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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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How do you draw walls in Chief Architect and Revit? We generally use Zones for space planning and then have a series of favourite set up for walls which we just quickly draw around the zones. We then have a series of favourite composite walls or just set up new ones and change them over once we move to working drawing stage. I don’t see how it can get much quicker so it would be good to understand how chief architect and Revit are different. 

Lee Hankins
ArchiCAD 4.5 - Archicad 27UKI Apple Silicon 27.2.1
macOS Sonoma (14.5)

Thank you for your reply Lee, I have tried a similar method with wrapping a wall around a fill or a zone with the space bar or majic wand but how do you avoid overlapping the walls ? 


I haven’t seen a single YT clip on how to use that method you describe above ?


Most of those clips show a dwg floor plan imported into Archicad as an XREF and whamo hit the space bar for the majic wand and create a wall.


Or they use a snap grid system like I use and shoot walls out or drag a copy etc etc etc.


Can someone make a YT clip here to show us how to do the method you are describing above ?


I can draw them faster in Chief Architect with one hand on the mouse and the other one tied behind my back.


Only because the dimensions are interactive with the walls like it is also in Revit as well. 



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Kamil Dylo

Again, how do you do that in Revit?


I think I might have been spoilt by my use of Chief Architect since 1999 with the very easy to use GUI. Chief Architect is not in the same league with Archicad as I had quite a few things in CA that I wasn’t happy with that Archicad easily addressed.


I will see if I can find some videos to show you how you can draw walls in Chief Architect and in Revit ? I have tested a trial version of Revit in the past and it was very similar to Chief Architect when you draw walls.


In Archicad when you create zones or fills to represent rooms and hit the edge of the zone with the space bar you get a wall that goes right around the zone. The problem is that when we repeat the process with next adjoining zone, the walls will overlap with adjoining room. Then if a zone representing a room will have at least one wall on the outside that is an external wall. I guess we could leave a space between the zones to allow for another room so the walls do not overlap during the process. That will mean that we will have to extend walls to join them all up. Then we will have to select all the walls in the external position and change it to a proper external wall composite.


Way too many steps for me at present ?


In the end the big company doesn’t care that much about the person working in the CAD room doing the drafting work and taking a long time to get the job done ? If they did care, they would definitely make it easier for us to draw walls in Archicad.


I think the big companies have Revit as well and get the CAD operators to use that software in the process as well. Not so with a Solo operator, I couldn’t afford to own both packages. So that’s why I want GS to fix Archicad in this particular area to make it much easier to use when it comes to drawing walls and moving other elements with interactive dimensions. You click the dimension, edit it and  then the elements will move to the new position.


Edit: Please see this video below for Chief Architect drawing of walls. This is in feet and inches, the only time he uses his other hand is to input dimensions on the key board.


Edit 2: For drawing and placing walls, doors & windows in Revit, please see this video. It shows different placement method options and interactive dimensions that can also be turned into permanent dimensions if you wish. It would be great if Archicad could incorporate something similar for us to make our job much easier ?


Edit: For super fast Space Planning In Home Designer software and Chief Architect please see this video. BTW we have been able to do this in Chief Architect by the end of the last century.


I would like to be able to use a fast simple method like these above in Archicad if at all possible ?


I don’t want to model up in Chief Architect and then export as a DWG file into Archicad. All the other elements I can easily model up in Archicad but it would be great to have interactive dimensions to move doors, windows and other elements. It would speed up Archicad immensely.


If ever there was a million dollar idea, this is it and Autodesk have already capitalised on it by implementing it right into Revit and they have taken many customers away from Archicad.

Or they have gotten Archicad users to buy Revit as well to speed things up ?


I am not buying Revit and I am not upgrading Chief Architect. I want Archicad to improve this basic functionality first and then I will upgrade Archicad.


Thank you for considering my requests.

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Kamil Dylo

Thanks for extensive explanation. It is interesting what you are saying. Space Planning Assistant by Chief Architect is mind-blowing. Never saw such an approach before. Visual feedback, direct input, element dependencies and constrains is something I really love in Revit and I would have switch long time ago if not terrible Revit interface (ribbons 🤮)


Back in the days when Graphisoft still had ambitions to make a great software, they significantly improved railing tool and introduced its ability to keep relation with other elements (they called it associativity). I thought at that time that a natural consequence was to improve other tools like wall or fill and make them more "intelligent".

