Category Archives: Drafting

Gradient Fills!

Dan has done something interesting with his exterior elevations. The elevations are too long for the layout. Typically we have a break line/match line for buildings like this. The break line on this project has one added unique feature.


Full Elevation with Break

the elevation beyond the break line has an added fill, using a gradient fill instead of a basic white masking fill.


Selected Gradient Fill

This gives the elevation a gradual “disappearing” at the break line.


Enlarged Gradient Fill

Roof Wall Connections

I feel like I have written this all somewhere before, but it begs repeating. Roof wall connections can be tricky, and solid element operations are not always the answer. In this example, we have an eave bearing wall running perpendicular to the roof slope.

The original model was built using SEO’s. This created a section error, showing the ceiling finish running through the wall structure:


Also, notice the selected wall is taller than it should be, running above the roof plan. This wall height should be modeled to stop at the highest intersection of the bottom of the roof core. Then the roof and wall, while both selected, can be cleaned up with the Merge function (Design > Connect > Merge, or Right Click > Connect > Merge).


The result is a properly cleaned up section view!

Info Box Content

The Info Box is an instrumental palette to the ARCHICAD work environment. There is content in the Info Box that is difficult, if not impossible to adjust anywhere else. A large function of this palette is to give an easy access to each element’s Selection Settings. There are, however, a few items in the Info Box that are not available in the Settings Dialogue. These are the Geometry and Construction Method settings. A handful of element types have these incorporated into the settings dialogue, such as the Geometry Method for the Shell Tool. The Shell Tool has an additional Construction Method that is only available in the Info Box.

The Info Box for all available tools with Palette only content:

The geometry method is useful for a wide range of functions. Wether it is drawing 4 walls with a simply x/y input, setting a shell to rotate a given shape rather than just a dome or arc, or setting your labels to place more precisely with a three point click instead of a simple click and drop in place; the Geometry and Construction method settings only available in the Info Box will help model more quickly and precisely.

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

Drawing Complicated Polygons

It often happens that you end up drawing a complicated polygon element with multiple different nodes independent or snapped to other elements. For example, you may be drawing a floor or ceiling plan with the slab tool, snapping to the face of framing. It usually happens that at least one node of the slab ends up snapped to an incorrect point of the wall.

In most cases, I just keep moving and come back and adjust that node after the geometry is fully placed. If it is one of the first nodes of the polygon, I have even just canceled the operation and started over.

But as is the case with ARCHICAD, there is always a better way!


To cancel the last placed node of any polygon element (Slab, Fill, Polyline, Line, Spline, Wall, Beam, Roof, Mesh, Shell and some Objects), you only need to hit the delete key once.


Typing the delete key can be repeated to cancel each previous nodes all the way back to the first placed node. Just keep in mind the minor efficiencies that need to be managed. If you end up undoing multiple nodes just to fix one node, it may be faster just to move on and adjust or hit esc and start over.

New HVAC Library Symbol

A note to Model Managers & Job Captains; our library has a new object that will replace several non-dynamic drafting symbols. The new object is dynamically resizable, and retains a constant arrow size. It has separate pens for the symbol and for the arrowhead, and includes all supply & return symbols. The old symbols will be excluded from the WWA Library 20, so if you have not started adding register symbols to your RCP and Floor Finish plans, use this new symbol instead. If your plans already include the previous 6 symbols, we will create an archive library or load them into your embedded library when the time comes to move into the next version of AC (just look forward 6 or 7 months).

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 5.50.27 PM

This single object may develop into a 3d/2d combined object, with controls to turn the 3d component off. For now it is a more versatile version of the collection of 6 mechanical symbols already used in most of our projects.

Dimension Snap Adjustment

Heres a neat trick for your pre-holiday ARCHICAD-ing. In AC19 you may notice a lot of new pet palette options available when snapping on dimension elements.

One of these new options allows you to re-assign a dimension snap point by clicking on the dimensions tick mark hotspot. Click that point, then select this option from the pet palette:

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 10.16.33 AM

Then just select the point you want to dimension to. The dimension string will now be dynamically linked to that new point; dimensions will be adjusted with the element’s changes.

This is also a great way to assign associations between dimensions and elements, if there previously was not one, or a way to change a dimensions association to a new element or point.