1. DO NOT Mask out and put manual text over a schedule on a layout
  2. DO NOT Put a fill over a sloppy junction in plan or section
  3. DO NOT Draft an elevation element that can/should be modeled
  4. DO NOT Grab all of one element type to set as operators or targets in a solid element operation
  5. DO NOT Work all day or multiple days without a send/receive or save
  6. DO NOT Manually overriding a text dimension rather than tracking down the rogue 1/64″
  7. DO NOT Use the bold marquee to stretch/move/delete unless you intend to edit every visible element on every story in the project
  8. DO NOT Copy/Paste from a file without checking for attribute pollution
  9. DO NOT Store model clutter on a hidden layer unless it will be used in the future
  10. DO NOT Use high resolution images for custom surfaces
  11. DO NOT Import custom GDL/SKP/RFA elements without checking polygon count and file size
  12. DO NOT Model anything farther from project 0,0,0 than necessary
  13. DO NOT Allow the view map to gather disorganized views or floating views outside folders
  14. DO NOT Save views with CUSTOM or MISSING view settings
  15. DO NOT Embed pdf’s and dwg’s in a file unless they are part of the documentation and they have a relatively small file size (10MB max)
  16. DO NOT Ignore the library loading report for missing or duplicated parts
  17. DO NOT Ignore the error report tab
  18. DO NOT Modify existing meshes; only add/subtract with additional model components
  19. DO NOT Save objects as objects/door leafs/etc. for custom GDL parts
  20. DO NOT Use 10 elements to model something where 1 element will work
  21. DO NOT Customize drawing names in place of properly naming the view and/or viewpoint

I’m sure there are plenty of other ‘bad practices’ not included on this list. These are just a few things that happen from time to time, and that we should try to avoid in the future. As always, with ARCHICAD, there are so many ways to approach any modeling and documenting problem, and we should always be looking for the best way possible.

ARCHICAD Crash Recovery

when ARCHICAD crashes, be sure to recover immediately, or the crash recovery could be lost. Crash recovery is reliable if you follow these steps:

  1. Close ALL instances of ARCHICAD. This means closing and quitting completely (after a send and receive)
  2. Open the ARCHICAD version that crashed. In ARCHICAD 23 and newer, the crash recovery is in the recently accessed files list. They will be highlighted red. Select from this crash recovery, open, and immediately send and receive changes to sync the local data.

If you open from the teamwork menu, instead of the recent files list, the crash recovery is usually lost. If open ARCHICAD back with another instance of ARCHICAD open, you will most likely not get the “recent files” list, and may lose the crash recovery and any work done since the last send and receive.

For more on teamwork tips, see the following links:

Trouble shooting teamwork errors

Teamwork Etiquette

Using the Teamwork Palette

And for fun, teamwork messages

3d/2d Reveals and Control Joints (Opening Tool)

The opening tool is relatively new to the ARCHICAD tool kit, but it can serve a wide range of functions to sculpt a little extra detail into the model and documents. The biggest advantage to the opening tool over other methods of carving reveals is the association to the wall, slab, or roof; as well as the ability to have an opening associate to multiple elements at a time.

Cadimage Updates – Door Leaf Errors

The latest Cadimage Door and Window update fixes some problems, but has created others in some projects. If you notice your door leafs suddenly showing with a brown or yellow plan fill where they were previously a white fill, there is a quick fix.

  1. In 3d, select all doors (choose the door tool from the tool box and type com+A)
  2. Reserve the doors (not required if working in a .pln iteration study)
  3. Change the pens indicated below to Pen 91:

Interior Iterations

In this particular project, we are late in the game and need to run some options through our model, as suggested by the Interior Design Team. I could save out a .pln or duplicate the teamwork file (see the BIM Manual for pros and cons of various iteration methods), but in this case, I was able to run 3 different surface options and 2 different stone slab configurations through 3 rooms without having any impact on the documents or even the model.

Here are 3 (1-3 minute) videos on steps I took to make this as efficient and nondestructive to the model as possible.

  1.  Using Graphic Overrides to switch between surfaces:
  2. Using the surface painter to reassign surfaces quickly and easily:
  3. Using the Renovation Filter to pin elements that may not be permanent to the model:

Forgot to Reserve, now what!?

This happens to all of us from time to time. You are in window, door, skylight, curtain wall, or Cadimage Covering settings, working through a long list of changes and edits, only to realize… YOU FORGOT TO RESERVE!!!! Fortunately, there is a way around it! You can save the set of changes as a favorite, cancel out, then reserve and apply.

A couple additional tips:

  • Make sure you release all after the favorite is applied to avoid a conflict with other users
  • Make sure you either purge out the favorite, or put it in the correct subfolder after it has been applied, in order to keep things organized in the file

Interior Elevation Rotation

There is an ARCHICAD 23 update coming soon (as I have heard from GSNA today) that will fix an issue with interior elevation markers placed into rotated plan views.

I want to start by saying we should avoid rotated floor plan views as much as possible. They have always had a laundry list of unintended consequences. Most recently, we have discovered that if an interior elevation marker is placed into a floor plan with any rotation other than 0º, the resulting elevations will also be rotated. Since this seems to be a bug that attaches itself to the marker, the easiest fix is to redo the marker placement (either by placing a new marker or dragging a copy of an existing marker) in a properly rotated floor plan, then deleting the original.

Screen Shot 2020-07-15 at 10.16.07 AM

Floor plan rotation is in the bottom left menu bar of the floor plan window

If you find an interior elevation that is rotated:

Screen Shot 2020-07-15 at 10.15.45 AM

Go to the floor plan, drag the marker off to the side of the building a set distance. Set the floor plan rotation to 0º, then drag a copy of that marker back into place.Screen Shot 2020-07-15 at 10.15.58 AM

Save the new marker’s viewpoints to the view map, making sure to check the “ignore zoom and rotation” box in the view settings of all new interior elevation markers and views.

Screen Shot 2020-07-15 at 10.16.23 AM

In the preview hotfix as well as in ARCHICAD 24, this is no longer an issue. But for the near future, we need to avoid placing I/E markers in any plan view not set to 0º rotation.

Drawing Manager – External Content

Right now, with remote connections, there are a lot of pdf’s and dwg’s being dropped into projects from user’s desktops. This is actually a preferred method of working, as it is faster than trying to link to the file server through our VPN. It is important to not, however, that files drag/dropped into views or onto layouts from a desktop need to be vetted.

Screen Shot 2020-07-02 at 4.21.31 PM

  • If the file needs to be in the file long-term, it needs to be embedded (break the link)
  • If it is short term, delete the drawing after you are done with it
  • If you do embed a drawing, verify the pdf/dwg file size before dropping into the project
  • Maximum file size for embedded pdf should be 2-3 MB
  • Maximum file size for embedded dwg should be 5-10 MB

There are some work arounds to reduce file size. We can use PDF compression before dropping into a file, and we can open and eliminate complex fills from a DWG.