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OLD PMK files

Anonymous
Not applicable
Last week I was asked if I could help transfer some ArchiCAD files into AutoCAD and said, "Of course!" As it turns out the files are ALL PMK files and are all off a back-up disk that was dates 2001.

I've tried opening them in v19, v16, v15, v12, and v10 all of which I either have on my current computer or an older one and v10 is as far back as I can go without loading some old software on an old PC that I still have. I am now a MAC user but back in the day when these files were likely created I was a PC user, so going back in time is proving to be problematic.

I've searched this site without success looking for some clues. Is there a utility out there that I can use to make these files usable? Is there some other process? Any help is much appreciated.

Thank you,

TIM
12 REPLIES 12
Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
Your question got me curious to see what's going on, as I have a lot of old Windows PMK's laying around from years past as well.

First, a PMK cannot be opened as an editable file (to my knowledge) - it can only be dragged onto a layout (or inserted there). The layout onto which it is placed can then be saved as a DWG.

Dragging any of my old circa 2001 / 2002 PMK files into any of AC 10 through AC 20 pops up a message saying that only PMK files created with PlotMaker 3.0 or newer can be placed on a layout.

Digging into my old Snow Leopard boot clone, I see that AC 7 used PlotMaker version 2.3; AC 8.1 used version 3.1 and AC 9 (final PlotMaker) used version 9.0.

So... if Mac is your only option, it would appear you would need the capability to reboot into the old Snow Leopard OS in order to run AC 8.1 or AC 9 to convert the PMK files using the version of PlotMaker included in those versions. Those versions of AC were written for the old PowerPC Macs... and Snow Leopard allowed Intel Macs to emulate PPC code using what was called "Rosetta".

If you don't have the ability to run Snow Leopard - you might have to find an ancient Mac or an old Windows PC (or virtual machine) in order to run the Windows version of PlotMaker included in 8.1 or 9 to do the conversion ... or re-open the original PLN in those versions of AC and republish the PMKs.

For all of the work... if they just need to-scale line work and you have old PDF files that were created with vector-based line work (vs scanned images)... you or they can use a variety of tools to convert the PDF to snap-able/trace-able, and (slightly) editable line work.
One of the forum moderators
AC 27 USA and earlier   •   macOS Ventura 13.6.7, MacBook Pro M2 Max 12CPU/30GPU cores, 32GB
I was curious about this post, too, so I pressed the Follow button.

Karl, once the PMK is dragged and dropped, could it not be exploded to capture the lifework and fills? And layers and Pen Set?
Think Like a Spec Writer
AC4.55 through 27 / USA AC27-5030 USA
Rhino 8 Mac
MacOS 14.5
Hello Graphisoft: this would be a useful filetype to maintain compatibility for any PMK with the current version of ArchiCAD.

Would that be difficult?
Think Like a Spec Writer
AC4.55 through 27 / USA AC27-5030 USA
Rhino 8 Mac
MacOS 14.5
Anonymous
Not applicable
THANK YOU SO MUCH for you time and very thoughtful response.

I am adding this info to backup what you have shared for anyone else who may come along in the future. After going through what is described below I believe that your suggestions will work right along side what I ended up doing...

I currently use a 2011 MacBook PRO 17" that has VMware Fusion running my old Windows XP Pro. I still have this because I sometimes do work for another architect that is still using AutoCAD 2006 and XP is the most stable environment. As I wrote this post I had forgotten that was the case, so after asking for help I decided to be proactive and see what I might be able to accomplish. I went and found my old AC 6.5 and 7.0 disks and while 6.5 failed to load, 7.0 went on without a hitch. I stopped using a hardware key last year and as expected ArchiCAD would not start, however plot maker was a different story.

The first PMK I tried opening worked like a charm so now the question was can I get any usable info out and to my great relief the answer was YES, however it was not perfect. I tried half-a-dozen times to get a DWG file that would include text as well but was unsuccessful EVERY TIME even after tweaking DWG config files. So, while this added an extra step, I was able to at least show what the text was by exporting a TIFF file. This process was for another architect so my guess is that all they really want is the linework, but at least they will also have an example of what the information actually looked like.

AC v7.0 was able to open the PMK files and WAS able to export DWG info from each file, although I was not able to figure out how to get the text to come along, I share all of this in an effort to let anyone interested and able to find this post the steps that were needed for access to the raw data.

Thank you and may GOD richly bless you all!

TIM
Anonymous
Not applicable
Thank you Aaron,

I could not agree more and was, frankly, VERY surprised that there was a limitation. I got exactly the same error message in EVERY version I tried accessing the PMK, until I got to 7.0.

I likely have thousands of PMKs from my MANY years of AC before PDF popularity.

Thanks again to EVERYONE!

TIM
Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
FWIW I just "Placed" an old PMK file (AC8.1) into AC 20 and exploded it without any issues. Also I placed the PMKs in a New Layout book and was able to export to DWG with text and no other issues.
Place and Explode for the same PMKs worked in 19.
Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC27 US/INT -> AC08

Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram, OS X 10.XX latest
another Moderator

Anonymous
Not applicable
I've decided to post one of the PMK files that I received and as I said it came off of a disk that was labeled 2001, so my guess is that this file was created on 7.0 or earlier. Frankly, I'm thinking it was 6.0 after looking at the PMK files, but it is really just a semi-educated guess . . . . I tried removing the PMK extension so if you try opening it, you likely need to egg the PMK back on. . . . . never mind all of that, this forum system will not allow me to upload a file with a PMK extension so I am now trying one zipped . . . .
Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
and I think I confirmed Karl's culprit.
Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 10.11.56 PM.png
Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC27 US/INT -> AC08

Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram, OS X 10.XX latest
another Moderator

Anonymous
Not applicable
I got that same error right up until I tried using AC 7