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!Restored: CALCULATION: What do you want to do, what info you need???

Laszlo Nagy
Community Admin
Community Admin
Hi Everyone,

I am currently looking into ways to make some modifications to the Calculation-related portions of the ArchiCAD Documentation so as to improve it. I would like to ask for your help. I'd like to get a firm reality on how ArchiCAD Users relate to this part of the program.
My question to you all is:
- Tell me things you want to do with the Calculate menu
- Tell me what kind of quantity take-offs, schedules, Bills of materials etc. you want to create and what pieces of information you want to appear on these.
- Tell me what kind of Zone Lists do you usually produce. How do you do them currently and what would be needed for you in order to be able to do them automatically using the Calculate menu's features?
- Tell me what difficulties you encountered in trying to accomplish these tasks
- Tell me what parts of the Calculation portion of ArchiCAD seems most mystical and hard-to-understand to you.
- Tell me how much do use utilize AC's built-in graphic templates, do you find them useful or would you need different ones. Can you create your own using data provided in AC Help?

Thanks in advance
Laszlo Nagy, Lead Moderator, Community Admin
Get Archicad Tips at
AMD Ryzen 1700X CPU, 48 GB RAM, NVidia GTX 1060 6GB, 500 GB NVMe SSD
2x28" (2560x1440), WIN10 PRO ENG, AC20-AC25
Loving Archicad since 1995

Thanks for asking!

My biggest problem is with the inflexibility of Property Objects. Because their parameters are not changeable, like standard GDL objects, this requires a huge number of property objects (essentially one per characteristic), and causes their assignment to be far too tedious and cumbersome.

If we could, say, assign a single "hardware" property object per door, and select the lock function (e.g. passage, privacy, classroom) in a parameter, this would be far more useful than creating a separate property object for each lock function, which seems to be the way it needs to work now. If the Interactive Scheduler could then just treat the parameters of the property objects like the other object paramters, then you'd have tremendous flexibility with scheduling.

Another wish would be to be able to adjust schedule column widths directly on the plan. The visual feedback from doing this in the I.S. preview isn't accurate enough.
Richard Morrison, Architect-Interior Designer
AC25 (since AC6.0), Win10

I would like to simply be able to quickly use a schedule template for the following tasks:

Interior finish schedule !!!!
Toilet Accessories
Parking (site)

Door Elevation types
Window Elevation types
Frame elevations

(These are not necessarily part of the schedule function but relate to the scheduling process. Right now I use the calculate function to quickly generate the elevations copy and past to the floor plan, then resize. This works o.k.)

There are probably others but I can't think of them right now. I don't even need them to be exhaustive in content, I just need to be able to quickly have them show the right parts and let me fill in the blanks. It is nice to have the schedules that you need pre-formated (templates). Of course these need to be interactive with the model, so that changes in either changes the other. The current set-up might be able to do what I am asking for but is not intuitive in nature.
Mark Gillis | Architect
CJMW Architecture

ArchiCad 24 | Mac/Windows - user since 1991

In addition to the other comments, the ability to deal with the schedules in an interactive spread sheet type layout, picking and choosing the elements to include. The comment about the lock function is typical of the need for some sort of grouped parameters that could be assigned as opposed to individual elements. My typical use has been the IS for doors and windows, one of the things that would spped the process id to allow for a simple add on of an attached text type parameter that is not part of the base GDL and is attached as a scheduling item that could be edited easily, not the same as AutoCad attributes but rather a means to attach schedulable items related to the construction part. I believe that this would allow for virtually any component to be listed and quantified easily. The components and descriptors are just too complicated for the necessary ease of use.
MBP 15" retina 16GB 512 SSD
High Sierra - AC 21
27" Thunderbolt
AC since 4.16

Rick Thompson
Whow!!! thanks for asking. I use material list in my daily business for residential work. After many long and frustrating hours attempting to learn how to work the calc functions I have gotten to the point of providing a reasonably good material take off. I will attach a sample I made for people to download off my web site. First, the "manual" was very hard for me to figure out. This is a difficult tool to learn, so I would first recommend a very well thought out manual. I would recommend people forget the graphic template.

