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Template best practices


In starting new projects, we have been starting with a previous project file and deleting the previous elements. All of our standards carry over, but the file ends up being fairly large, and seems to be holding some previous data. Would working with a template be a better approach? If so, what are best practices in setting up a template from an existing project? Doe we delete the old building elements as we have been doing, or is it better to start with a fresh empty file and bring in the layering & attributes etc. Is there an easy way to do this?


While some answers will make you think its easy, its actually a total pain at least for me, specially its maintenance: All our files of different projects have different things and havent been able to standarize everything.  Personally i think its better to start afresh, but eventually you'll begin to add up things and carry them over so you will have to decide at some point to start afresh again or carry over baggage.


Please Graphisoft, make the central file template (with the ability to add ad hoc items as needed in each project) a priority

Template creation is easy and is well worth the initial effort. You can add things you find yourself repeatedly doing as you go along and maintain an up-to-date template file. We created ours in AC18 and have been using it and updating it ever since. Favourites are the back bone to any template. 

Re-using old files for new projects can cause havoc with revisions and transmittals.  

Lee Hankins
ArchiCAD 4.5 - Archicad 27UKI Apple Silicon 27.2.1
macOS Sonoma (14.5)

As @Lee Hankins said, having a well pre-set template with well organized favorites does help a lot and is well wort the effort. It does take some time to get things the way you need them to be, but it also saves the same amount of time on each new project. 

You should follow the GS suggested order of template development, Project Preferences > Attributes > Data Management > Display Options > Project Structure > Usability > Annotations.

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Am I correct in that we should not start by stripping down an existing project, and should start with a blank file and import everything?

The ideal way is to recreate from scratch and avoid copy/pasting or importing from another. The initial setup is going to be more time consuming than "importing" but it will help to re-evaluate all your settings and avoid the possible existing mistakes. After that setup updating when a new version comes out should be easier.


But though ideal it is sometimes not practical.

So my current workflow is:

  • clean a current office file
  • create another blank document based on current AC Template and Clean it.
    • Don't be afraid of deleting stuff from the Template you can always bring them back using Attribute Manager though you need to remember to use the option "By Index" so they import were they are supposed to.
  • Using Attribute Manager start bringing in items from the "clean" file.
    • Do not use "Bring Associated Attributes" bring in order (Fills, then Surfaces, then BMats)
    • Bring only one first and reindex it to be 500 then bring the others in. This will help you figure out if attributes were created by copy/paste since all the office Attributes would go  from 500 forward. Any other attribute will be less than 500 and higher than the last number in AC's base template.
  • Start redefining all project elements (it will go faster than you think) and saving Favorites.
  • With 26 you can start sorting items into folders. Organize so that the most used ones always show first on the list and that users can easily find them. (Though Folders are half-cooked in the implementation hopefully they will be fixed and fully usable when AC 40 comes around.)
  • Then re-create views, etc as necessary.
  • When in doubt on how to proceed always try to keep it simple and test it by teaching another user on how to do it. If the explanation is too convoluted or has too many exceptions then rethink that workflow.
Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC27 US/INT -> AC08

Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram, OS X 10.XX latest
another Moderator

AC40 sounds like a reasonable timeframe