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Layer Settings Improvements

James B
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
OK, I've played around with the layer settings dialogue.

Things I'd like to see (from my website):
- Ability to group layers in folders (allow for draging of layers), the folder may have hide/show and lock/unlock global settings for it's contained layers.
- Allow the Layers dialog to be a floating window, allowing for instant results of layer changes (like hiding a layer) - maybe
- More streamlined interface - too many large buttons
- Double click a name to rename a layer or layer combination
- Ability to swap shown/hidden layers (allow same for lock/unlock)
- New Column added next to "Extension" to indicate layer(s) a selected object or ojects are on (maybe have the ability to drag this selected object icon to another layer to move object to that layer). The icon could indicate what object is selected on that layer (ie wall, slab, column etc or multiple objects).



What do other people think?

EDIT: Image updated to include new printable/non-printable setting and oreopoulos suggestions. thanks for that (to only display visable layers option to simplify layers list when a combo is selected).
Technical Product Manager, Graphisoft
19 REPLIES 19

Anonymous
Not applicable
May i add some more features.

1. When selecting a combo have a button to show all or only the "on" layers.
Its a feature to check what the combo includes, especially when the list of layers is getting too long.

2. The second feature was suggested in another wish thread, and its about better layer manipulation (with combos in mind)
When i have to add a few layes in an already big list of both layes and combos i just wish someone else did that job

James B
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
I did forget to add more more feature to my list (will have to update that tonight).

I would like to see an additional setting for each layer of Print/No Print. So inotherwords a layer can be visable but won't print. This would be useful for construction layers. This might be indicated with a print icon and a printer with a cross through it.

Would others find this useful as well?
Technical Product Manager, Graphisoft

Anonymous
Not applicable
James wrote:
I did forget to add more more feature to my list (will have to update that tonight).

I would like to see an additional setting for each layer of Print/No Print. So inotherwords a layer can be visable but won't print. This would be useful for construction layers. This might be indicated with a print icon and a printer with a cross through it.

Would others find this useful as well?
That would be a great improvement. I could see setting up different view sets that would allow construction notes to be printed for check sets and off for final drawings.

James B
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
oreopoulos wrote:
May i add some more features.

1. When selecting a combo have a button to show all or only the "on" layers.
Its a feature to check what the combo includes, especially when the list of layers is getting too long.

2. The second feature was suggested in another wish thread, and its about better layer manipulation (with combos in mind)
When i have to add a few layes in an already big list of both layes and combos i just wish someone else did that job
Thanks for the suggestions. See the image above again as I've now implemented your suggestion 1.
Technical Product Manager, Graphisoft

Anonymous
Not applicable
- Ability to swap shown/hidden layers (allow same for lock/unlock)
I sure you are already aware of the "quick layers" palette? I would like the quick layers pallette to remember its status so if you quit archicad and restart it will remember if it was shown or not. In addition I would like an unlock option in the "all layers" section (switches to other layers when an item is selected. I'm not sure if these items warrant their own wish but those items would greatly improve its function. It seems like an easy step to have the same features in the layer dialog box.

Geoff Briggs
Advocate
Nice image!
Allow the Layers dialog to be a floating window, allowing for instant results of layer changes (like hiding a layer) - maybe
Definitely. Make it like the Navigator with the push-pin button. In one state OK closes the palette, in the other it doesn’t. Or just add an Apply button like the Attribute Manager.
Regards,

Geoff Briggs

DeForest Architects

Seattle, USA



AC25 INT, Mac (home), Win10 (work)

Yes, you read that correctly, we are in the US but use the INT version, because the libraries are better.

James B
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
Mike wrote:
- Ability to swap shown/hidden layers (allow same for lock/unlock)
I sure you are already aware of the "quick layers" palette?
Yeah, it was the reason I added it into the actual layers settings cause it's pretty useful.
Technical Product Manager, Graphisoft

Anonymous
Not applicable
For my money, layer manipulation is still weak in ArchiCad.
I have used an AutoCad add-on called Layer Manager which allows 'groups' of layers to be added to, or subtracted from, the current layer selections. The equivalent in ArchiCad would be to allow the user to select multiple choices from the defined groups of layers (as shown in the left hand side of the Layers dialogue box) and thereby effectively add the two groups to the currently selected visible layers. This would streamline things considerably.
At present, for example, we ArchiCad users can have one group showing all the plan elements, but if we want the same group but with additional information shown (e.g Fire Startegy) we have to create a separate group including all the relevant layers. If layer groups could be made such that they could be additive, the user could select the first group (plan elements) and then add a second group (fire strategy) - the converse would be to subtract groups as necessary. I feel that things would be significantly improved!

Balazs Simonyi
Graphisoft Alumni
Graphisoft Alumni
Hi James!

Already added to wishlist.
Working has been started in this theme too

Balazs

Anonymous
Not applicable
James,

I think that your idea of having layers grouped together in folders the way you show would be a grand idea. As it is now we use a design pln file that only has the layers that are needed for the design phase. When finished with the design it is merged into a pln file with total layers needed for construction documentation. If it were the way that you have shown we could group and simplify as needed layers into catagories such as design and CD's. This would keep it simple for the initial work and expand as the design developes into the later stages.

