AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue
#4 (March 8, 2006)
Making a Custom ArchiCAD Door Panel
Director of Technology, Integrated CADD Services
While ArchiCAD already has a large collection
of typical door panels, there are times when you
need a custom one. It is extremely easy to make
your own, they often take only 2 to 3 minutes
from start to finish. A similar process can also
be used to make custom window sashes. Follow these
simple steps below and soon you will think nothing
of making your own custom door panels and window
1. Model the door in your floor plan as if it
was laying down flat on the ground. The bottom
of the door should face the bottom of the sheet,
the top should face the top. Use the 3D tools
such as the Slab and Wall
tools to create the panel and details on the panel.
Cut openings and insert thinner slabs to make
glass or recessed panels. (Please note in the
picture below: The Text & Dimensions are to
help explain what you are seeing. They are not
needed to create your door panel.)
2. Make the door panel the exact size it needs
to be using the correct colored materials. If
you need several door sizes or several material
variations for this panel, make one for each variation.
Panels made this way cannot be resized without
distorting their shape and the Material parameters
don't apply to custom panels.
3. Select just the door panel items via selection
or a single story Marquee. View the door panel
elements only in 3D to make sure it looks correct.
4. When you are ready to save the panel, go to
3D Projection Settings in the
5. Make sure you are in the Axonometric
type views. Position the camera at the bottom
of the preview with the Azimuth
setting of 270 degrees. Set the View Type
pop up to Top View. Hit OK.
6. In the 3D Window that opens,
the panel should appear as if you are looking
straight at it from the side, in other words,
an Elevation view.
7. From the File menu select
GDL Objects, and from the sub-menu,
choose Save 3D Model as
8. A Save dialogue comes up.
The format should be preset to ArchiCAD
Object File. Give this object a unique
name and save it to your Job Library Folder. We
usually add our job number to the name of Job
Library objects, for example: "0502-Door
Panel 1." Write down the name, or
better yet, copy it from the file name portion
of the Save dialogue box.
9. A Save as Library Part dialogue
box comes up. Select an Object
for the Save as option. Make
sure Remove redundant lines from symbol
is checked, as well as Non-editable binary
10. Go to your Door tool and
select the door you want to use. Go to the Door
Panel portion of the parameter list.
Select the Custom Panel option
from the pop up list. This will create a new field
called Custom Panel Name immediately
11. Type the door panel name EXACTLY as you saved
it (or paste it in the field). Do not use the
".GSM" file extension from the name,
just the file name.
12. You should see your custom panel in the 3D
previews for the object. You can apply door hardware
to these panels. Remember that you'll need to
make multiple panels to suit different sizes or
If this panel is for one job, store it in your
Project Library. If you will use it on multiple
jobs, put it in your Office Library.
About the Author
Jim Mahoney has been using ArchiCAD since 1993.
He currently runs all ArchiCAD training courses
CADD Services and has an active role with
the Graphisoft Reseller team, which consults to
Graphisoft's tech support division. He is a seasoned
Architect with experience in restaurant design,
multi-family housing, office building design and
medical facility design. In addition to ArchiCAD
training and support, Jim is a Senior Architect
for Integrated CADD Services' sister firm, Conyngham
Associates Architects, where he uses ArchiCAD
daily to produce virtual building models of the
projects which he is controlling.
Tricks > Making a Custom ArchiCAD Door
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