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I think Archicad has a lot of work to do

Anonymous
Not applicable
I don't want to come across as simply an angry rant using this forum to vent. Neither do I want this post to be a bullet point by bullet point comparison of architectural software. I do however would like this to be a virtual bitch slap up side the head of Graphisoft.

I've been using this program now for over 6 months and I have to say it's painfully obvious why Archicad can't really compete against the evil empire of autodesk. I find myself, on almost a daily basis muttering something along the lines of "oh you gotta be kidding me'.

This has nothing to do with the overall quality of the actual architectural side of the software. The walls look like walls, windows looks like windows, the automated door schedule feature is just as useless as the automated door schedule feature in every other piece of CAD software, et al. But this has everything to do with the interface and organization of the program.

I can easily look past a lot of the foibles that come with any software at this level of complexity. For example recently my 'areas' have been turning the default back ground color on and off for no apparent reason. What I can't over look is some of the 1998 style of interface and organization in 2008. The "why use one click when three clicks will do the same job" mentality. For instance:

Text editing - When the user double clicks on a text field the software should understand that the user wants to...oh, I dunno.... edit the text maybe. There is no reason that the user should have to first select the text, then select the text box, then click in the text field to edit the text.

Dimensioning - This is the weakest dimensioning tool I've ever seen or heard of. Again, no reason to have to click the dimension, then the command to edit, double clicking is our friend, use it. But here in Archicad they add another step, if you want to add custom text there's a secret menu, select the dimension and then double click on the text command and a different edit menu appears! WHAT THE...!? No no no no....select the dimension, right click and voila EVERY edit possible is right there including changing the line types of the dimensions legs.

I don't want to beat this into the ground but.... dimensioning in AC is pathetic to the level of being unbelievable. CAD software that costs a fraction of AC dimension so much better.

These 'hidden' edit menus have me red with rage at times because there is no reason for them at all. Every piece of software out there got rid of these over 10 years ago. Mind you, I'm not referring to just CAD software when I say 'every piece of software', I mean every piece of software that wasn't written by some lone guy in a basement. Photoshop, Excel, Pages and Word grew past this a long long time ago and I'm afraid it speaks volumes that AC hasn't.

Drafting - I understand that, and was sold on the virtues of, BIM. That Archicad was so completely 3D that everything I drew was going to be part of a model. Wow, do I want to sue the guy who sold me this line of utter crap.

The fact is that I still need to do a lot of 2D work, which I'm okay with. What I'm not okay with is that the simplest part of a CAD program, the 2D part, has been striped down to a point that it's a serious pain to have to do it. So as a result I'm doing at least 30% of my work in a $99 CAD program I picked up at Office Depot and importing that into my $2500+ CAD program because it works better! Now that pisses me off to no end!

Now beyond the failings of the CAD portion of the program comes the little annoying, really bad software writing.

Things like widows opening with the "close, minimize and maximize" buttons under the tools bars! God that's annoying.

Horizontal tool bars that don't change to vertical tool bars when you drag them to the right or left side.

This is one of the only programs where "shift + tab" doesn't toggle the open screens.

Nothing 'big' seems wrong with AC. Walls trim, the layers are dandy, elevations are fine, but little seems right with the little things.

I really hate to say that at this point I'm having to seriously consider taking the monetary loss and trashing my AC and moving on. It's just that bad, and it's that bad for no reason at all. It's not like the programers have to start from scratch, all they have to do is get is clean it up a bit and it'll be fine.
22 REPLIES 22

Chrisdell wrote:
Text editing - When the user double clicks on a text field the software should understand that the user wants to...oh, I dunno.... edit the text maybe. There is no reason that the user should have to first select the text, then select the text box, then click in the text field to edit the text.
Turn on "Quick Selection" (looks like a magnet) and it will work the way you expect.
Chrisdell wrote:
Dimensioning - This is the weakest dimensioning tool I've ever seen or heard of. Again, no reason to have to click the dimension, then the command to edit, double clicking is our friend, use it. But here in Archicad they add another step, if you want to add custom text there's a secret menu, select the dimension and then double click on the text command and a different edit menu appears! WHAT THE...!? No no no no....select the dimension, right click and voila EVERY edit possible is right there including changing the line types of the dimensions legs.
You are doing this in a very unnecessary way. You can select the dimension numbers directly and open. (Set up an easy shortcut for "open" and map it to a mouse key.)

<snip>
Chrisdell wrote:
Drafting - I understand that, and was sold on the virtues of, BIM. That Archicad was so completely 3D that everything I drew was going to be part of a model. Wow, do I want to sue the guy who sold me this line of utter crap.