James B
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
I think having a folder system integrated into Layers will help with xrefs/dwg imports, hotlinked modules and when doing multiple options mostly.

i have when I do the above and you end up with a hundred new layers, then you need to go to attributes manager to purge empty layers etc. Becomes a nightmare to manage.

Now that's it's added to the wishlist, lets see what GS does.
Technical Product Manager, Graphisoft

MSotero
Participant
Balazs wrote:
Hi James!

Already added to wishlist.
Working has been started in this theme too

Balazs
In that case, you may wish to review this thread:
http://archicad-talk.graphisoft.com/viewtopic.php?p=6154&highlight=#6154

Anonymous
Not applicable
I think it's time to start a collection to send James to Budapest to work with the Graphisoft developers on their interface for Archicad. All of James' suggestions seem to be well thought out and a great improvement over the existing.

James B
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
Millard wrote:
I think it's time to start a collection to send James to Budapest to work with the Graphisoft developers on their interface for Archicad. All of James' suggestions seem to be well thought out and a great improvement over the existing.
Hey, bring it on I say

I have alot of fun doing it, so I'd be happy to hear more feedback.
Technical Product Manager, Graphisoft

James B
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
MSotero wrote:
In that case, you may wish to review this thread:
http://archicad-talk.graphisoft.com/viewtopic.php?p=6154&highlight=#6154
I didn't see that thread before. Thanks for the link. Also glad to see we're thinking along the same lines especially re the print/non-print option for layers.
Technical Product Manager, Graphisoft

MSotero
Participant
To add to your feature list, wouldn't it be nice if we had:
1) A filter button or something to Show Only Layers that are Empty/Not Empty/Both.

2) A column in the Layers side of the dialog that showed the Number of Entities on each layer. This could make it easier to delete unused layers or quickly see if a particular layer has limited/heavy amounts of data on it.

If you like the above ideas and wish to update your image....
Maybe you'd also consider putting a Pen Selector icon in the Layer Combination side of the dialog box promoting the idea of having Multiple Pen Sets (per the link I provided earlier). This icon being in line with the layer combination Name in the scroll list.

James B
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
MSotero wrote:
To add to your feature list, wouldn't it be nice if we had:
1) A filter button or something to Show Only Layers that are Empty/Not Empty/Both.

2) A column in the Layers side of the dialog that showed the Number of Entities on each layer. This could make it easier to delete unused layers or quickly see if a particular layer has limited/heavy amounts of data on it.

If you like the above ideas and wish to update your image....
Maybe you'd also consider putting a Pen Selector icon in the Layer Combination side of the dialog box promoting the idea of having Multiple Pen Sets (per the link I provided earlier). This icon being in line with the layer combination Name in the scroll list.
I've often thought about how to indicated what elements are on what layers, and what stories the layer has elements on. This I think gets confusing and complicated.

Just adding the "print/non-print" and selected element column adds a level of complexity that is didn't have before. Adding more columns just confuses things I think.

The column on the far right, I was intending to be to describe the layers selected elements are on, and with the ability to drag those items to other layers. Though this could become the column to describe the number of elements on the layers (but a breakdown of what elements are on what layers and story would be a nice to have).

Not sure if I understand the whole Pen thing. So a pen can be global on everything on that layer? Not sure if I understand correctly that one.

Lastly, re purging empty layers from the layers dialogue, well seeing as you can already do this via the Attribute Manager, not sure if it's needed in the Layer Settings - I only tend to have the need to use it every once in a while. I wouldn't want to see the Layer Setting become even more cluttered.
Technical Product Manager, Graphisoft

MSotero
Participant
James wrote:
This I think gets confusing and complicated...I wouldn't want to see the Layer Setting become even more cluttered.
I'm all for keeping things simple. Isn't it so true that things can become complicated quickly. The art of introducing the right things in the right places is truly a challenge. I certainly experienced that when creating MSA Detailer.

It is also true that at times things can become frustrating for users when forced to use a multistep process which can overly limit possibilities at times. Eventually, these things work their way out but it often takes years.

I've seen a lot of changes since V3.43 when I started using ArchiCAD. Today many of the things people find most appealing about AC were once thought to be overly complicating matters.

You'll might find this amusing. Those of us who remember AC3 might recall that the Layer setting was once a 4x4 grid of buttons giving you 16 Layers. You clicked on each layer button that you'd like an element to be on. While I was explaining to a programmer a layer dialog similar to what we have today, I can still remember him saying things like it was too complicated and who could ever need more that 16 layers anyway. Seems kind of funny from today's perspective.

Anyway, I appreciate yours and so many others contributions even when we don't necessarily agree on specifics at times. I've certainly learned a lot by considering what others have suggested. Often I appreciate alternative working methods that just make things quicker and more flexible.

MSotero
Participant
James wrote:
Lastly, re purging empty layers from the layers dialogue, well seeing as you can already do this via the Attribute Manager...
Filtering was the idea, not purging. What Attribute Manager does is limited and doesn't filter layers. If one purges, they might remove layers they were intending to use later and mess up useful layer combinations.

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