Tag Archives: Find and Select

3D View to 3D Document

The view map should include a source view associated with each 3d document. This is true for reflected ceiling plans, detail axons, whole building foundation diagrams or any other view where view and content will need to be maintained and updated. In this post I will explore creating a foundation axon document that can quickly be updated to add new foundation elements, both 3d & 2d, without losing previously documented content, alignment or view settings.

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The 3d view that a 3d document is created from should come from a camera or saved 3d window in the view map for consistent view angle creation. It should be saved to the view map with predefined view settings; if a layer combination doesn’t exist for the content you want to see, create one. The view settings should not be set to “custom” for any of the view map settings.

navigator- view map

Additional view content restrictions may be applied, but difficult to replicate if the model or content change. Things like marquee restrictions, cutting planes or filter and cut elements in 3d can be difficult (but not impossible) to replicate when the 3d document needs to be rebuilt from a source view. To ensure these settings can be duplicated with updates to 3d model/document content, these settings need to be documented, such as hotspots and marque or cutting plane locations or screen shots.

filter-cut in 3d

One tool that can be invaluable (and is widely underused) for 3d document rebuilding is the selections palette. Once you have the content isolated in the 3d window, select it and save it to the selections palette with a name that relates to, or matches, the view map name for the 3d window or 3d document.


Using this palette you can open the camera view, re-select the original elements, add any new elements to the selection and isolate in the 3d window. The selection palette should be updated for future use with this new selection.

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Now just redefine the 3d document (in the project map > 3d document settings) with current window settings and your document will match the original camera angle, cone, and drafted content alignment; but will include the new model elements.

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Search & Replace Text

ArchiCAD’s Edit menu includes a tool to Replace Text anywhere in the project. There are a few options worth mentioning in this tool. The first thing to mention is the filter options which is accessible in the first palette that comes up when opening the tool.Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 3.20.30 PMThe filter options allow you to limit or extend the search by stories, layers visible, by element. You can exclude or include text elements, labels, dimension text, opening text, zones and object texts.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 3.19.58 PMOnce you select your filter options and search for a specific text you will get a list of all elements included in the filter that was applied to the search. The list will show elements that you have reserved and that are on visible layers as black text. All hidden or unreserved texts will show as gray text. To go to a text element from this menu, select the text from the list and click the magnifying glass at the bottom.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 3.21.21 PMTo change a text element just type the text you want to replace it with under the With: section. It will only replace the portions of the text box which match your initial search.

Efficient Selection & Editing

There are dozens of ways to make selections (of tools and placed elements) in ArchiCAD, and some are better for certain functions or results. Some of the key methods of selecting elements are:

There are many combinations of each of the selection methods listed above that can improve efficiency in editing elements too.

Example 1: use the Filter and Cut Elements In 3D settings to isolate out just windows and doors in 3d, then use Find & Select to further isolate only widows of a certain size or location for editing will quickly narrow down for global changes to these windows only.

Example 2: Use the Filter & Cut Elements option to isolate a range of stories of the model in 3D, then use the Eyedropper to activate the Object tool, then use a Select All to select the objects visible in the 3D window.

This may seem like a lot of steps, but when used efficiently it is a huge time savings over tediously trying to track down specific elements, or selecting one at a time or even in small groups. Here is a quick (±8 minute) video of some of the features listed above


When you edit multiple door and windows you can have unforeseen consequences. For example, if the window type and sash layouts are different, changes to the sash layout, surface or style may not be applied to all windows or all sash groups.

In the following screen shots you can see a change to the sash grid applied to a 2x wide sash window and a single width unit. Applying a sash grid to both window types simultaneously not only has no effect on the double width sash, but also causes an error message for degenerated polygons (The sash is part of the windows 3d script, but ArchiCAD basically doesn’t  understand how to interpret it).

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The solution is in the Find and Select function. By selecting all windows that are two sashes wide, or windows greater than 4′-0″ in rough opening width, and changing them first; then selecting all windows less than 4′-0″ in rough opening width and changing them separately you get all sashes matching. This is slightly more time consuming, but it does make the changes work the first time and avoids the error reports.

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.48.14 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.49.09 PMAlso seen recently by project teams has been a universal change to the door hardware location in Cadimage doors, universally for all door types. The result was, unlike the windows, the hardware was correctly relocated, but the door frames adopted the frame settings of other doors. The solution is to change door or window settings by wall type as well as door or window type, when the wall type impacts the trim or reveal of the door or window settings.

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This is yet another reason to become familiar with find and select and use it often. It is a great tool to speed up productivity as well as keep your model clean and error free.


Element ID’s And Weeding Out Problem Objects

Occasionally you may come across objects with degenerated scripts, bad geometry or missing attributes. These can cause error reports to generate.  While most of these error reports may seem like line after line of gibberish, some key lines can give clues as to the source of the problem.  If the problem stems from an object the object name may appear.  Regardless of the element type, the Element ID will always show up in a line.  If you have 2,000 objects all labeled “Z M067” in the element ID field it may be a little tricky finding the one or two that are messing things up.
Shower Head1If you are lucky enough to track down a line of the report that gives you the elements actual name or type you can search for those objects using the find and select feature.  In this case it was a shower head object and was easily discernible in the error report via the object name.

Shower Head3It is almost always a good idea, however to add a unique Element ID to your objects, walls, floors, roofs, columns and beams that references the objects function, type, size or location.  This element ID can be used for or associated with labeling elements, scheduling or searching.

Shower Head2


General Thoughts on Using Find and Select

The Find and Select Palette is a huge time saver in selecting, editing, deselecting and isolating objects.  There are several great resources out there to learn the find and select tool better.  Jared of Shoegnome wrote a post for Graphisoft’s blog that gives some great advice and tips on uses for the tool.

Graphisoft help center has the definitive resource on the features of the tool.  If you get nothing else from this post, read that link and learn how to store, import and export criteria.  This ensures that when you have a list of criteria that effectively makes a selection you need to repeat you will have direct access to it.

Why is Saving Criteria Important?

There are many reasons you may want to store and access criteria quickly.  The example I came across today, and the reason for writing this post, is as follows: For a remodel job I found myself repeatedly selecting the “new” doors.  This is a relatively quick criteria to set up.  When I found myself selecting all new slabs and all new exterior walls it became clear that I needed some renovation specific criteria.  For a project involving no renovation filter it is certainly less of an issue, but if you need to exclude cased openings or select doors on exterior walls only or select all furniture on a specific layer you can see why having some pre-saved criteria can be a significant time savings over the length of the project.

favorites criteria

Take some time and play around with the selection criteria, read Jared’s post and improve your efficiency. Even if you “waste” 15 minutes getting to know the find and select function better it will save you hours in the end!