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Getting started with Archicad Add-Ons

Doreena Deng

Archicad Add-On Basics


The programming language of Archicad Add-Ons is C++, so you have to be familiar with this language to start.

Archicad is extensible in several ways: by creating new menu commands and dialogs, adding import-export functionalities, etc. The API itself is general purpose, so you can write various Add-Ons with the same Development Kit.


What will you need to get started?


First things first, you will have to set up your development environment: 

  • Archicad – The demo version is perfectly fine for experimenting with the API, but it has some restrictions that you may experience during the development process. 
  • API Development Kit – This will allow you to build Archicad Add-Ons on your computer. 
  • CMake – To generate IDE projects (3.16 minimum version is needed). 
  • Python – For some build tools (version 2.7+ or 3.8+). 
  • Depending on your platform you will need a development environment. On Windows this is Microsoft Visual Studio, on MacOS this is Xcode. You can also use Visual Studio Code on both platforms if you have the appropriate build tools installed. 


Archicad Versions  Windows MacOS
Archicad 23 Visual Studio 2017 (v141 toolset) Latest Xcode (deployment target macOS 10.12)
Archicad 24 Visual Studio 2017 (v141 toolset) Latest Xcode (deployment target macOS 10.13)
Archicad 25 Visual Studio 2019 (v142 toolset) Latest Xcode (deployment target macOS 10.15)
Archicad 26 Visual Studio 2019 (v142 toolset) Latest Xcode (deployment target macOS 10.15)
Archicad 27 Visual Studio 2019 (v142 toolset) Latest Xcode (deployment target macOS 10.15)


Structure of the API Development Kit


After you have installed the Development Kit you will find three folders at the install location.

  • Documentation: This is the folder for API documentation. You can find here a reference for all the API functions. The documentation is available online, too.
  • Examples: Here you can find a lot of example Add-Ons. These can be a good starting point for understanding how the API works. Feel free to open the IDE projects and investigate the possibilities.
  • Support: This is the most important folder. It contains all the header and library files for Add-On development, and the tools for resource compilation. This is the folder you will need to build your Add-On.


Build Your First Add-On With Templates


You could start with one of the example Add-Ons, but it’s much easier to start with the template available on GitHub. Download the Archicad Add-On template from here.


For further steps please check out this page: Getting started with Archicad Add-Ons | ARCHICAD API (



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