My biggest mistake was thinking I could develop one takeoff to generate all I needed, and using the graphic template for this. What I do now is generate several different list, which has it's own page (or topic) on the sample attached. So I have one list for "crawl foundation", one for electrical, plumbing, mech...etc.. This was the only way I could manage to organize the list. Trying to have it all come from one "button" was an error I made in the beginning.

Maybe this is too much for one program to incorporate, but with the license fee being a "professional" fee:) maybe not. I would like to see the list behave as a spreadsheet, but internal to AC. Now I save all my separate "runs" as tabbed text and open them into an Excel workbook template. Having that pre-formatted with a cover sheet, and headings for each category generates a pretty easy complete list. If AC could do this internally it would be better. There it could be exported as an Excel workbook for others to add formulas etc.

There are quite a few frustrating "small" things, but I can't remember them all now. I will start keeping a list:) One comes to mind. If you make a new property and want to link to the data base, it would be nice for the data base to stay open, and not require you to re-navigate to the place you were. Often the components are in the same file and it might take 5 or 6 clicks to get right back to where you were to link the next component. I would like to keep the data base open and drag and drop components into the property object. That would be great. Much like Golive link placing. THat would speed the process up a lot.

I would like to see in the info box what property is being linked to. Now you have to open the tool, open the pane, then if you change something it does not necessarily update untill you close the pane and reopen it. It's this stuff that bogs the work flow down.

thanks for placing attention on this.
Rick Thompson
Mac High Serra AC 20

Rick Thompson
If you list roof framing from the default roof wizard you get lenghts that will drive a builder mad... 2x6x15'-3" as an example. For a hip roof you get a zillion differnt menbers. I had the resident ex- GS staff member make a hack to round these to the nearest 2' increment, and then you get something useable... 12 -2x6x16 While I have this solved, it should be built in to AC. Perhaps a place to set a preference. I will post the hack in case someone wants it. When GS moved the lumber components out of the accessable library I could not use this... thanks for putting it back.

hummmm... I can't attach a >sit or .ISM file, so I will attach a PDF of a srceen shot. I will email directly to anyone wanting it.
Rick Thompson
Mac High Serra AC 20

Rick Thompson
the rest of the lumber component round off script
Rick Thompson
Mac High Serra AC 20

Geoff Briggs
I'm thinking in terms of improving the IS since the property/list scheme seems overly complicated for most needs (but provides tremendous power for those who need it). Off the top of my head here's what I'd like to see happen to the IS:

-Live Update
-Work directly in placed schedule or change dbx to non-modal palette that can be left open.
-Calculation fields like a true spread sheet for figuring simple things like rough openings, glazing areas, etc.
-Two way "dumb" parameters, ie. the ability to add non graphic info like detail references or hardware key notes to either the object or the schedule. Not just empty text fields, the info would populate object list parameters so other schedules could also access it.
-Empty text fields

On a related note, I can't wait for auto text to make it's way to this level so something like a door jamb detail could be included as auto text in a schedule.

Thanks Lasz. I happy to hear this is on the hit list.
Geoff Briggs
DeForest Architects
Seattle, USA

AC24 INT, Mac (home), Win10 (work)
Yes, you read that correctly, we are in the US but use the INT version.

Well, I do not use the calculation menu very often, but I have tried some “test runs” (just being curious about it) and I must admit I have found it too much complicated for the first time user even after reading the manual. What I would like to see there is sort of simple wizards which would allow you to setup simple tasks graphically, like Setup List Schemes… At the moment one has to fill hundreds of fields in (sometimes not knowing the meaning of all of them) for an uncertain final result, I mean to have a "visual" control over the final document through the whole process.
I suppose the idea of an “active” spreadsheet would really work.

I am new to archicad but i have quite explred the calculation capabilities.
They are just great.
As i see it all the calculation is based on 3 things.
a) Select
b) Extract attributes
c) Do maths with (b)

So improving calculation capabilities means improving all of them
Some things i noticed.

