Category Archives: Publisher

Drawing Titles (Layouts)

During my project audits, I run into a lot of layouts with fussy manually positioned drawing titles. This can some times be necessary for a custom location, width and structure to get the title to work with a Layout’s organization and content. But for most of our drawings, especially details, elevations, sections, and interior elevations, this is just adding extra work. Proper use of the title settings will allow you to quickly align your drawings on the layout, butt them into each other and know that the titles are not going to overlap and will show up correctly and consistently.

This is baked into our template as a favorite, and as a default for all drawings pre-laid on layouts. As an example, here is a “starter” drawing on the detail sheet.screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-9-16-58-am

The settings for the title width and location should be as follows:

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 9.19.06 AM.png

Setting the title width to link to the drawing will ensure it’s position and size will always relate to the drawing. The optimum offsets for width and location (as highlighted above) should be 0″ for vertical positioning and 1/4″ from the left and right edges of the drawing.

As I said, there may be exceptions, but we should start to make this our default setting. Use the template favorites if you are unsure of how to set this up for consistent use.

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.






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.

Folder/Subfolder Navigation

BIM6x wrote about collapsing/expanding all folders in ARCHICAD for easier navigation. I suggest you take a look at their article here.

For us, what this means is, finding that specific view map/layout book/library manager element is actually pretty easy. A fully expanded view map (see below) can be a lot to scroll through to find the folder or specific drawing/view you need.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 8.59.16 AM

Hold down alt/option key and click on the folder dropdown for the elements you want to collapse. In this case it is the view map project name list.Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 8.59.20 AM

Now when you expand the folder out again (without the alt/option key held), you get a fully collapsed view map that you can expand folder by folder to find the exact view/layout you are looking for.Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 8.59.59 AM

This is a mac function, not specific to ARCHICAD. So it will work on any folder/subfolder navigation within ARCHICAD; such as the Project Map, View Map, Layout Book, Publisher, Place Drawing dialogue, or the Library Manager. It also works in the finder in list view.

Layouts to AutoCAD Model Space

If you are trying to save out a large number of drawings to DWG, interior elevations for example, and the consultant would rather view all drawings in a single file rather than individual DWG’s for each elevation, I have a solution for this.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 9.23.51 AM

First create a new publisher set. Bring in a view map folder to set up the publisher and translator. Set the publisher to merge to one DWG file. Next open the translator settings.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 9.24.25 AM

This part gets a little odd, but in 3 consecutive tests it worked. The publisher set must have view map items selected before going to the translator settings. You will not have access to the necessary settings if it is a layout book element selected.

In the translator settings set the Save Options to Save layout into: Model Space and Place Drawings into:Single DXF/DWG…

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 9.29.29 AM

This will result in a single DWG file containing X-Refs of any published content (View Map or Layout Book). This is particularly useful for saving layouts to DWG, as it will tile all drawings in an equally spaced row and provide a source file in a single folder for all X-Refs in the master drawing file. You will need to share both these, the DWG and the X-Ref folder, with the consultants.