Category Archives: Uncategorized

Linked/Independant Labels

When you place a label, that label can be linked to an element, or placed as an independent element. This is important, since dragging a copy of a linked label creates a label that is also linked to that content. Independ


(3) Linked Labels Associated to a Fill

In the above example, the redundant labels were created by dragging a copy of the first label to create new labels. The result is that when the fill is deleted, all labels are lost.

One method for preventing this is to copy/paste, rather than dragging a copy, to create new labels that are not linked or associated to model or drawing elements. These can be moved to the side, then cleaned up and repositioned after the necessary drawing elements are deleted.


(3) Copies of Linked Labels, using Copy/Paste to Duplicate


Deleting the fill leaves the pasted labels, that can then be placed back to their original location

Another option is to select the labels (or all labels in a view), then right click and choose Convert to Independent Label.


Right click & convert to Independent

A fair warning on independent labels; they will not reposition with any content. They can only be text labels, and they can not be converted to any other label type, since there is no way to associate them to drafting or model elements without deleting and replacing.

The label tool has a lot of options, and a lot of benefits to having links to content, but when you need an independent text label, just know there are ways to fix a drag and copy mistake.

Teamwork Views, Drawings, and Layouts

Since most of our projects involve multiple buildings on a single site, we often rely on hotlink modules to place those buildings onto a site in separate Teamwork files. This means the site plan needs to be placed from one teamwork file to another.


This process is actually very simple to do. All that is required is to open both Teamwork files and use the organizer to link a view from one project to the layout of the other. With the file containing the layout book, search for the other open t/w file in the left hand column of the organizer. Lastly, you only need to click import to bring the view from one file to a layout of another.



Now comes the real issue, that is to update the views. In the past, we have run into the issue of this warning:


To effectively update drawings from a separate projects view map, start with the drawing settings. The drawing should be set to manual, or you will receive repeated update warnings and, in the best case scenario, a slow update for any externally linked drawings.


After extensive tests and trial and error, I have found the most reliable way to update a drawing. Follow these steps and it shouldn’t fail to update:

  1. Open BOTH projects, the one containing the view and the one with the drawing that needs to be updated
  2. In the project with the view, do a send and receive. Once you S/R, do not make any changes to the ARCHICAD file, do not even change zoom or pan the view. Even the smallest change to your local data will result in the “Drawing Checking Process has Failed” warning
  3. Immediately switch to the project with the drawing that needs updating. I use com+tab, rather than the mouse to avoid any accidental zoom or pan to the view.
  4. Once the layout/drawing that needs updating is open, simply right click and select update

Follow these steps exactly, and you will find it much less frustrating to update your external drawings.

Missing Surface Solutions

A while ago I wrote a post discussing steps to take if your BIMx surfaces do not match your ARCHICAD surfaces. This still has some valuable application, but there may be a simpler solution.

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The purple and black checkered surface may seem familiar to some. Other times, the surface just shows up wrong, as in the previous article on mis-matched surfaces. Here are some red flags to look for, listed in order of probability to be the culprit causing the surface errors.

  1. Surface name exceeds 32 characters
  2. Surface attribute number does not match between Module File and Host File
  3. Surface image is not applied correctly in the host file in all viewing engines
  4. Surface image name has special characters
  5. Surface image file size is too large (keep them under 1MB if possible)

Remember, this surface name is primarily used to identify it from a list of surfaces. We need a specific name to differentiate between similar surfaces, but we don’t need the surfaces life story. A simple material_orientation_location is sufficient.

When working with Hot Link Modules, it is really important to be aware of attribute numbering, where surfaces have been generated, and how that works with the 3 different files; Source File, Module File, Host File. The easiest solution to ensure attributes always match is to ALWAYS generate new surfaces in the Source File, even if they will only be used in the Host File. Then use the attribute manager to append to the Host File by Attribute Number.

Make sure you do not have any missing image files in either the Host or Source file’s library. If surfaces are generated in the Source file, the images and surfaces will be appended as part of the Hot Link Module library in the Host File.

