Doors & Walls – Symbolic or Projected

The symbolic or projected view of a door determines wether it matches the exact 3d settings of the door or is just a graphic plan symbol. There may be cases for both, but it is important to know what the settings do; and find the right combination of settings for both the wall and the door so that they both appear as expected, or in some combinations, appear at all.


Wall Projection Settings


Door Projection Settings

Below is the break down of what each combination of wall and door settings with 3 different relationships to plan cut plane settings.


Walls and Doors Projection Settings

IFC Element Classification

Recently, we have noticed projects exporting IFC files incorrectly; specifically with missing content. Wether this is due to changes to ARCHICAD from IFC2x3 to IFC4, or if it is just a modeling error on our part, is difficult to pinpoint at this time. What we have determined is the issue is the result of Element Classification going missing.

The Element Classification is the little drop down at the bottom of the settings dialogue for each model element. You can locate this within the Categories and Properties tab of the element settings.


It can be easy to ignore this setting, since it really doesn’t impact our typical model or document process. But for IFC coordination this setting is critical. If this goes missing, the element will not save out.

So a missing or undefined classification can get in the way of effective collaboration, but so can an incorrect classification. An example I have seen is doors that were used as gable end vents/walls. Because the door’s classification was left as “Door”, it was read as a door on the Revit side. This resulted in the door and the wall were defined as an opening that penetrated the roof; the engineer had to ask for a correction from our end.


IFC Classifications can seem a little confusing, given the unclear and vague terminology used in describing each classification. But fortunately Bond Bryan has already done the leg work to define each element classification and what is included. I have in turn reinterpreted this list in our BIM Manual for our calibre of projects; you can view this Dictionary of Element Classifications under Collaboration > IFC Classification in our BIM Manual. Or for a more complete list of building components and their Classifications, see Rob’s list here.

Publishing BIMx in AC20

One significant change to AC20 is the output method for saving a BIMx file. We can no longer simply save a BIMx file from a 3d window. We now need to use the publisher to save BIMx, which means we need dedicated View Map content for our BIMx files.

One of the big questions I get is ‘why is my BIMx file opening in a random location?’. This is most frequently caused by the view the BIMx is being saved from not being updated from the current 3d view.

Lets go through this step by step.

  1. Save the desired camera’s AND 3d view to the View Map. You can use the Organizer to save the camera path(s) you want to include in the BIMx file for animation or still gallery views. It is important to note that the 3d View that will generate the BIMx file needs to have the correct view settings, cutting planes, marquee, elements, and view location/orientation/position saved in the view map.screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-11-57-23-am
  2. If you have a view already dedicated to BIMx in your view map, but it is not exporting correctly, you may need to update it to include view restrictions such as marquee limitations.screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-12-12-05-pm
  3. Make sure the Publisher Set dedicated to saving BIMx is set up properly. You want to make sure you are Saving a local copy with a correct destination. You do not need a Graphisoft ID to save a local copy, but you will get some warnings when publishing- more on that later.screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-11-58-26-am
  4. Using the organizer, Add Shortcuts or drag the views for BIMx and BIMx Gallery items to the BIMx Publisher Set.screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-11-59-00-am
  5. Set the Options for the Camera Path to either Separate gallery items or a Single Movie for the gallery.screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-11-59-08-am
  6. Set the 3d View to publish as is, or with Global Illumination. Note that publishing with G/I selected will take as long as a typical BIMx file previously took to generate global illumination. This means you will be unable to use ARCHICAD while it is generating the BIMx file. There is also no longer a way to generate G/I after the BIMx file has been published.screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-11-59-16-am
  7. Now you are ready to publish. You can use the Organizer/Publisher to save out just the selected 3d view and camera or the entire set.screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-11-59-28-am
  8. Here is where you get the error messages, since you did not put in a GS ID (which you would only need if you were going to share a Hyper Model, not a WWA Standard at this point).

Close this warning


Close this warning


Close this warning


One last thing to note; you will no longer be able to Save BIMx files. This means you will need to plan ahead when presenting BIMx for a client meeting. Open the file ahead of time to set the sun shadows, position, starting point, navigation speed, or any other post-publish settings that you need to have as part of the presentation.






Schedule Criteria

We have looked at why doors and windows may not appear in an ARCHICAD schedule, or why they may not appear in their related zone before. Here is the link to that post, which is worth re-reading as a refresher.

