At the start of a project you have to set up a lot of things. Starting your project based on a template file will help you with this. Creating and using your own customized template file increases the efficiency of your daily work. Learn more about this topic here. If your company already has a template file, start the project based on it. If you don't have your own template file yet, start your first project based on the standard Archicad Template that is shipped with every version. Select New in the in the Start Archicad dialog then select the Archicad Template:
If you are not yet familiar with the dialog above or the interface of Archicad, please read this article first. The list below gives you an overview on what settings are stored in the Archicad Template that you can start using immediately and what is not set thus needs to be defined by you.
Project Preferences are standards and working methods specific to the project you are working on, and which are saved along with the project. If another user opens the project on his or her own computer, the same settings will be applied.
Project Preferences are therefore different from Work Environment settings that are your personal preferences for using Archicad's features and arranging the various palettes, toolbars, etc. on the screen. Work Environment settings will not be transferred from you to another user with the project. (However you can export your Work Environment Profiles and Schemes if you want to use them on a different computer.)
All Project Preferences can be found under Options > Project Preferences. The Archicad Template has a default value for all of these. Check the default settings provided by the Archicad Template and decide if they meet your project's needs. If not, change them.
Working Units - Select the units you like to use during your work.
Dimensions - Set up dimensions and make sure you meet local standards of dimensioning. The default settings of the Archicad Template of your local language version will help you achieve this.
Zones - These will be used for zone area and volume calculations.
Legacy Preferences - These options affect the behavior of different types of construction elements. These are recommended for advanced users.
The Structure of the Project - Navigator and Organizer
The Navigator and the Organizer are one of the most essential parts of Archicad's user interface. They help you keep your project organized and tidy. By default the Navigator is often turned off. It is recommended to keep it open all the time until you become fully familiar with its functionality.
The Navigator is designed to help you go through the entire design and documentation process and to navigate within the project all times. This is a quick guideline how you will use it:
You will start working in the Project Map when modeling the virtual building. You can navigate between stories, turn layers on and off, define cutting planes, etc.
As your project evolves, you will migrate to working in the View Map. To prepare internal project checkups and issuance of the documentation, you will save Views and work in the View Map. Views are saved combinations of View Settings that define which project elements are visible and in what way they are displayed in a certain View. You can save many different Views for different purposes of the same virtual building's same 3D content. Custom drafting Views can also be created and deleted whenever needed.
The documentation will be prepared in the Layout Book. Here you can create the Layouts on which the saved Views will be placed as Drawings.
The publishing of the project as well as the exported files to be sent out to project stakeholders will be organized in Publisher Sets.
Project Map View Map Layout Book Publisher Sets
The Archicad Template gives you a basic project structure you can start with. Then you can further develop the structure of the project in the Organizer by adding
new Viewpoints (e.g. Stories, Sections, Elevations, Schedules, etc.) in the Project Map
Use Cloned Folders to automatically save Views with unified settings when creating new Viewpoints, such as Sections, Elevations, Interior Elevations, etc. in the Project Map.
NOTE: you cannot delete a View in a Cloned Folder, you can only delete the whole folder with all the Views within. So it is recommended to handle Cloned Folders sparingly in order to avoid creating too many views you won't want to use later and cannot be deleted without losing good views you want to keep in the same folder. If you know what you will have to deliver at certain stages of the project, you can build up the project structure in Navigator / Organizer right at the beginning.
What are Libraries? Read the Libraries section of the article Start Working in Archicad. When you create a new project, the standard Archicad Library is automatically loaded. If your company has a custom Office Library, load it to your project.
Project related information (such as the name of the project, the name of the client, site address, contact information, etc.) can be stored in the Project Info (File » Info » Project Info). You will be able to use these data as Autotext entries with the Text Tool both on Views and Layouts, so that you won't have to type these again and again, you only need to reference them. All fields of the Project Info are empty in the Archicad Template file. It is recommended to fill them in at the beginning of the project.
Before you start modeling the building, set up the story height structure. Stories in Archicad, just as in real buildings, serve to divide space vertically and replicate the story structure of your real building. These articles will help you with the first steps: