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The most useful keyboard shortcuts for ArchiCAD

Eric Bobrow
Enthusiast
Hi Everyone -

I am going to create a new ArchiCAD video tutorial focused on keyboard shortcuts and quick mouse-clicks. I want to go beyond the simple browser-based reference list and demonstrate the most useful ones onscreen.

I would love to get your suggestions for this topic, to make sure I create the best reference possible.

Below is a list of the current shortcuts that I will include - please respond and add your comments and suggestions if you have any ideas for things that I may have forgotten. I'm particularly interested in the ones that seem "cool" or that you "couldn't live without" or that are "hidden" (not widely known).

THE MOST IMPORTANT AND USEFUL KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS FOR ARCHICAD
  • GENERAL

    Open File: Command/CTRL - O
    Save File: Command/CTRL - S
    Print: Command/CTRL - P

    Command/CTRL - L: Layer Settings dialog

    CANCEL AND UNDO

    Escape key: one of the following actions (in this order) -
    Cancels current editing or drawing operation (if one is in process)
    Deselects Elements (if any are selected)
    Removes Marquee (if drawn)
    Switches to Arrow Tool (if set to another tool)

    Delete(Mac)/Backspace(PC) key: Backs up one step at a time in polywall, polyline or polygon input

    Command/CTRL - Z: Undo
    Option-Command / ALT-CTRL - Z: Redo

    COORDINATE VALUES AND PLACEMENT

    x, y, r, a, d: Set coordinate values in Tracker (d = distance = r = radius)
    + (plus key): add current value (whichever coordinate is being edited) to previous value shown in Tracker
    - (minus or dash key): subtract current value from previous value in Tracker
    (NOTE: in U.S., two dashes are necessary; one can be a separator between feet and inches, e.g. 5-6-)

    Enter key: confirms current Tracker values as shown or current mouse position, and clicks mouse

    b, t: In Info Box, set base and top values for wall, beam, column, slab, stair, mesh, object
    Windows and Doors accept b or t depending on which anchor is set
    Roofs accept b for pivot line height

    Shift-` (PC) or Custom shortcut (Mac): Create Guideline segment

    Shift-Option / ALT-SHIFT:
    Moves User Origin to node point (on the fly)

    SELECTION

    Shift key - temporarily activates Arrow tool; adds to selection set; removes from selection set

    NOTE: Shift key held down while drawing or editing (rubber-band line visible) constrains cursor to nearest known angle. ArchiCAD determines the nearest end or node point and makes that the Edit Origin; then determines the nearest known angle.

    W key:
    Built-in shortcut to toggle between the Arrow tool and the last used drawing tool

    TAB key:
    When hovering with the Arrow tool or Shift key over two or more overlapping elements, cycles through elements allowing you to choose which one to select

    Spacebar (holding down with Arrow tool active, or with Shift key also held down) - toggles QuickSelect (magnet) mode

    Group: Command/CTRL - G
    Ungroup: Option-Command/ALT-CTRL - G
    Suspend Groups: Option/ALT - G

    SETTINGS

    Command/CTRL - T:
    Element Settings (opens dialog based on which tool is active in Toolbox)
    Default Settings if nothing is selected; or Selected Element Settings

    Command-Option/CTRL-ALT - T:
    Edit Selection Set (allows parameter setting for multiple types of elements in one dialog)

    Option / ALT – Click: Eye-dropper

    Option-Command / ALT-CTRL – Click: Syringe

    Option-Command / ALT-CTRL – Click [in library part window]:
    Selects different part while transfering parameters, keeps style or “family resemblance”

    DRAWING AND EDITING

    Drag: Command/CTRL - D
    Rotate: Command/CTRL - E (NOTE: "e" is the last letter of "Rotate")
    Mirror: Command/CTRL - M

    Press and release Option / CTRL key:
    During Move, Rotate, Mirror or Elevate command, will make a copy

    Press and release Option-Command / CTRL-ALT keys:
    During Move, Rotate, Mirror or Elevate command, will make multiple copies until the Escape key is pressed