Selection is powerfull as is now but there are some drawbacks.
For example i need to select wall with 5 different raster patterns
This should is troubling to be made in the current situation
It would be nicer when i choose the wall object for selection and then choose raster to get a list of all used rasters in the building and just tick witch i want. The same goes for floor selection. When i select to filter on floor there should be a list and tick witch floor i want or dont want.

b) is a part of what said before. Just easier faster selection and filtering.

c) Is that really present?. I noticed only sums and partial sums at interactive scheduler but i may be wrong

Thats how i see calculation, but i am no power user.

Rick Thompson
Adjustable pallet sizes. These little 1" long boxes to display all the layers (as an example) is very tiring.

Allow printing to file for the "link to properties" function. Often I need to reference how I set something up, and having to open and close the "link to properties" pallet each time is a pain. If it could stay open while working in the AC plan window, that could be helpful. But some way to record it (rather than 10 screen shots). Once I managed to corrupt the whole file and had to start over (very bad day... thought about finding another CAD that whole week). Now I keep several back ups. The "guidance" from GS is terrible here. Many of us are not computer brainy and don't automatically know where the info is kept, nor now to carry it along into a new version. Despite my lack of a brain, I stumbled through the darkness, asked questions (thanks to ACtalk) I now sorta have a handle on it. But, a new-be would be wasting a lot of time to figure this out, rather than making a living.

thanks for looking into this:)
Rick Thompson
Mac High Serra AC 20

Live Update would be my number one wish right now (number one of many!! ). We need to have it placed as it's own 'view' in PlotMaker and be auto updateable, as with any view.

Thanks for asking Laszlo!

Get your ARCHICAD 25 Template HERE!

Karl Ottenstein
I wish I wasn't so swamped with work, or I could add quite a long list here ...

A quickie in addition to Geoff's comments on I.S. is the ability from I.S. to place a schedule in section or detail windows, not just in plan. Creating a special 'story' for schedules, or placing them off to the side of a floor plan isn't the way I want to work.

If I understand Geoff and Link's take on Live Update, then I agree... if that means updating from PM when drawings are updated. If it means keeping placed schedules up to date at all times, then I'd give a cautious 'yes' if that was a user preference setting to avoid bogging the system down until we dual processor/etc support. Minimally, I'd like the wish that someone put on the wishlist that you be able to just right-mouse a placed schedule (object) and choose 'update now' ... or perhaps have a menu item 'update all placed schedules'.

A major I.S. issue relates to editing the settings of a placed schedule. When a user places a schedule of type "Myfirm Door Schedule" and then needs to edit that placed schedule's content or format ... those edits only affect the placed schedule, not the master definition ... so placing another "Myfirm Door Schedule" will not reflect those changes. This has its own powerful uses (and there is a way to recover those changes into a new *.iss file) ... but the user SHOULD have an option when editing those settings of choosing to edit either (a) the placed object's internal settings or (b) the master schedule definition's settings (as well as the placed object). Otherwise, there's a mess of *.iss file management, or deleting and re-placing, re-positioning schedules...

Other wishlist items address the limited formatting capabilities of the I.S.

Gotta go...

One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6.1, iMac Pro

Once again... I have been trying to explain my proposal since 1997... First to Ferenc, then to Gyuri and Viktor... Please indulge me one more time...

The idea of DESCRIPTORS and COMPONENTS must be moved to a TEMPLATE systems instead of prescribed packages... Here's what I mean...

Property OBJECTS are now FILL-IN THE BLANK palettes instead of predetermined lumps of data. The blanks can be DERIVED from parameters that exist in the HOST object (door, window, FLOOR, SLAB, etc) So Width in the P.O.(property object) can equal A or A*1.15% or anything for that matter. Now, when schedules are required, they are calc'd from the property object.

You will be able to APPLY a P.O. via criterial such as you now can with current PO's. In a way, it is like a LABEL with fill ins. BUT PLEASE ALLOW MORE THAN ONE "APPLY" per object in the plan.

Anyway, this floating P.O. palette is available much like the INFO palatte, and will change as you select new native objects in plan (or 3d window). It is BIDIRECTIONAL... so if Width = A and you change Width, A will update.