The fact is that I still need to do a lot of 2D work, which I'm okay with. What I'm not okay with is that the simplest part of a CAD program, the 2D part, has been striped down to a point that it's a serious pain to have to do it. So as a result I'm doing at least 30% of my work in a $99 CAD program I picked up at Office Depot and importing that into my $2500+ CAD program because it works better! Now that pisses me off to no end!
Most, including myself, have found the 2D drafting to be far superior and faster than AutoCAD, but you need to actually learn the shortcuts, which, granted, are sometimes not as well publicized as they should be.

Before you toss the baby out with the bathwater, you might consider taking some training from someone who really understands how to use the program. Properly set up and used, you will find it to be faster than most.
Richard
--------------------------
Richard Morrison, Architect-Interior Designer
AC25 (since AC6.0), Win10

Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
I'll recommend to get in touch with your reseller, a more advanced user or start asking questions in the forums since most of the stuff you are complaining about can be fixed with a little "extra" training.

1. Areas turning On and Off looks like you are switching to Different Views in the View Map and since that is a setting that is saved with them it will keep on changing as long as you keep clicking on Views with Different settings.
2. Double click on the text to edit works provided you use the selection tool (with magnet on) instead of the text tool. The logic as far as I understand is that you select the Text tool to create new text, you double click with the select tool to edit it.
3. On the dimensioning I agree that it looks as if it is difficult to change them to custom text, but I like it like that and IME it is faster to create and edit dims in AC than in AutoCAD. On this one we can disagree on principle but there are some nice shortcuts you might explore. Examples are adding to dims, splitting dims, erasing dims and joining dims.
4. 2D drafting in AC is fast and in my opinion it is faster than Autocad. If you can get someone to show you how it is done you might be surprised. Commands to explore, Fills, Split, Stretch, Resize, Scissors. Control+Click objects,etc.
5. As for all the window and scroll bar things, I can understand some of the specifics and some have already been reported as Bugs in 12 but I like to use keyboard shortcuts and presets so I bypass most of what you deem a problem.
___
IMO you arrived to the Stage of knowing most of the basics and now you have to move to the Were are the tricks Stage??? I need them ASAP.
As for switching to other software packages you might be surprised how far ahead AC's interface is compared to the competition. This does not absolve then from making it as easy as can be so you can criticize all you want. Sometimes angry rants are needed.
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
Macbook Pro 2.4 i9 32GB ram
OS X 10.XX latest
AC25 US/INT -> AC08

Chazz
Contributor
I'm basically sympathetic to most of what you write here. Though the terrible dimension tool is better in v12 than in your v11, the truth is that I used better dimension tools in the 1980's.

If I could generalize your complaint it seem that that the functioning of the software is OK with you but the interface and method of actually getting things done in AC is frustrating.

I don't know what CAD tool you are coming from but I do notice that you are using the OSX version. I think ArchiCAD looks a lot worse to Mac users. Not because the Mac version is a particularly bad port (actually the Mac version came out first) but because, at the margins, a lot of Mac software is prettier and more straight forward than Windows software. When you compare AC to iPhoto or iTunes, AC comes out looking pretty horrendous. Even when you compare it to more complex tools like Logic or Final Cut Pro, AC looks decidedly old and yucky.

The problem, I have always presumed, is that the software is complex and the user-base, relatively small, so a lot of the codebase is untouched legacy crap that has survived from the late '90's. But more than that is the fact that switching is so darn hard. After investing all the time in leaning the thing and investing the $ buying it, you are not inclined to jump ship. This vice-like grip on users allows developers to get away with murder. Like a good drug dealer, they push features that look good in the magazines and in demos but making the software more friendly and usable is way down on the list.

Apple: How can we make this as intuitive and simple as possible?
Graphisoft: How can we get this s#!t out the door?

On the other hand, looking back on your 14 posts (as of this writing) it is clear that you are an intelligent user but are trying to learn the software on your own. I really think some mentoring is called for. ArchiCAD has sort of thrown us back to the guild age where you need to apprentice under a master. Once you discover all the secrets and idiosyncrasies (not that you should have to) ArchiCAD actually allows you to get some real work done. But I agree that it is much harder than it should be.
Nattering nabob of negativism
2019 MBP

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
Not a lot to add to what has already been said in reply to the initial post.

While you are not only on 11, but also not on the full-featured version, that really has nothing to do with the issues you raise.