    Command/CTRL - U: Multiply

    Spacebar
    With a linear or polygon drawing tool active (e.g. wall, slab, roof, fill, line, polyline, arc, etc.)
    Magic Wand (autotrace)

    Drafting shortcuts in the Toolbar:
    Trim, Split, Adjust, Intersect, Fillet
    Keyboard shortcuts including the use of the Command or Control key by itself to Trim pieces with the scissors icon

    Command / CTRL – Click (depends on context):
    Nothing selected - Scissors icon - Trim pieces of linear or curved elements
    Dimension chain selected - add points
    Walls or Lines selected - Adjust to meet the edge of another element
    Wall(s) and/or Roof(s) selected - Trim or Crop to clicked element (roof or wall)

    NAVIGATION KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS

    F2: Floor Plan
    F3: Show 3D Window (last-used selection or marquee will be active)
    Command/CTRL - F3: Axonometric view mode
    Option/ALT - F3: Perspective view mode
    F4 (Mac) / F5 (Windows): Show Selection/Marquee in 3D
    Command-F4 (Mac) / CTRL-F5 (Windows): Show All in 3D
    F6: Last Section
    F7: Last Layout

    Fit in Window
    Command / CTRL - '
    On Windows, and recent versions on Mac: Double-click middle-mouse button

    Mouse middle-button press: Pan view
    NOTE: There is a free add-on called Magic Prefs that makes this work for the Apple Magic Mouse, which does not have any buttons

    O key:
    In 3D window, triggers Orbit mode; end Orbit by hitting O again or using Escape key
    Middle-button plus Shift key:
    In 3D view, activates Orbit mode; release buttons to end Orbit mode

    Cursor keys (Left, Right, Up, Down):
    Scroll in that direction

    In Plan:
    Command / CTRL – Up Arrow: Go up a story
    Command / CTRL – Down Arrow: Go down a story

    In Layout Book:
    Option / ALT - Left Arrow: Previous Layout
    Option / ALT - Right Arrow: Next Layout

    MISCELLANEOUS SHORTCUTS

    Shift – Cursor keys (Left, Right, Up, Down):
    Nudge selected element(s) the distance set in the Snap Grid

    Shift-Option / Shift-ALT – Cursor keys:
    Nudge selected elements the larger distance set in the Construction Grid

    Shift-S:
    Turns on or off the Grid Snap (NOTE: this used to be “s” without the Shift-key modifier)

    M key:
    Measure tool; hit M again or Escape to finish Measure mode

    Q key:
    While drawing or editing an element with the mouse constrained on an angle (usually with the Shift key), this will cycle through Cursor Snap Variations.

    F key:
    While editing an element with a Pet Palette option in effect, this will “flick” through the available Pet Palette options.

    SPECIAL MOUSE CLICKS

    Double-click Magnifier Plus button: Zoom in to twice the magnification
    Double-click Magnifier Minus button: Zoom out to half the magnification

    Favorites palette – double-click: Activate tool and set default;
    If elements of that type are selected, injects the saved settings into the element(s)

    Flick buttons [<< and >>] in Library Part Settings or Info Box:
    Switches to next or previous library part; has the side effect of resetting the library part to the default settings.

    Empty hole button:
    In Window or Door Settings or Info Box, will switch to Empty Opening while maintaining the same width and height.

    Arrow-click or Shift-click on EDGE of hole (within polygon element such as Slab, Roof, Mesh, Fill, etc.):
    Select HOLE only (allows the hole to be dragged, drag a copy, multiply, deleted, etc.)
Please respond with your comments and suggestions as soon as possible.

Thanks for your help in this little project!

Eric
39 REPLIES 39
Stress Co_
Advisor
Here's two keyboard shortcuts that I use all the time:

"Command + 1": Toggles True line weights on/off

"`": Toggles trace reference on/off (the tilde key)
Marc Corney, Architect
Red Canoe Architecture, P. A.

