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2024 Technology Preview Program

2024 Technology Preview Program:
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Project data & BIM
About BIM-based management of attributes, schedules, templates, favorites, hotlinks, projects in general, quality assurance, etc.

Video tutorial: Understanding Attributes and Attribute Pollution

Karl Ottenstein

Something that absolutely every Archicad user needs to really grasp is the notion of Attributes (Pens, Line Types, Surfaces, etc) and the many ways that your project can become corrupted and fail to display as intended.


Due to a post in another forum, I just became aware of an absolutely outstanding short video tutorial created by Scott Moore of Fulton Trotter Architects in Australia.  It is rare for me to come across a video that is as perfectly done as this one to visually illustrate, with clear well-paced audio and examples, all of the many Attribute issues that have been discussed over the past 25 years in countless threads by dozens of users... but which, until this video, have never been collated into a single presentation.  All current knowledge is perfectly summarized in Scott's video ... along with several issues that I've not seen raised before.


The end of the tutorial will make sense to Python/data nerds and is not essential for most users to understand...other than that it is possible to programmatically manipulate attribute XML files.


I hope that every BIM Manager will watch the video... and really, that every user will also.  (And, I really hope that every Product Manager at Graphisoft HQ watches if they haven't already... so that the archaic attribute management that has not changed in 30-ish years will get revamped sooner than later.)

Congratulations @scottjm for an absolutely superbly done presentation!


One of the forum moderators
AC 27 USA and earlier   •   macOS Ventura 13.6.7, MacBook Pro M2 Max 12CPU/30GPU cores, 32GB



It was the challenges of Index numbers that drove us to create the seemingly excessive number of preset attributes in the template that I built at FTA a decade ago. This presentation demonstrates the why behind my perceived craziness in doing so. Scott articulates ever so well in this presentation the challenges we all face using the software, all the while a lot of users still probably don't even realise it is happening.


Regards Nathan

Nathan Hildebrandt fraia
Director | Skewed
AC6 - AC27 | WIN 11 | i9-10900K, 3.7Ghz | 32GB Ram | NVIDIA GeForce RTX
Barry Kelly

Awesome video and really well explained and demonstrated.

I recommend anyone dealing with attribute management to watch this.


Thanks Scot and Nathan.



One of the forum moderators.
Versions 6.5 to 27
i7-10700 @ 2.9Ghz, 32GB ram, GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB), Windows 10
Lenovo Thinkpad - i7-1270P 2.20 GHz, 32GB RAM, Nvidia T550, Windows 11

Wow! Thanks so much for the feedback Karl. 😍  

It's something we've always struggled with and it always shocked me how many people didn't fully understand how bad the problem is.


Scott J. Moore | Fulton Trotter Architects | BIM Manager, Associate, Architect
Since AC13 | Current versions AC23.7000 & AC26.5002 | BIMCloud Basic | Python, GDL, VBA, PHP, SQL, CSS
Certified Graphisoft BIM Manger (2022)
Win 10, i9-9900K, 32GB, Quadro P2200, 500GB NVMe

Very well presented ! You would make an excellent training series on how to use AC correctly.


The dark side is the coding and fighting AC coding with Python coding.


Does VW or other cad do an attribute's system connected to all elements on their own specific layers better than AC ? 

The first step for GS is to isolate all elements on their own specific layers and not have walls hosting windows and doors or openings. Then take it from there.

Way too complicated for simple minded people like me.


You shouldn’t need to be a code writer to be an Architect or an Architectural Technologist.

AC8.1 - AC27 ARM AUS + CI Tools
Apple Mac Studio M1 Max Chip 10C CPU
24C GPU 7.8TF 32GB RAM OS Ventura

Excellent presentation @scottjm . Thank you.


It's a shame GS XML files can't be opened, edited and returned directly from Excel without needing Python. On the other hand perhaps that just indicates that the Attribute Manager is lacking in terms of bulk edits e.g. reindexing sorting & renaming. 

Apple iMac Intel i9 / macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds.. if they work)

I enjoyed the stream as well, showing us that we are not alone in the struggle to synchronize hotlinked projects.
The approache and presentation is very professional (hopefully we never need more IT than architectural skills in our office to get things done).

I see two approaches for Graphisoft to tackle the underlying problem:
1. A centralized data management -> its on the roadmap "in progress" ..

2. Eliminating the need for hotlinked Projects:
- Sufficent performance for ArchiCAD to handle multi-building non orthogonal projects with complex IFC hotlinks in realtime. -> "under research" ...
- Split-level abilities - > "idea pool"  ...

I wonder which ArchiCAD version will bring relief in this area, AC 29.5 maybe? 😉 

AC 6,5 - 27 | GER WIN

@scottjm Maybe you used to work on AutoCAD too. If so, is there a simple way to convert the .ctb extension files from AutoCAD into the .xml ones for ArchiCAD? 

Martin Luther Jules
AC 10-27 (Full)
Asus | 64 GB RAM | Windows 11

I also saw that video after dealing with an attribute nightmare beyond believe in a full BIM project with 10 files. As a novice Archicad user, it was immensely useful to understand what I was making wrong.

Even finding the issues is insanely time consuming, and there python can help, so I developed an app.


The bad news is that, even if you manage to find all name/index issues, you still can have a large amount of deep issues, such as skin thickness and so on.


Attribute Manager.PNG


Here: no name/index mismatch on 130MB xml files, but loads of content mismatch





@_c_   😳😳🤩🤩. That app looks amazing!  Definitely interested to know more about that if you were able to share anything. 


yeah on some projects it’s neigh impossible to rationalise all the attribute pollution and you really just had to start again from scratch. 

Scott J. Moore | Fulton Trotter Architects | BIM Manager, Associate, Architect
Since AC13 | Current versions AC23.7000 & AC26.5002 | BIMCloud Basic | Python, GDL, VBA, PHP, SQL, CSS
Certified Graphisoft BIM Manger (2022)
Win 10, i9-9900K, 32GB, Quadro P2200, 500GB NVMe