Unfortunately Archicad developers shifted their attention to other, from my point of view, useless improvements and I don't think it will change in the future.


Out of curiosity, what made you to switch from Chief Architect and why you didn't choose Revit?


Yes it’s true about how Archicad has developed over the years, I started learning it way back at version 7. That was 20 years ago and the way you draw walls hasn’t changed very much at all since then if at all ?


I think they will eventually do something about speeding up Archicad’s basic functionality once they can shift the focus off collaboration apps. That’s where most of the resources are being spent at present by the way the software has developed recently. Good for big enterprises but not for smaller firms.


I will continue to put up with the slower methods of drawing basic elements till they turn their attention to us and help us stay with Archicad as a complete solution.


I am not a fan of Revit or Autocad, that’s last century but you must admire them for making them work much faster with AP design and other add ons.


When I did an Autocad course in 2000, I told my lecturer that I can do it faster on my drawing board and I am not changing to it lol. He gave Microstation a big plug but I didn’t have that sort of money back then, so he showed me a copy of 3D home architect by Chief Architect and I was sold.


Then I saw Archicad and I was sure that was for me and it was good. I was hoping that they would make it better for us with a subscription but they only delivered a few good features but neglected the basics. As I have described above.


I don’t think they have much choice but to act because everyone will eventually be revited with Revit. The Revit revolution started about a decade ago and even Chief Architect users defected to Revit lol.


Not me, they didn’t fool me with the AP design add on for Autocad.


Archicad will definitely get it right again eventually and they will all be selling out of Revit in time and coming back to Archicad for a full CAD solution.


Thats if Nemetschek wake up in time ?

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Karl Ottenstein

@mthd wrote:


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


I don't know where/how you got this impression.  I don't believe that any meaningful percentage of users here have both applications.  And, I cannot see any way that one could be more productive by modeling in both Revit and Archicad.


Personally, I've never found that Archicad's methods...with data entry (via numeric pad on keyboard - not having one is a pain), guidelines, snap points, temporary guides, etc (I have never found the snap grid useful) fast enough to build an accurate model.  But, I do like Chief's, Revit's and SketchUp's 'live dimensions' - so do support your wish as an optional mode for modeling.



One of the forum moderators
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Yes Karl, absolutely on board with a wireless number pad at my left hand and my right hand on a programable mouse with extra buttons for short cuts.


Please anybody who is super fast in Archicad with drawing walls and wrapping them around zones, please post a YT video here for us to see if we can speed up our methods as well ?


I have never seen this method of drawing walls in any of the official Archicad training videos, neither have I seen one on YT from googling “Drawing Walls in Archicad”. Must be a secret trick of the Archicad CAD trade or something ?


On YT I see heaps of people importing DWG plan files from other applications and working on them in Archicad. They majic wand the walls on their XREFs, not many drawing plans from scratch on YT. 


Many use these methods above and so did my lecturer and other users on here, that’s where I got my impression. I even saw an official Archicad video of a person sending a plan from Autocad right into Archicad but that was about XREF’s. The guy doing the teaching had Autocad and said “if you don’t have Autocad you can still import the DWG file” That in itself implies that many have AutoCAD and other DWG based CAD applications to import files from.


I can even export a DWG file from Chief Architect right into Archicad but I don’t because I want to model up the whole building in Archicad even though it takes longer to do so. The overall benefits of using Archicad make it worth while as the finished cross sections and elevations need allot less editing in Archicad. Cabinets also take longer in Archicad but the CI tools cabinets are more specific for our region. Not to mention CI tools roof & wall cladding are also specific to our region.


When you open yourself up to collaboration like Archicad does, there is an inherent danger of becoming too collaboration focused and you neglect developing basic features. I would think Autocad could be laughing at us for not spending more time on the basic functionality for more productivity right inside the Archicad GUI ?


Archicad is definitely much more accurate than Chief Architect and can do slanted walls and many other things with walls.


Chief Architect Home Designer was designed for the DIY market and Chief Architect Premier is for the builders & the designers of “Cookie Cutter Homes” or normal housing with not allot of customisation, like Architectural homes tend to have.


Those products have to be easy to use for the DIY customer, like today’s home design apps are. That doesn’t meant that Archicad has to be hard to use and slow in some respects ?


