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AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #39 (February 25, 2009)

Creating and Formatting a Custom Interactive Schedule in ArchiCAD

Thomas M. Simmons
President, ARCHVISTA Building Technologies

In this tutorial, we will review the steps to create a custom schedule, using a Window Schedule as an example, and then review how to format the schedule to the custom look and feel for a project.

About the Interactive Element Schedule

ArchiCAD’s Interactive Schedule function allows you to automatically generate schedules to track windows, doors, equipment, cost, area and more. Unlike simple Element Lists created with the commands of the Document > Schedules and Lists menu, the Schedule not only displays quantities and other parameters—you can actually edit it. This makes it possible to notice and correct inconsistencies resulting from a data entry error or from the merging of work from several people on different parts of the same project.

For example, the schedule may allow you to detect that all but one of the thirty or forty doors placed in your building have the same height and width. You can then select this door directly from the schedule and check whether there is a reason for this inconsistency. If you find that this was a mistake, then you can correct the setting in the schedule and automatically update the door in all views.

How to Create a Custom Window Schedule

Before we can format and edit a schedule we must define the fields and content we want displayed within the schedule.

1. To format and create a new Window Schedule, select the Scheme Settings... option from the menu Documents > Schedules and Lists > Schedules.

2. Click the Create New button.

3. Enter a new name for the schedule called Project Window Schedule and then click the OK button.

4. In the Criteria section, select the Element Type and set the Value to Window.

5. In the Fields section of the dialog box, open the Available Parameters called General, click the ID parameter option, and click the Add button.

6. Add the remaining Schedule Fields from the General parameters section.

7. Next, open the Windows/Doors parameters and add the Schedule Fields shown below.

8. In the Schedules Fields column, select the up/down arrows on the left edge of the added fields and drag them up or down so that they appear in the sequence shown below. 

9. Click the OK button when finished.

How to Format the Window Schedule

To format the Window Schedule, you need to open the interactive list window to view the schedule and to access the format options. The following steps will walk you through this process.

1. The schedule you created will appear in the Schedule menu. Select the Project Window Schedule from the Schedules and Lists menu.

2. The Schedule window will appear displaying the fields for the Project Window Schedule you specified in the previous step. As you will see, we need to not only format the text and headings, but the graphical views must be formatted as well.

3) First, let’s format the graphical views for the 2D Symbol and the 3D Front View. To do this, click the 2D symbol within the first row of the schedule so it is highlighted.

4) Next, within the Format Options section at the left hand edge of the schedule, select the Picture option.

5. Finally, set the Picture Size to Reduce to fit into cell. This will resize the graphics for the windows to fit within the cells of the schedule. To increase the size of the graphics, simply increase the size of the cell.

6. Now we need to format the fields and headers in the menu. First, click the Zone Name title and change to Room Name.

7. Also change the two Custom Text fields to Manufacturer and Notes.

8. To set the size of the font, click in the field to format and then change the font size in the Format Options in the left of the schedule.

9. Next, adjust the width of the field by clicking and dragging a column line from the top of the column, similar to how you adjust columns in an Excel table.

10. To create sub-headers within a schedule, such as placing Height and Width within a heading of Window Size, we must use the Insert Header Above command. To do this, hold your Shift Key down and click on the headers above which you want to insert a header.

11. Click the Header Options button above and select Insert header cell above.

12. In the new header cell, change the default merged text to Window Size.

13. To select a color for the border lines within the value fields, click a row within the schedule so it is highlighted and select a color from the Border Pen option.

The final schedule with custom fields and formatting is shown below.

Conclusion

The steps above are not limited to Window Schedules and can be used to create Area Calculation Schedules, Usage Type Schedules, Equipment Schedules, Kitchen Cabinet Schedules, Material Takeoff Schedules and more.

If you’re interested in furthering your knowledge on creating custom schedules we offer a series of 6 recorded classes focused on interactive schedules as part of LearnVirtual (click to view classes),  plus over 110 recorded classes and weekly LIVE eClasses on a range of topics including modeling techniques, drafting techniques, process management, revision management, rendering and animation. To learn more about LearnVirtual, go to www.learnvirtual.com.

About the Author

Thomas M. Simmons, the founder of ARCHVISTA, Inc. and LearnVirtual, has spoken at major industry events including AEC Systems, Ecobuild, AIACC Desert Practice Conference, and the AIACC Monterey Design Conference. He has authored several books on Building Information Modeling, ArchiCAD and architectural technology. He was formerly the Director of Technology with the award winning firm of EHDD Architects, San Francisco, and has earned a Masters of Architecture from UC Berkeley. He can be reached at tsimmons@archvista.com.




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