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AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #5 (April 19, 2006)

Interactive Schedules in ArchiCAD 9

Dwayne Van Horn, AIA
Project Architect, Penza Associates Architects

In ArchiCAD, many types of objects and elements in the Virtual Building can be listed in an interactive schedule. This means that the content of the schedule is simply another view of the database that the Virtual Building represents.

What makes the schedule interactive is the fact that changes to the schedule are changes to the database, which changes the documentation drawings in a Building Information Model. In short, the documentation in various forms represents views of the same information model and is therefore consistent with design decisions.

The following is a brief look at two examples of interactive door schedules.

All schedules require standard settings known as IS SETTINGS (Interactive Schedule Settings) which are created from within ArchiCAD's Calculate window > Interactive Schedule > Preview/Settings window. All schedule formatting is done in the Preview/Settings window and once named and saved, it will be added to the list of schedules and is only available from the Interactive Schedule list.

Typically a project that has a newly created schedule will have that schedule embedded in the model and can be used on another machine. However let's say you have a project that does not have the schedule template in the Interactive Schedules list in ArchiCAD.

IS SETTINGS can be imported into any ArchiCAD user's computer by dragging a copy of the IS Settings folder from the Templates folder on your machine, into the IS Settings folder on another machine. On the Mac, go to the User folder > Library > Application Support > Graphisoft > IS Settings folder (as shown below).

On Windows, the default path is:
C:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Graphisoft\IS Settings

Another option is to keep the schedule settings files on a server.

Door and window schedules reference the object's ID number which is also used in the Dimension Marker. Here I have used modified versions of the "Door Marker_NCS" and "Window Marker_NCS" that come in the base library, but the originals will work too. (The "Builder Dimension" can be used for cased openings that do not show up in the door schedule.)

Door Schedule Using Zones

This door schedule (Door Sched-Zones) is used in conjunction with the Zone tool. The door marker can be moved from one side of the wall to the other, so that the door's number will change to match the Room Number and Room Name within the Zone. The ID ("A,B,C," etc.) is input manually within the door ID parameter to identify the door when multiple doors flank a room.

The door schedules are designed to ignore all doors that do not have an ID, so doors that are wood or G.W.B. cased openings do not get an ID and will not show up on the schedule. Cased openings get the Builder Dimension marker.

All parameters come from the door's object parameter settings. Some parameters can be modified in the door schedule's Preview window. Elevation ID can be added to refer to the typical door panel elevations that you draw in separate drawings or you can use the Door Schedule Elev and let the schedule draw the elevations for you. Some doors with custom panels and muntin patterns may take a long time to generate. (Special doors such as the Real Doors & Windows may take longer.)

Typical door panel elevations, drawn by generating an elevation of one wall with all door types or inserting an image of a door from a manufacturer's DWG or catalog cut, are shown below.

The next two figures show the typical door schedule using zones and the door schedule with elevations respectively.

Schedule Settings

In the Calculate menu, go to Interactive Schedule and select Preview. This is where you select a schedule to edit or duplicate. When creating a new door schedule for the first time, you will need to select one of the standard schedules and use the duplicate option to make one of your own.

Under the General tab, select the element type Window. (This makes it a window schedule.)

Add Element ID to the Criteria list and set it to > (Greater Than) and set the starting value to 000. This allows you to force the schedule to ignore any windows that do not have an ID or whose ID is just text.

The Fields tab shows us available object parameters on the left and the ones we will use on the right. Check the box to the left of the parameter name to add it to the list on the right.

The most commonly used parameters will be listed on the left but if you need a special parameter to be listed in the schedule, you can click on the Additional Parameters button to browse any loaded library for a particular object to select a parameter from.

Note that you can drag parameters up and down the list on the right using the little double triangles to set the order of the column settings. The top of the list will become the left most column on the schedule. The Header Name box on the right side of this window allows you to name the column header differently than the name that shows up in the Parameters list. ("3D Back View" can become "Elevation," "Quantity" can become "Qty.," and so on.)

The Format tab is where column width, pen and type of text are selected. The column width can also be edited graphically in the Preview window.

If you are using the schedule that produces an elevation of the door, this is where you would select the image. Select Picture from the Schedule Item, and then set the row height for the size of elevation drawing you want to appear in your schedule.

Always remember that placing the schedules is just as important as creating them. Create a story for your schedules, as they will be placed on what ever story you were on when you started creating your schedule in the edit/preview window. You can edit doors and windows in the model and then go back to the schedule you placed in the model, select it, and open by selecting Calculate > Interactive Schedule.

If you select a window or door number from the Interactive Schedule > Preview window and wonder why you can't go to the Selection in Plan option, it is because you are not on the story that the window or door is located on.

Create a Navigator preview in the View Editor of all of your schedules for easy searching and placing and naming on your layout sheets.

Keep your schedules simple and remember to be conscious of the fact that third party libraries will use different parameters than the ones in ArchiCAD's libraries. Also, when checking the box to get the elevation of your doors or windows in your schedule, don't forget that one person's idea of a 3D front view is another's 3D rear view.


Many thanks to Ransom Ratcliff of AEC Infosystems for his help with editing and presenting this article.

About the Author

Dwayne Van Horn is a Project Architect with Penza Associates Architects in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from Temple University in 1991 with a B. Architecture, and has been using ArchiCAD since 1994. He has found that every day can be exciting when you build models of all your designs, and generate construction documents from that same model. Dwayne's goal is to never draw construction documents again.—"Here's your model…. Build it." Dwayne chairs the Baltimore ArchiCAD User Group and welcomes all new users. Meetings are free to all. Dwayne can be reached at


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