The one thing you mention that others have not addressed is the 'tucking' of Mac windows under toolbars so that you cannot see the close/min/zoom buttons. That is actually a combination of Work Environment and Project settings. If your file (or template) is saved after positioning each window where you want it and then also saving an updated Palette Scheme in your WE, then you should have no problem. Making sure that your toolbars/etc are snapped to the screen edges is important.

I agree - I haven't had this issue with any other Mac programs.

Windows users do not have to deal with this issue since they can maximize their working windows inside the AC application window and everything just does the right thing. But, that's not GS, but rather part of Windows.

An hour to a day with an experienced user at your side will make all the difference.

Cheers,
Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6.1, iMac Pro

Anonymous
Not applicable
Richard wrote:
Before you toss the baby out with the bathwater, you might consider taking some training from someone who really understands how to use the program. Properly set up and used, you will find it to be faster than most.
I appreciate your reply.

I've taken some training courses and I wish I could take more but at many hundreds of dollars a throw I just don't have the money. I was hoping that there would be more in the way of manuals but there seems to be a limited amount out there. I did get a book with an accompanying tutorial CD but it won't work with my Starter Addition. If I would have known limited the Starter Addition was before I bought it I certainly would have done things differently.

In difference to what many who know me might say, I'm not an idiot, especially when it comes to CAD software. AC is the 5th program I've worked on and it's by far the most difficult to learn.

What's so frustrating is that I can see it's potential, I know it can be a great piece of software if I can only get past this awkward convoluted mess of a menu structure.

I've feel like I've been beating my head against a wall. I hate Autodesk and PC's. I never want to go back to either so I've been working longer and harder trying to learn AC. Longer and harder then I would have with any other software and I still can't seem to find the simplest of commands where I know they should be. (Note: I say 'know' because after 15 years of drafting and 4 other programs under my belt I know a thing or two. I'm not trying to be self aggrandizing.)

I can only equate this experience like this:

It's as if I went to buy a car and heard that the AC car is absolutely fantastic and that I should definitely buy it. I only have a limited amount of time to look at it so I really have to make a decision based on what other say about it. So I buy the AC car and get in it only to find the steering wheel is in the trunk, the gas pedal in the back seat and the break is in the glove box.

When I question the logic of the layout everyone is says 'yea, it takes a little while to get use to it, but once you do the car goes really fast, gets 100 mpg's and gives you a great butt massage while you're driving. When I ask the salesman what else don't I know he tells me they have a manual I could buy but it only works for the Super Sport model not the Economy model I bought. But they are offering to give me 4 driving classes to at $400 per class.

In the mean time the user groups are tossing out little kernels of info about how to move the steering wheel, break and gas to the drivers seat and as an aside tell me that back by the spare tire there's a clutch I'm going to find useful. Some of the users have been nice enough (and the users here have been very nice btw.) to give me a copy of their cars set up but I can't use the copies because AC Corp won't let there be any sharing between the SS and Economy models. *sigh*

I could upgrade to the Super Sport model, it costs almost twice what my Economy model cost. The break, gas, and steering wheel are still in there receptive non-sensical places, and nothing becomes any easier. But I would be able to use the manual. Not much of an incentive to upgrade is it?


It's been a little frustrating in other words and I'm finding it getting harder to maintain my normaly positive and happy disposition. Much more of this and electroshock may become necessary.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Karl wrote:

An hour to a day with an experienced user at your side will make all the difference.
The scary thing is that I have worked with an experienced user. He's the one who talked me into buying AC. I went down to his office for help, to try to make a long story short, he was trying to show me how to do something (He had the full version of AC10) and couldn't even get a door to select and he started getting pissed. He gets on the phone with the local sales rep and, angrily, telling the guy how he can't to these basic things and that it better be a simple fix or he's never going to upgrade.

In the mean time I'm curled up in the corner in a fetal position repeating to myself "I didn't just waste $2500, I didn't just waste $2500" while rocking back and forth.

Chrisdell wrote:
I've taken some training courses and I wish I could take more but at many hundreds of dollars a throw I just don't have the money.
Why don't you consider subscribing for a month or two to LearnVirtual. I think it's $59/mo. (although the monthly subscription option isn't immediately obvious.), which will give you (AFAIK) complete access to all the training videos during that month.

There are experienced users who know what they're doing, and there are users who have never bothered to really learn the program, but have been doing it that way for a long time. Working efficiently doesn't just magically happen through using the program for an extended period.
Richard
--------------------------
Richard Morrison, Architect-Interior Designer
AC25 (since AC6.0), Win10

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
Glad you can laugh in your misery. 😉

Have you tried calling Mike Hann, the Digital Vision trainer for San Diego, or signing up for any of their classes? JumpStart class is free...
http://www.digitalvis.com/jumpstart

I know you're not a beginner - in AC or in CAD - but it might still be useful...or one of their advanced classes.

Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6.1, iMac Pro

Anonymous
Not applicable
Richard wrote:
Why don't you consider subscribing for a month or two to LearnVirtual. I think it's $59/mo. (although the monthly subscription option isn't immediately obvious.), which will give you (AFAIK) complete access to all the training videos during that month.
This is sounding like more of an option and I think I'm going to do that. I was a little hesitant because it seems like so often the packaged tutorials are often based on the 3D part of the program which is something that I'm not very interested in at this point in time. I'm more interested in producing quality construction documents efficiently,

Erika Epstein
Contributor
Chrisdell wrote:
I was a little hesitant because it seems like so often the packaged tutorials are often based on the 3D part of the program which is something that I'm not very interested in at this point in time. I'm more interested in producing quality construction documents efficiently,


I think you might be missing a key point of the importance of the 3D model. Your details are started from the model.The accuracy and detail level of your modeling is what will get you your 'quality construction documents' and efficiently.
Erika
Architect, Consultant
MacBook Pro Retina, 15-inch Yosemite 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Mac OSX 10.11.1
AC5-18
Onuma System

"Implementing Successful Building Information Modeling"

Chazz
Contributor
Erika wrote:
I think you might be missing a key point of the importance of the 3D model. Your details are started from the model.The accuracy and detail level of your modeling is what will get you your 'quality construction documents' and efficiently.
Amen sister.

. . . .

There are doubtless much better dedicated 2D drafting packages out there. But to really get into AC you need to take the RED PILL and commit to going 3D (Morphius would say "being 3D").

The consensus on this forum seems to be that you should model to 90% and draft the last 10% (whatever that means). Personally, I think I go further and feel the better for it. Drafting is for weak bladdered sissies. Just build it.

And not to knock Christopher's $2500 investment, or to kick him when he's assumed the fetal position but when I saw the list of stuff missing from the Start Edition I thought, "oh, this is for practices who need a cheeper second seat for doing some of the production". I do not think it is an appropriate choice for a sole practitioner. I wouldn't want to use it anyway.

Hang in there Christopher. I think it is healthy to rant (I've certainly done my share) but it may be more productive to put your expectation of a reasonable user-experience aside and start to think like an over caffeinated, under managed Hungarian software developer with a mean deadline. That seems to be key.
Nattering nabob of negativism
2019 MBP

Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
AFAIK the Start Edition is not compatible with the Regular Edition, the file has limitations like the EDU and it is usually one Regular Version behind, AC11 Start equals a limited AC10.
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
Macbook Pro 2.4 i9 32GB ram
OS X 10.XX latest
AC25 US/INT -> AC08

Laura Yanoviak
Booster
ejrolon wrote:
AFAIK the Start Edition is not compatible with the Regular Edition, the file has limitations like the EDU and it is usually one Regular Version behind, AC11 Start equals a limited AC10.
But it is compatible with AC9 (yikes!) see comments here...
MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz Intel Core i9, 32 GB of RAM

AC25 US (3011) AC24 on Mac OS Catalina 10.15.7

Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
I stand corrected.
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
Macbook Pro 2.4 i9 32GB ram
OS X 10.XX latest
AC25 US/INT -> AC08

Anonymous
Not applicable
Hi:

Well, i´ve been using archicad for 8/9 months now, and really understand a lot of that frustration. While i had some training initially (1 week course), and have used several other cad and design apps, i still find the whole "ergonomics" (if that actual term applies) of ac really bad. While i do get the advantage of working in 3d, keeping all documents organized and updated, and actually like the 2d drafting portion of ac, i still feel frustrated on a daily basis. Why?

Well, for one, teamwork. The project i´m working on uses it. It´s the fact that you can´t make a mistake, or that you can´t change anything without going in as team leader, or even worse, team leader with exclusive access (hey guys, can you please take a break for a couple of hours while i delete a layer/complex profile/material/penset, etc...

Or the fact that it seems as if gs made the program complex just because they wanted (why complex profile instead of profile???), the zillions of buttons and properties to set for doors/windows, etc. I understand that this options allow for infinite ways to configure things, but for newcomers, that just makes the whole thing more complex. Or, as we say here, just more ways to **** it up. It seems as is gs was accomodating for everyone,but then, that´s it´s biggest problem.

And don´t get me started with the whole windows buttons under the toolbar, that can not be blamed on apple. Photoshop will not do that, sketchup either.

