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Archicad Archaic Wall Drawing GUI


I originally came from Chief Architect to Archicad and I am used to drawing walls really fast like you can in Revit as well.



I know how to draw and design walls in Archicad and can do the whole floor plan no problems. It takes me nearly twice as long to draw walls in Archicad.


Archicad is seriously way behind in its user interface when it comes to drawing basic walls from scratch.


Can you please give us an interface for drawing walls faster and one handed like I can in Chief Architect or like you can in Revit ?


I am mostly fine with the rest of the design element processes in Archicad otherwise I wouldn’t have changed to it.


Anybody else who uses another application to do their sketch plans or space planning and import them into Archicad as DWG or DXF ?


When I learned Archicad, my lecturer used Autocad to do the floor plan and then imported into Archicad to model it up fully in 3D for rendering, BIM etc.


Looks like most of you here who can afford it, use Revit with Archicad for productivity ?


I need to be much more productive in the native Archicad environment.


I don’t want to be using other applications to draw my quick sketch plans.


I have been with Archicad since 8.1 and no major advancements have been made with drawing normal upright walls since then.


Please look into this issue, if you do, I am sure you will get more onboard with Archicad native.


My observations and all due respect to Archicad, Graphisoft and Nemetschek and all you expert users.


Edit: Please watch this video about drawing walls with Vectorworks, from about the 5min mark. Can we please have Archicad do the same thing when drawing internal walls with the rectangular mode and have it ignore the existing walls ?


Edit 2: Who remembers this advertising clip below for Archicad 19 ? There were certain things that were sped up in version 19. Lets do a bit more work to speed up the placing of basic elements like walls, windows and doors and moving them around please ?


Technology get’s behind very quickly in a short amount of time and some things do get missed or neglected because of the sheer pace of improvements. Many things have been improved in Archicad since then and made better but let’s concentrate on the things we can easily improve right now.


I personally am very pleased with Archicad but we can definitely make it even faster and even more easier to use.

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HP Elite CPU i7 (2600) Quad Core 3.4GHz
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The problem you are having is that you are expecting your new software to work just like your old software. You are expecting it to work the way like you are used to instead of adapting to the new approach.


You see how ridiculous this sounds, when put in these terms?


I had the same thing moving from Autocad to VectorWorks, and the same thing moving from VectorWorks and SketchUp to Archicad 😀


There is a certain amount of effort required to unlearn old habits and learn new ones. When you do this, you can actually learn new things which might actually mean that you can potentially be more productive in your new software than you were in the old.


Only once you have fully learned the new approach can you compare it with the old one you were used to.


I watched the Chief Architect video on wall creation and thought, "If you know how big your plan needs to be, just draw it that size at the outset". You can use the construction lines to offset and move them once you have drawn them. Honestly, it's no biggie.


Archicad is far too complex to have automatic fixed parametric relationships between walls to allow them to be moved by editing the dimensions. 


I watched the video on space Planning and actually that's just a gimmick for creating simple layouts really fast. You could build those zones (which is what Archicad calls spaces) into your template and have them there automatically, properly formatted when you want them.


You could simply delete the zones you don't need. Adding doors automatically is also a bit of a gimmick. It's fine until you work with atria, voids and service ducts.


You can configure all your doors as favourites with all the data added, with the materials set just how you like them. Same goes for wall combinations, and your preferred equipment/fittings. You can set up favourites for slabs tagged as ceilings and floor finishes, and you have a lot of freedom with things like railings and stairs.


Similarly adding walls automatically might seem cool, but when you have different wall types in different locations with different fire compartmentation settings, in the 'grown up' world of BIM adding too many things automatically can be risky because they have data attributes attached to them, and too much automation means adding stuff configured by someone else which you might not want.


There is a sweet spot between automation and rigour and consistency. I'm sure you have used templates for certain types of documents, edited them for the new project, checked them all, and later found that for example you forgot to change the page footers with the old project name!


Do this in a BIM model with tons of data and you might get sued!


I've been using Archicad since version 19, and only now have I become comfortable with some of its features. I can build spur shelving, canopies, paths and parapets with the railing tool, and IPS panelling and complex cladding with the curtain walling tool. 


I can build complex profile walls to simulate the actual construction of the building and work out how all the junctions are constructed. I have just finished building my own Battery storage components with all the properties I need so that they will come into Revit used by my building services colleagues with all the right data attributes. They will display nicely in 2D and 3D and schedule properly.


