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

Seeking Advice on Modeling with .e57 Point Cloud in Archicad


I am currently working on a project that involves modeling in Archicad using a .e57 point cloud file, along with additional reference pictures and Trimble Scan Explorer views.

I would greatly appreciate any insights, tips, or step-by-step guidance on how to approach this modeling process effectively within Archicad. What are the best practices, tools, and workflows to seamlessly integrate the point cloud data into my Archicad project.

If anyone has experience with a similar workflow or can point me to relevant resources, it would be immensely helpful. Additionally, if there are specific considerations for handling Trimble Scan Explorer views.




look for:   PointCab. 

AC5.5-AC27EduAut, PC-Win10, MacbookAirM1, MacbookM1Max, Win-I7+Nvidia

Unfortunately Archicad has some limitations when working with heavy data e57 files. In most cases this high resolution files are not needed for remodelling in AC. I always prepare my Point Clouds with CloudCompare (which is  freeware btw ) for my needs without loosing performance in AC. You can reduce resolution, cut in pieces, remove unnessesary parts, colouring and much more and import only the data you need.

Also Rhino8 with Grasshopper has now some interesting features regarding e57 files which I'm starting to test at this time.

AC16 -> AC aktuell
WIN 10 & Mac Studio Ventura

I am not an expert by any means with .e57 files, but I have used them a few times in ArchiCAD.  As you probably already know, you can import .e57 files directly into ArchiCAD.  File - Interoperability- Import Point Could

But they may or may not be very useful points - depending on why you need it to be in ArchiCAD.  


What is it you want to do with the point cloud ? Model MEP systems,  the Building, Structure... ?   And then, what is it you want to use the ArchiCAD model for ? 


Cleaning a Point Cloud Object - Trimble RealWorks (


There is so much you can do with the point cloud software before you have what you want to import that you will probably never want import an entire point cloud scan into ArchiCAD.  

ArchiCAD 25 7000 USA - Windows 10 Pro 64x - Dell 7720 64 GB 2400MHz ECC - Xeon E3 1535M v6 4.20GHz - (2) 1TB M.2 PCIe Class 50 SSD's - 17.3" UHD IPS (3840x2160) - Nvidia Quadro P5000 16GB GDDR5 - Maxwell Studio/Render Multilight 2 - Adobe Acrobat Pro - ArchiCAD 6 -25

I would suggest you try CloudTool, which provides several enhancements to manage point clouds within Archicad. In the links below you will find several videos showcasing how we use it to model all our projects from .e57 scans.

Archicad 27 ARM, MacBook Pro M3 Max 128Gb, macOS Sonoma.

Your second link shows something Archicad can do automaticly in 30 sec btw

Hi BrynjarV, I would be very interested to understand the specific workflow you are referring to. It would be indeed great news if Archicad could model a terrain mesh element with correct contour lines from a point cloud out of the box in 30 seconds!

Archicad 27 ARM, MacBook Pro M3 Max 128Gb, macOS Sonoma.

Export pointcloud as xyz in .txt format. 3DR / cloudcompare can do this - Then File - Interoperabillity - Place mesh from surveyors data


Be aware, the pointcloud should be decimated quite a bit beforehand - 0.5m or so.

I am aware of the place mesh from surveyors data workflow you refer to, but the process would require knowledge of using Cloudcompare, to cut the point cloud by levels, reduce the number of points and export to xyz. Even though, the resulting imported mesh would be based on points, and not produce contour lines.

Of course there are other workflows available, but the advantage of our method is that everything is done in Archicad. Overall, not the same result, level of control and graphical output that the CloudTool workflow produces in Archicad.

Archicad 27 ARM, MacBook Pro M3 Max 128Gb, macOS Sonoma.