Yes they definitely have plug ins to help us with modelling other elements more accurately like CI tools do. I like CI tools but I definitely think that Archicad should consider buying them out and adding them right into the basic functionality of the native program. Same could be said for Cigraph plug ins. 


How about a plug in for Archicad for fast walls ? After all that’s what created Revit (AP Design by Autodesk) a big plug in for Autocad to create Revit.


The amount of CAD programs out there that plugged right into Autocad or use Autocad as an engine we’re astounding in this century and they are still out there now. They have capitalised on the fact that Autocad was the first program to be taught in tertiary education. So many people have been schooled and accustomed to using Autocad and that’s why those types of programs are selected by many CAD operators in this century.


For me Autocad was too slow so I avoided it and kept drawing by hand till something faster came out so I could be more productive with cad especially in 3D. So I started with Chief and then moved to Archicad.


I want Archicad to speed up a bit more please ? It’s the Ferrari of CAD but we need the engine to be upgraded to outdo Revit in speed in the formula 1 CAD industry of the 2020’s


Zoom !


Edited 24/8/2022. Archicad is allot more sensitive than those other programs above and I have to get down to a finer level of understanding in order to use the tracker pallet along with the 3 points of origin to move elements to new relative positions. Still allot more work and many more keyboard taps  to move and edit elements to new relative positions.


For those who who may be new to Archicad and or like me came from another CAD application, please see this video about the 3 points of origin in order to edit or move elements to relative positions in the plan with the tracker pallet.





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A question for any expert users here on the forum.


What is the best practice or the most efficient way to draw a house in Archicad with the current GUI ?


There are many ways to go about it but can someone post a link to a video that shows a fast and efficient way to draw with Archicad ?


It would be good to hear from any expert users their tips for working fast and efficiently in Archicad.


Edit: Here is a very helpful tip on how to place doors accurately with Archicad. It would also work with windows that we place into walls.


Because I came from a CAD program that uses the “witness line temporary dimension” input method of accurately placing elements or moving them including walls, I find it hard to get used to the method above. I just need more practice time and I will hopefully speed up a bit.


Although Revit would have suited me just fine in this method of placing elements and moving them including walls, I opted for Archicad and I don’t regret my decision at all.


I would have sufficed with Archicad Solo approximately 20 years ago if it was available in Australia ? I would have used Artlantis for rendering as an add on. I think I would miss XREFs though ? 


Anyway, I am glad I have Archicad 24 to work with when I need it, even though I and many others have their wish list to make things easier to use for us.


I definitely feel that is the future of CAD namely to make it easier to use. I think Autodesk in paying $133 million dollars to buy Revit in 2000 was a good move because it is definitely easier to use in some respects and takes less steps to get the desired result.


At least for me it does and I know that many in the US who moved to Revit from Chief Architect because the GUI was similar with the “witness line temporary dimension input method” did so because of the similarities.


I personally wouldn’t buy Revit Full because of the price and you don’t own the license anyway and I wouldn’t buy Revit lt either because it doesn’t have enough in it to do a complete job correctly.


If you are well off enough to use both Archicad & Revit or you work for a company that uses both, then you get the benefits of both platforms.


I understand that those in commercial world would definitely use both platforms because of the amount of work put into collaboration right inside Archicad to work with Revit. Those companies would have Architects or Architectural Technicians who are skilled in one or the other or both.


I would find it quite easy to learn and use Revit in a short time because of my background in Chief Architect and in Archicad.


Just my wishes for Archicad to be easier to use and to take less steps to building a full 3D model.


Edit 1: A metaphor to explain my wish. For example an Architect sees a client’s brief and a hand drawn sketch plan of what they are considering in a house plan layout ? Yet the Architect sees that the client has not allowed enough circulation space in the living areas. He can foresee, that persons circulating in the living area will bump into things because there is not enough space to move around in. Or for persons to get into the Kitchen area, there are few things that are in the way from the living room route to the kitchen and dining areas. The best way to sort out the problem is to make more space available to get to the kitchen dining areas, without obstruction. So to with drawing a wall or placing an element, we need to get to the end result without taking so many steps or having to get around an obstruction that might come up. The Architect offers a direct route by opening up more space to move around in. That’s what could be achieved by implementing a simple solution like I have mentioned above to make it much easier for me and many others to use Archicad more efficiently and productively.

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