AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue
#2 (January 19, 2006)
"Get it to Go" in ArchiCAD
Grabbing properties, settings, attributes and
favorites can be a real time saver when working
in any CAD program and Graphisoft has made this
an easy task when working in ArchiCAD. Most ArchiCAD
users are accomplished at matching the default
tool by clicking on any element while holding
down the Alt key (Opt
key on a Mac). This process turns the cursor into
an eye dropper and extracts the properties from
the item clicked and automatically activates the
proper tool (i.e. walls, doors, etc.). Similarly
if you hold down both the Ctrl+Alt
(Cmd+Opt for a Mac) the cursor
turns into a syringe whereby you can inject the
current default tool settings into the item you
Moving past these basic tasks, you can also transfer
parameters between elements of the same library
type. Using Ctrl+Alt-click on
Windows / Cmd+Opt-click on MacOS,
it is possible to transfer between two library
objects the whole set of parameters they have
in common. Let us say we have a window selected
on the Floor Plan. If we go to its Settings
dialog box, we see the following:
When you have the Object Settings
dialog box open with the object parameters already
set and want to change objects, simply hold down
for a Mac) to Transfer/Keep All Relevant
Parameters. When performing this action,
you will see the cursor change to the familiar
syringe symbol and you can select a new object.
When such an operation is done, the values of
all matching parameters are transferred if the
matching parameters are of the same type.
These are great techniques for grabbing properties
and parameters, but let's say you want to get
more attributes from another project such as materials,
line types or fill types. This is where you simply
access Attribute Manager in ArchiCAD.
The Attribute Manager command
in the Options menu allows you
to copy (append or overwrite) attributes such
as Layers, Layer Combinations, Pens & Colors,
Line Types, Fill Types, Composite Structures,
Materials, Zone Categories, and Cities between
two opened files. It can also duplicate or delete
attributes in either of the two files. On choosing
the Attribute Manager command,
the following dialog box appears. (Since it has
to list all the attributes of the project, displaying
the dialog box might take some time.)
On the left, the attributes of the currently
opened ArchiCAD file are shown. On the right,
you can either open a second ArchiCAD file (Project,
Archive, or Module) or create a new one in a special
format that belongs to Attribute Manager.
The buttons between the two parts of the dialog
box allow you to copy attributes in either direction,
delete, append or overwrite them.
OK, so we have transferred properties and attributes
as we work but now we may want to get our common
default settings to go from project to project.
"Favorites" is a term that is used for
storing the default settings of the various tools
within ArchiCAD that you use frequently (like
office standards). Each tool has a favorite button
in the settings box that you can use to either
define a new favorite or grab an existing "favorite
settings" to use. Favorites also have a palette
display that can be active in your work window.
You can export the whole set of Favorites in a
separate file by choosing Save Favorites
from the Favorite palette. The
file will be saved with the .prf extension. You
can then import or restore saved Favorites by
choosing Load Favorites from
the Favorite palette.
Note that when you have located the file to import/restore
and clicked OK in the directory
dialog box, ArchiCAD will ask you whether you
wish to replace the current list of Favorites
with the one you are restoring or merge the two
sets of Favorites.
When merging the two sets, if any Favorites have
identical names, you will be prompted to skip
or overwrite the original definition.
Keeping these things in mind while you work will
speed up your delivery as you "Get it to
Go" in ArchiCAD, and will save your time
for a full course meal at the dinner table.
About the Author
JT Burk is the Principal of CADeshack, a value
added reseller for architects and builders, and
has used the Building Information Modeling process
for over 14 years when he initially formed The
OwneRep Group, a project management & architectural
company in Houston & Chicago. Mr. Burk is
licensed in fifteen states (NCARB) as an architect.
He has over 30 years experience in several different
building types as well as an extensive corporate
architectural background. He has a Master of Architecture
Degree from the University of Wisconsin. He can
be reached at email@example.com
or visit his web site at http://www.jtburk.com/.
Tricks > "Get it to Go" in ArchiCAD