Once you have configured your objects as favourites, you will start to be really productive.


Archicad rewards effort put into it. The more you learn the more you get out of the software, and it takes years to be really competent.


I've seen a couple of your posts to date, and you do a fair bit of complaining about how Archicad is more complex and less productive than CA.


Well - driving a pedal car around your garden is a lot easier than driving a real one on the streets or even abroad.


Chief Architect is a toy by comparison. Sure it has its cool party tricks, but before you post criticising Archicad for having limited productivity with certain tools, perhaps you should just get better with using your new toolset first.


You will still find things that would streamline how Archicad works (things like parametric rectangles for all the relevant object types would be cool - Vectorworks does this a bit like CA, and also the ability to turn off visibility of individual line edges in fills) but by and large you should find that there are very efficient ways of doing most things.


We can all pick at problems with Archicad (SEOs not displaying on Plan and the broken Mesh tool are my favourite gripes) but fundamentally you have a much more capable package than CA, and you have to adapt yourself to it, not expect it to adapt to the way your old software works. 


Isn't it about finding the best ways to optimise your productivity in any software? Some workflows you can keep, but probably most need to be re-learned.


You are new to Archicad, your 'old ways' are probably causing you to be blinkered and held back 😉


Have a look at Jared Banks' Shoegnome Architects blog. There is a ton of stuff there you'll find really helpful. His work is very different to mine, and he's in the US (I'm in the UK) but I still find it useful and interesting.

Archicad 25 UKI | OS X 11.7 Big Sur

I have been using Archicad since version 7 and I appreciate where you are coming from and your advice. I have produced many full sets of working drawings in Archicad because the quality is much better than Chief.


I understand most of what you are saying but you are not understanding my point ?


There are far too many steps and key strokes when using the Archicad GUI.


lets compare BIM to BIM, Revit is in the same league as Archicad, yet it is much easier to use than Archicad is. Less key strokes and use of the “witness line temporary dimension” that pops up when you create walls and other elements including editing them.


If I wasn’t retired I would definitely be using Revit by now to be much more productive. If I had a company with CAD professionals, I would be using less of Archicad and more of Revit users to keep up and get the work done.


We are behind in the race and we need to wake up to ourselves and get back in the race with Revit, because they are many laps ahead.


Old racing cars get put into a Museum because they don’t have the technology to keep up with the modern racing cars.


All I am saying is, let’s stop focusing on collaboration with the enemy and focus on rebuilding our engine or we will lose the race.


Or more succinctly we are losing the race at present.


Lets face it, we all invested in Archicad and some heavily but if it can’t keep up, the investors will eventually pull out. That’s what has happened to Archicad and why many have chosen to invest in Revit now and in the past.


Whoever started the post “Archicad is Dying” it’s true and if they have lost a significant market share in the CAD software users then who is at fault ? We are for not focusing on basic software use.


Lets be realistic and focus on making Archicad easier to use and much more productive.


I don’t need to drag a ball and chain around on my leg while using CAD software. That’s what I do most of the time when I have to drag a point of origin around with me to do my placing and editing of elements right inside Archicad.


Autocad was slow in the early days and they fixed that by buying Revit.


Archicad can update the GUI and make it much faster without compromising its accuracy. Excellent software engineers can fix it up. Adding the tracker pallet is ok and so are guidelines but it just adds to the complexity of a simple task of placing elements.


For more complex tasks like modelling complex geometry, sure you need to take more steps and to be more careful but not for simple tasks.


They can do it no problem, they have the resources they have the personnel they have to have the right concept and that is “The Witness Line Dimension Pop Up Command” it’s nothing new but it is the wheel inside fast and easy to use CAD software.


Revit started in 1998 and Chief Architect In 1992. Where do you think the developers of early Revit got their concept to use the ”TWLDPUC” ?


lets get real, let’s take on the Revit beast and lets get our customers back.


Have fun using Archicad.


Edit 1: This older Revit Suite Lt video, illustrates what Autodesk have done to speed up Autocad Lt and to use it in combination with Revit Lt. Notice the first part of the video and see what the “witness line temporary dimensions” are about and how it speeds up the process for the Autocad user.