With our upcoming new BIM server (its a PC server), it will become more important than ever to get out of the habit of using special characters. Windows doesn’t like anything other than letters, numbers, dash, and underscore. No /\<>,#@$%&*^{[]} will be allowed moving forward. And again, file naming and attribute naming conventions should be simple. Punctuation is completely unnecessary.

Lastly, the resolution of an image used in a surface can be surprisingly low. 161dpi is sufficient in most cases. And the surface image can be a matter of inches when originally created. When applied to the surface, it can then be resized to fit the project needs. Obviously there are limits; you can not stretch a 2″ 72dpi image over a 30′ wall. But you could save an 18″ 161dpi image and it would look fine at almost any size relative to the building scale.


Teamwork (BIM Server) Etiquette

The WWA BIM manual has a list of teamwork and ARCHICAD best practices. I want to reiterate some of those hear and give a little explanation of why we need to be aware of these practices.

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  1. Send and Receive often; I recommend 2x per hour and whenever you leave your work station for any period of time:
    • This ensures BIM server backup files are created
    • More frequent S/R means quicker S/R times (less data synched at one time)
    • In the event we experience a teamwork or BIM Server errors less data will be lost upon file recovery
    • Other team members will be more up to date to the changes you have been working on, and can more easily coordinate their work with yours
  2. Release or release all occasionally:
    • Whenever you leave your computer for breaks and at the end of the day
    • Whenever you are finished with a specific task that required reserving large portions of the project
    • This prevents other users from constantly requesting portions of the project that they may need to work on
    • This prevents other users from kicking you out of the project because of your absence or unresponsiveness
  3. Do not reserve all unless you know you are the only one in the project; and release all when the task is done:
    • A reserve all is necessary for coordinating some attribute changes (delete and replace), and should be a coordinated effort for the entire team. Notify other team members that you will need to reserve all for x-amount of time, and perform the task as quickly and efficiently as possible so that other team members can get back to work as soon as possible.
  4. Leave the project at the end of the week (2x per month minimum):
    • The BIM server is reviewed for team members joined but inactive in the project for extended periods of time. These members are removed from the project to prevent file bloat.
    • Leaving the project keeps the list of users in the teamwork palette to a minimum- and clearly identifies who is actively working on the project
    • Leaving the project rebuilds your local data from the server next time you join
    • Leaving the project reduces unnecessary teamwork file bloat and keeps the file running smoothly and efficiently
  5. Incorporate the teamwork palette into your work environment:
    • The teamwork palette is more than just the s/r and release all buttons
    • The teamwork palette gives an indicator that you are in fact working online, so time is not wasted working in a file that has been disconnected from the server due to a teamwork or BIM server error
    • The teamwork palette is a great tool for messaging and assigning tasks to other team members as well as tracking requests and reservations made throughout the day
    • The teamwork palette as onscreen view options which allow you to quickly identify what you have reserved or elements that are reserved by others

WWA Library 19 ALERT!

I have made a major change to our custom library for AC19 that will most likely result in missing objects for most project teams.

Our “People Objects” have ranged from mediocre (and high polygon) to embarrassingly bad. To eliminate the intrusion of these distracting objects in our projects I have removed them from the WWA Library 19.

Please use the 3D People Silhouettes from now on; as this will be our modeling/drawing standard.

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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:

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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.

Level of Precision, Walls

ARCHICAD 19 has an interesting bug that has developed from [presumably] the introduction of the new reference and snap features. This can occasionally result in a low level of precision, where elements are just slightly off orthogonal.

Graphisofts recommendation on combatting this is to “click carefully”, which works. I have run into some cases where clicking carefully and moving precisely has still resulted in slightly imprecise modeling.

Thankfully James Murray and Link Ellis have developed a label that has helped me combat this issue and track down any model elements (walls and beams) that are off orthogonal, even to the nearest 1000th decimal point!

We now have their label in our library, it is called “Ortho Label Check 19” available in the label settings.Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 4.45.06 PM

With a single click you can check the angle of any wall or beam in floor plan view and get an “ok” for walls that are modeled correctly or an angle increment for walls that are “slightly off”.

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I ran a check on my entire model and tracked down each wall that was misaligned (only 2), and fixed them. I will be using this for project audits, and encourage others to use it as a self-audit, when you run up against walls that will not heal correctly in elevation/section.