Mac OS 10.15.7 (Catalina)
Processor: 3.6 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9
Memory: 48 GB 2667 MHz DDR4
Graphics: Radeon Pro 580X 8GB
ArchiCAD 25 (5010 USA Full)
Anonymous
Not applicable
I began using as many as possible in order to eliminate the amount of palettes on my screen thereby leaving more room for drawings. I also believe it is much quicker to draft using key commands instead of pull down menus. No need to follow a prescribed list. Never copy anyone else's shortcuts. Everyone has different commands that they use for their drawing style. Begin with the commands you use most often. Try to keep the keyboard shortcuts on the left side of the keyboard so that you can keep your right hand on the mouse. Any letter command can be "doubled up" by using either Command, Option or both (by pressing Option & Command together with the side of your left thumb). Add one or two new shortcuts a week. Be efficient & conserve your movements. You will draft much faster & have more time for lunch.
Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
I use all of those mentioned, and more. And, agree completely with Jack that it is important that folks create their own as they see that they are 'reaching' for menus/elsewhere often.

Some other ones that I use frequently (and may be different from the standard keys for those things with default shortcuts) are:

ctrl/cmd-F: Find and Select

ctrl/cmd-minus: adjust: extends (or trims) one or multiple lines/walls to a clicked or virtually drawn line

ctrl/cmd-B: split/break a line/wall at the selected intersection (of clicked or virtually drawn line)

ctrl/cmd-shift-': zoom to selection. I use zoom extents in Eric's list the most often (ctrl-') but sometimes the project is too huge and selecting an area and zooming just it is faster.

I: intersect (walls/lines)

H: hairline / true-weight toggle (Marc's cmd-1)

Shift-I: Info Palette - info on selected elements

shift-E: SEOp palette. (Shift='S'olid, E=Element)

ctrl/cmd-Z followed by ctrl/cmd-Shift-Z (Undo/Redo): selects last created element(s)

ctrl/cmd-shift-O: open selected object in the GDL editor

shift-O: Align 3D Texture > Set Origin
shift-P: Align 3D Texture > Reset
One of the forum moderators
AC 27 USA and earlier   •   macOS Ventura 13.6.3, MacBook Pro M2 Max 12CPU/30GPU cores, 32GB
Anonymous
Not applicable
thanks Eric!

learned a new one from you today:
W : Built-in shortcut to toggle between the Arrow tool and the last used drawing tool
ratnabhirud
Contributor
Hello Eric,

Is there any shortcut for repeating or continue same command ( not same as toggling between selection and last command used) like Trim by holding and pressing ctrl key from keyboard

Regards,

Ratna
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core Processor 3.59 GHz
Ram - 16.0 GB
System - Windows 10 Ultimate, 64 bit

NVEDIA GForce 8400GS

Archicad 9..., 24
Katalin Takacs
Graphisoft Alumni
Graphisoft Alumni
How to list the currently assigned shortcuts and how to customize them?
Here are the steps: http://archicadwiki.com/KeyboardShortcutCustomization
Katalin Takacs
Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
ratnabhirud wrote:
Hello Eric,

Is there any shortcut for repeating or continue same command ( not same as toggling between selection and last command used) like Trim by holding and pressing ctrl key from keyboard

Regards,

Ratna
Ctrl+B or Command+B will repeat the last command
Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC27 US/INT -> AC08

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

JaredBanks
Mentor
Here's my top 20 list:

http://www.shoegnome.com/2010/12/11/top-20-keyboard-shortcuts/

Jack is absolutely right!

I think it's best to teach people about what commands are most important to have shortcuts for and not focus so much on what those shortcuts are (because I know we all have slightly different variations). So just as important is the logic behind choosing which keyboard combinations to use.
Jared Banks, AIA
Shoegnome Architects

Archicad Blog: www.shoegnome.com
Archicad Template: www.shoegnome.com/template/
Archicad Work Environment: www.shoegnome.com/work-environment/
Archicad Tutorial Videos: www.youtube.com/shoegnome
Eric Bobrow
Enthusiast
It is interesting to get perspectives from multiple people - that's what makes ArchiCAD-Talk so useful.

I will incorporate some of what has been posted into the video tutorial, which I hope to record and post this week.

Eric

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