Archicad could add to its program with the introduction of extra guide lines automatically appearing perpendicular to the nodes or at the intersection of walls and other elements when we either place or edit them. The tape measure tool could automatically appear with a measurement between those guidelines and if we could input a dimension into the tracker pallet, then editing or moving or placing of an element would be all done very quickly. It wouldn’t take very much to implement something like this in a future version of Archicad to make it much easier or faster to use.


Edit 2: The scaffolding has been there in the program as far back as version 10. Please watch this video below to see what we could do back then. What I am saying, is that if this happened automatically as described above, then everything would be very much faster and less steps would be involved in the placing and the editing of elements.


We could activate this mode by clicking the tape measure tool icon and deactivating the mode by clicking the icon again. Or by typing “M” on the KB to activate “Automatic Tape Measure Mode” as once again described above.


Hope you were able to follow me in what I am asking ?

AC8.1 - AC24 + Ci Tools
Apple Mac Studio M1 Max Chip CPU 10C
GPU 24C 7.8TF 32GB RAM OS Monterey
HP Elite CPU i7 (2600) Quad Core 3.4GHz
16GB RAM W10 GPU AMD R6570 2048MB


Yes, kind of, and in part I agree 😉


I've used so many different 3D and BIM applications (I'm into double figures) and there are lessons everyone could learn from all of them, and in some cases - should.


However, it's unrealistic to expect feature parity (in terms of specific workflows at least) across applications don't you think?


One thing I find is that many people have a tendency to find a way of working they find comfortable, and stick with it, when there are other, potentially easier faster options. I've had to do this.


I have 3 colleagues in my office whose view is that Archicad is actually much easier to use than Revit so individual perceptions vary.


You mentioned the Tracker which is a really powerful tool, but most people seem not to use it. Guide lines are also simple and easy - and intuitive. 


I do agree that inferenced snapping could be a lot better, but how much difference would this make really?


If you take the view that maybe 10% of your time is spent drawings elements for first time, with the other (say) 90% spent modifying, adding to and annotating them, it's not a huge issue is it?

This may be different with small domestic projects, but I don't work on those - I certainly think it holds for large commercial ones.


I definitely agree that basic inputs for drawing objects could (and maybe should) be better, but compared to the other things on the wishlist, I think it's small beer.

Archicad 25 UKI | OS X 11.7 Big Sur

Yes I definitely did mainly work on houses and light commercial or more simple projects.


When you get older and you don’t have the same mental capacity, it’s good when you can keep things simple. With many young adults today who a distracted by technology, they don’t seem to have the same mental capacity as older generations did ? Hence make Archicad that bit easier to use.


I could be content with Chief Architect and produce drawings quickly but Archicad gives me access to CI tools and the Australian essential library and those things make my drawings more accurate.


It’s great when you have someone who is good and productive with Archicad. Had I started out with Archicad, I’m sure I would be more productive at using it.


Yet I am still practicing my skills to try and figure out how I can be more productive with Archicad. I am older now and my work time is allot less these days.


Yes many do not use the tape measure tool so I think it could be put to better use with guide lines that automatically pop up with the tape measure tool, to create and input dimensions and to show us the relative location of the elements in distance. If someone wants to work with out that system then just turn it off.


When doing more tedious tasks like modelling complex geometry, then you need to take your time and go step by step. I am not personally a master of the morph tool but some are and they do great work with it and the many other functions that create more free form Architecture right inside Archicad.


I am just making a suggestion to make Archicad better for all of us.


Yes we all need more time for a beer and less time pressing buttons.


Edit: Regarding Chief Architect as a being a toy, that’s not the case, it’s a very well designed and complete software package for the US market. Great for Builders and Architects and Interior Designers in that part of the world who are in the domestic housing industry. I don’t think you would find a much better CAD program in those fields and of expertise ? I have used it since 1999 for my past Builder clients here in Australia. It’s more like a very good reliable motor car not a peddle car. Archicad is like an older Rolls Royce or an expensive prime mover. With a few tweaks it could be made into a modern sports car of today. You just need to know how to super charge it.


Hopefully listening carefully and implementing our realistic suggestions will do just that for all of us who have invested heavily into Archicad in the past and present ?

AC8.1 - AC24 + Ci Tools
Apple Mac Studio M1 Max Chip CPU 10C
GPU 24C 7.8TF 32GB RAM OS Monterey
HP Elite CPU i7 (2600) Quad Core 3.4GHz
16GB RAM W10 GPU AMD R6570 2048MB

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