Brain is withering.... more later.
Visual Frontiers
AC22 6021:|: AC24 4007:|: Enscape3:|:TwinMotion
DellXPS 4.7ghz i7:|: 8gb GPU 1070ti

I have found "simple" 42!!!! steps how to create a Graphic Template in Archicad help in:
User Guide/Chapter 10-Project Data Calculation/More Information/Archicad Calculation Guide/Appendix/B: Graphic Template Setup Example

Now this is really scary... you have to go through 20!!! windows with zillions of parameters in 42!!!! steps to get a list of library elements. Honestly guys after that, one has to call for paramedics... I just can not imagine anybody sane doing that. Even though I understand relational databases and the logic of descriptors, components and properties I still think that the calculation menu is in very "raw" form to understand for a "common" user of Archicad.

Ben Cohen
I am with you rob, the whole thing is too complex for its own good, IS is a step in the right direction but still lacks a GUI. Even Quickbooks custom reports are easier to customize and it only cost me $150, yes I know the information is a lot more complex in Archicad but it would be a step in the right direction..... just make it easy!
Ben Cohen

Mac and PC

Archicad (Latest Version) aus

I agree, the calculate menu is way to complicated. The tutorial doesn't discuss anything about how to use it. I need something basic, simple that I can jump right into and use right away. I don't have time to sit down and try to figure out this complicated menu. The firm I work for would love to know how to use this, but its just to complicated.

If you try and play with it a couple of hours.. you will get used of it.

Is not that complicated
and i in the online help of AC8.1 it gives a pretty good introduction.
But just play and learn..

Is not that hard ( i am a newbie too)

Exactly Mike, the company I am working for would be interested as well, but it seems to me like almost learning a new software and simply I DO NOT have enough time to fiddle around with the project for a couple of millions $. Secondly, 90% of my demands would be getting a SIMPLE spreadsheet without a PAIN in your bottom end and QUICKLY!!!

laszlonagy wrote:
My question to you all is:
- Tell me things you want to do with the Calculate menu
We should be able to easily create inventory of objects, with its scaled/or thumbnail drawings.
Those drawings should not necessary be 2D symbol or 3D of actual GSM object as most of product drawings we get for free directly from manufacturer in form of catalogue (in PDF, DWG, JPG).
laszlonagy wrote:
- Tell me what kind of quantity take-offs, schedules, Bills of materials etc. you want to create and what pieces of information you want to appear on these.
As all of ArchiCAD standard library parts has almost all useful parameters (particularly in ArchiFM part) it is very important that we can list those parameters and ArchiCAD be able to group them and calculate sums.

I'm not saying it is not possible even now but it is very cumbersome.

We would like to list duct parameters that are created by Ductwork. We need lengths, prices and parts of objects to be grouped and summed.

laszlonagy wrote:
- Tell me what kind of Zone Lists do you usually produce. How do you do them currently and what would be needed for you in order to be able to do them automatically using the Calculate menu's features?
Zone Lists are quite powerful feature as it is, and if you incorporate listing of object inventory in a way I mentioned it would be highly useful for exporting to other HVAC specialized software.

Even though it is possible to list zone volumes, it is not easy through Graphic templates, and it would be great for presentational purposes that we can put 3D and 2D drawings of zones in list too.

laszlonagy wrote:
- Tell me what difficulties you encountered in trying to accomplish these tasks
- Tell me what parts of the Calculation portion of ArchiCAD seems most mystical and hard-to-understand to you.
- Tell me how much do use utilize AC's built-in graphic templates, do you find them useful or would you need different ones. Can you create your own using data provided in AC Help?

Thanks in advance
Graphic templates never worked for me, even when I was following the instructions from help. I was just trying to insert one column (e.g. for zone volume) and to have a sum, but it never worked. Even if I was wrong it mens that help is not clear, and for sure it is not simple.

SetUp list Schemes should be organized like Interactive schedules, with page parameters for exporting added. Easier sum creation.
BDSP Partnership Ltd

ArchiCAD 12+MEP/XP/Pentium Dualcore 3.4GHz /2 Gb RAM/ATI Radeon x600

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