BIM Coordinator Program (INT) April 22, 2024

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About Archicad's design tools, element connections, modeling concepts, etc.

Pensets - how to manage?


Hi everyone. I'm looking for some advice on Pensets, which extends to other attributes too. We have two competing views on this in our office:

1. Use a minimal penset that only has a handful of pens. Everything else is deleted and left empty. This is simple, intuitive and easy to use, but breaks a lot of functionality with library parts. Some library objects will be 'invisible' when initially placed as their default pens no longer exist. A lot of time is then spent fixing pens.

2. Use pensets based on the Archicad defaults and the logic/organisation of the grid. This keeps the functionality of library parts, but can be confusing for users who don't understand why there are so many pens (e.g. 50 different blacks) and are not sure which ones to use and when.

It would be really interesting to hear how people manage pensets and set up their templates. Is it better to keep the Archicad defaults/logic and then add our own pens on at the end?

This issue extends to Building Materials, Surfaces, etc. Is it better, and easier to manage, to keep the Archicad defaults and then add our own on afterwards, leaving a sizable gap in in the index numbers in case Graphisoft add extra things in the future?

Cheers, Nik


Thanks Barry. That's seems to be the conclusion I'm coming to. It's tempting at first to delete anything you don't need and try to streamline everything, but the unintended consequence is that library items stop working as intended.



Pen sets I do have plenty of!

While most Archicad folks seem to hopped on the bandwagon of "oh we have GOs now, we don't need pen sets anymore" – I did not. I think that this view is utter nonsense and pen sets DO bring a lot of value. So I have about half a dozen or a bit more.

If you would take a look at my daily most used pen set however, you also would not necessarily come to the conclusion this pen set is "lean". At least if you think of minimalism. See the screenshot @Nik postet below, he uses less than 20 colors and just 31 pens in total. That is quite minimalistic!

I have non of the issues you described tho. Pens 19 + 91 are set to be white, and my first 10 pens or so are blacks in all different thicknesses. For those few elements I use often and want other pen configurations at I have favorites for me and my colleagues. But again, most do not need this special treatment.

I have two rows for BMAT fore- and backgrounds, then some colors which stay the same everywhere, plus 2 gray scales.


Lucas Becker | AC 27 on Mac | Author of Runxel's Archicad Wiki | Editor at SelfGDL | Developer of the GDL plugin for Sublime Text |
«Furthermore, I consider that Carth... yearly releases must be destroyed»

Hi runxel, would you be able to share a screenshot of your daily pen set? It would be really interesting to see your approach.


Cheers, Nik

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