The past couple weeks I have been getting more scheduling questions; more related to eliminating certain elements from a schedule, or why unexpected elements are showing up in a schedule. The answer is almost always due to an error in the Schedule Criteria Settings. Here we will look at a few scenarios that may cause undesired results with your schedules, all linked to incorrect criteria.


Fig. 1.0 Incorrect use of “and”Statements

In Figure 1.0 above, the Element ID that can be listed is using an and statement, rather than or. The result is, no elements will schedule, since it is impossible for any elements to meet the criteria of start with 0 and 1 and 2 and 3. We often list multiple element ID in our schedule as a first digit as an easy way to seperate schedules out by building or by floor for multiple building projects. To fix this, the Element ID Criteria should be bracketed, and each ID starts with line should end in or.


Fig. 1.1 Unbracketed “or” Statements

In Figure 1.1, the ID starts with lines are correctly ending with an or statement to continue to the next criteria line; but they are not bracketed. The result will be windows that start with 0, or ANY ELEMENT that starts with 1, 2 or 3 will show in the schedule. To correct this issue, simply add a bracket before and after the or statements.


Fig. 1.2 Incomplete Bracketing of “or” Statements

The last example, Figure 1.2, shows a partially bracketed “or” section of the Criteria. By not closing the bracket, you will see a warning in the Scheme Settings noting that the Criteria is Invalid! The result will be nothing can schedule until the brackets have been correctly applied.

Hopefully this gives a little more insight into what may be going on with your schedules, and why things are missing, or too many elements are being included.

Graphic Overrides!

Almost all projects have been migrated to AC20 now, and we have just run into the first “special case” for the new Graphic Override feature. Since we use 3d Documents for Reflected Ceiling Plans, we don’t have the advantage of full control over the door or window graphics or even appearance; they show as their literal cut regardless of door settings or Model View Options. In this case, we simply wanted to hide a couple of doors in the RCP; the folding doors on the right side of the image below:


To do this, we just took the Graphic Override for RCP’s and added a new Graphic Override Rule (Hide Doors):


This rule simply has a criteria that requires the override to apply to Doors 224 & 235 in this project. Then the Override Style is set to override all Lines to Pen 91, Fills to Empty Fill with Pen 91 for Foreground Pen 0 for Background.screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-2-11-22-pm

The result is exactly what we wanted to see; doors are there, but not visible in the documents:


It is important to note that this solution does not resolve the Pen and Fill issues we see with saving DWG files; and further exploration is needed to find a solution for exporting DWG files without these doors showing up on our consultants plans.

Understanding the DWG Translator

Coordinating DWG’s with consultants can be one of the trickier things to figure out; working between AutoCAD and ARCHICAD is not as simple as it seems like it should be. Here we will look at all things DWG (or as much as I can cram into a single post).

ARCHICAD and AutoCAD are Different!!!

Lets take a quick glance at how a few common program features are handled differently between ARCHICAD and AutoCAD.

  • Layers are a unique view attribute in ARCHICAD, used primarily to control the visibility of elements based on layer combinations.
  • AutoCAD combines other features into the layer settings; such as pen weight and line type
  • ARCHICAD fills require at least 2 pens to define their appearance; a foreground, background, and an optional boundary/border pen.
  • AuotCAD fills are only defined by their hatch pen (from the layer they are placed on)
  • ARCHICAD utilizes individual segments to cleanly relate element interactions, such as wall intersections
  • ARCHICAD can save objects and components to DWG as CAD Blocks or Drafting Primitives

Because of these differences, a DWG saved from ARCHICAD will often contain more layers, fills, and lines/polylines than you may expect. This often leads to consultants dealing with a slightly clustered or messy drawing file, and often leads to unnecessarily large and cumbersome DWG files.

It is important to solicit a response to the files sent when those files are sent, so that we can fine tune the drawing for their exact needs. The following steps and recommendations should help hit closer to the mark the first time when sending DWG files out.

Check your View Settings

The first and easiest way to control the DWG output is to make sure the view settings you are exporting from are all set up correctly. The addition of Graphic Overrides in AC20 gives us even more control over what fills are visible, and how they are viewed; both in ARCHICAD and in the drawing output from ARCHICAD.


