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Archicad Basic Concepts - Visualizing and Filtering Building Information

Emoke Csikos
This article is a part of a series titled Archicad Quick Tour.
Each Archicad project is a complex database consisting of the following items:
  • 3D design elements: walls, columns, windows and doors, MEP system elements, etc.
  • 2D drafting and documenting elements: lines, fills, texts, labels, dimensions and images
  • non-visual data (also known as metadata): classifications, properties, renovation status, thermal transmittance, acoustic specifications etc. that are assigned to the 2D and 3D elements as their attributes and properties. (Some of these can be visualized, see details below.)


This is what we call the BIM (Building Information Model). In Archicad you always see only a filtered set of elements and data of your BIM at a time. There are many ways to filter the content of the BIM project for representation. We use filtering all the time. What you see on the screen is never the entire virtual building. There are two main ways building information is represented. They partly overlap in terms of what type of building information they represent.
  • Visual representation: The geometry of the building and its elements are shown in a visual way on floor plans, sections, elevations, 3D views , details,  worksheets and rendered images. Visual information often also contains a large proportion of non-visual data, since they can be visualized in Archicad by using these:
  • Schedules: They represent data that cannot be visualized, but they also often contain parameters that are visually representable, such as dimensions (width, length, height, area, volume, etc.) and certain views (front view, side view, etc.) of building elements.


The perspective view and the floor plan are visual representations while the schedule is a non-visual representation of building information. They are all based on different filtered sets of information of the same model:
Archicad helps you in many ways to control what is visible and what is hidden in your project. Let's see the tools that serve visualizing and filtering building information:


Visual Representation - What Do We See?

The visibility of elements in the model is defined by these:


Visual Representation - How Do We See What We See?

The visibility is defined by the factors mentioned above. The way the visible elements are shown, is defined by the following: In the example below Renovation Filter Options control what is displayed and Graphic Override Combinations control how they are displayed:

Schedules - What is Shown?

The content displayed in schedules is defined in the Schedule Scheme Settings. The Criteria set filters what elements will appear in the schedule (e.g. doors or doors on a certain floor, etc.). In the fields you can select what information you want to display about the selected elements (e.g. size, quantity, position, fire resistance rating, etc.).
This article is a part of a series titled Archicad Quick Tour.

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