I really see a big advantage vs working 2d, but there has to be an easier way. Archicad was revolutionary in it´s day. Today, all features added, as many other software, the whole thing feels as several different pieces held together with duct tape. Some may say it´s a mature program, vs. say, revit. For me, mature = old. At least, that´s how it feels. Compare it to any modern app, esp. on the mac, (pixelmator comes to mind).

Sorry to be so negative, but really, it´s not against any of you. I know you can get used to it, you can get used to almost anything. It´s more to graphisoft.

Erich
Newcomer
Chrisdell,

I have been using ArchiCAD for nearly a year and convinced my office to spring for the virtual training at the begining. It is actually quite good. I found it very useful when first starting out and still refer to it from time to time either for a refresher or to learn some new skill I haven't needed yet.
Erich

AC 19 6006 & AC 20
Mac OS 10.11.5
15" Retina MacBook Pro 2.6
27" iMac Retina 5K

Anonymous
Not applicable
I'm a wee bit hesitant to bring this up because it could sound like a snotty kid saying "I told you so" but it's relevant to this subject and the seriousness of the consequences.

A guy who I met through the friend that convinced me to buy AC (did you follow that?) works at a 10 or 11 person firm that uses AC. They switched a little over a year ago. Now I don't know what training they had or what, but today they came into work to find that every seat of AC had been removed and replaced with Autocad Architectural Desktop. The owner of the firm said that hours billed had TRIPLED since they had moved to AC and since those who used it were still not at a comfortable level of efficiency he decided enough was enough.

He had two guys from Autodesk (or recommended by Autodesk I don't know which) come in on Saturday, convert every job, folder and file back to a 2D system because (according to him) AC and, by extension, BIM is not worth the money to learn.

Just to drive the point home little more about interface and ease of use being vastly more important than having pretty windows to install. At the "surprise we're back to Autocad" meeting this morning he told the staff that it had cost the company so much to switch and go no where that, combined with the recent downturn in the economy, he couldn't guarantee their positions after the first of the year baring a miracle.

That's sit up and take note serious.

In difference to my attempt at a comical rant, this is no joking matter. Peoples livelihoods are at stake due to a "over caffeinated, under managed Hungarian software developer" (I don't mean to pick on you Chazz, it's just poignant). I can only hope that those higher up in Graphisoft will consider the importance of usability before directing the programmers to include some auto updating do-hickey.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Chrisdell wrote:
A guy who I met through the friend that convinced me to buy AC (did you follow that?) works at a 10 or 11 person firm that uses AC. They switched a little over a year ago. Now I don't know what training they had or what, but today they came into work to find that every seat of AC had been removed and replaced with Autocad Architectural Desktop. The owner of the firm said that hours billed had TRIPLED since they had moved to AC and since those who used it were still not at a comfortable level of efficiency he decided enough was enough.
Hi Chrisdell,

Forgive me but I think this guy-who-you-met-through-the-friend-that convinced-you-to-buy-AC don't know what he is doing...

...So he simple switches all his 10 seats from 2d to BIM in one time!...
And worst... In a productive environment... Don't get me wrong, but this is a kamikaze approach...

IMO... To make a smooth move to AC, he should have to started with one or two person learning in a non productive environment... These two guys would be the seeds of the change...

So... What I'd advice you is to make a smooth transition: Keep using autocad in production for a while... lets say... 5 days in a week and leave 2 days to study the AC reference manual, tutorials, e-learning, etc... Take your time... Its kind a "desert cross"... but once you cross it you will get to a oasis...

Ah! and talk less with your guy-who-you-met-through-the-friend-that convinced-you-to-buy-AC.

Welcome aboard and good luck!

Anonymous
Not applicable
This has been a point of discussion for a long time now & still no one at graphisoft seems to bother,

I completely agree that archicad is more a work around software than it is a work software.

we have had 7 licences for 3 years but I am the only one using it for work, 2 of my collegues just use it as a side 3d tool, and i have tried the smooth swithcing approach but it does not work.

Point is that with other softwares you can expect some sort of ouput or drawing or print at the end of the day (from any new user) which you can give out for construction . with AC this would well take 6 months because you cannot give an output unless you have learnt it to a certain level of expertise.

We have recently upgraded to AC12 and that has not helped in any way. I have started a couple of projects in AC and now i am neck deep in them so I cannot convert them to 2D. and I cannot leave them to someone else as nobody is confident (or maybe even willing) to work with archicad.

The UI has to be worked on. Soon I am going to have to answer a lot of questions regarding our spending on the upgradation when no one was using the earlier version itself.

regards

Ameya

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