Default View Settings for DWG to Structural Engineer

Once the view settings are correct in the View Map you can save out using the File> Save As from the drop down or the publisher. Once you get to the save menu in either location, you should review the DWG Translator Settings. Below is a list of the important translator settings to review.


Drawing Units Should Match Project Input Units (Inches for Imperial Projects)


In Most Cases, Save Options Should be Set to Save Layout Into Model Space, and Place Drawings Into Single DWG File. This Allows DWG’s to be Saved From Views or Layouts Consistently. Most Consultants Have Asked to Have Objects Saved as Lines, Not Blocks. This is Controlled by Saving Floor Plan Drop Down to Explode Complex ARCHICAD Elements.


Layer Method Should be Extended by Pen Number and Visible Layers Only


Export Fills “as is”. Conversion Tables Can be Used to Override Drawing Fills to Empty Fill if Required by Consultants.


All Save Extras Should be Unchecked to Accurately and Correctly Save Blocks and Labels


Save and Share Custom Translators with Project Team Members

If changes are made to the out of the box translator for consultant specific needs, the translator should be saved using the “Create New…” button in the translator setup window. These custom translators are specific to the computer that created and saved them, since they are stored in the application folder of that computer.

In teamwork projects they will be visible, but grayed out and not accessible to other users. If they are shared to a common folder, they can be imported to the project file using the Browse… button. Doing this however will replicate/duplicate the translator every time a drawing is saved. The best way to ensure all users have access to custom translator settings is to locate the translator file in each team members application folder.

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 11.15.40 AM.png

This can be located under your computers user > Library > Application Support > Graphisoft > DXF-DWG Translators Vnumber USA. Care should be taken to not remove, rename, or duplicate files or folders in the application support folder, as it can cause problems with the application performance.

The final step when coordinating DWG files is to check the drawing before sending it. We have eDrawings on all computers for viewing DWG files. This is more effective and real to AutoCAD than opening the DWG in ARCHICAD, since the fills are viewed more true to their final destination.

All Things Grid Tool

First and most importantly it is essential to realize there are multiple parts to the grid tool and its interaction with the various drawings. The Grid Settings are relatively straight forward and simple to understand.


Standard Grid Settings from Template Favorites

Above is an example of our default Grid Element Settings. If you find you do not have a Grid Element in your favorites, you can start with the line types and pen weights shown there. Also note the Naming Rules section; all grid elements have a custom name and are not generated automatically (this requires an automated grid placement that really only works for projects with very regular grids tied to beams and columns).

It is also important to note the upper right corner of the Grid Element Floor Plan Settings dialog. The drop down for Show on Story… allows you to define which stories each grid marker shows up on. I have audited projects in the past that used lines, circles, text, or even duplicate grid elements to selectively show grids on different stories. This drop down allows you to access a custom list of stories to show or hide each grid marker on. For most of our projects, this should be set to all stories for all grids, but if you need to customize this, there is an easy solution in the Grid Element Settings.

The Grid Tool Settings also have a section for Section/Elevation projections of the Grid. It is important to note that these settings DO NOT determine IF the grid will show up on Elevations or Sections, only HOW they will appear on those views.

To properly show Grids on an Elevation or Section, you need to set the Grid Settings in the views Marker Settings.


Elevation Selection Settings for Grid Appearance

To turn on Grids for an Elevation or Section simply go to the Grid Tool section of the Markers Selection Settings and check the box to Show Grid Elements. Make sure that the elevation settings do not have Auto-stagger selected. This feature can be useful, but more times than not it just messes with the opposite views appearance.

As an example, here is a quick mock up of an elevation with a grid offset:


Notice that Grid Element “C” is staggered over the top of Grid Element “B”. This is because the grid has been offset to the left of “B” on the opposite elevation. Staggering a grid element, either manually can cause this overlap. A manual adjustment applies the stagger to all elevation/section views that grid appears on. Automatic staggering should stagger grids appropriately for each view, but any manual changes will revert to the automatic position when the view is refreshed.

In the above example, Grid Element “C” may not need to appear on this elevation, since it is for a structural bearing line that does not relate to this side of the project. In the elevation or section marker settings, this Grid Element can easily be excluded from the Viewpoint of each marker individually. You simply need to go to the Marker Settings and click Selected under Show Grid Elements by Name and exclude the grids you do not want to show on that Viewpoint.


Elevation Settings to Show/Exclude Individual Grid Elements