About Archicad's design tools, element connections, modeling concepts, etc.

Community feedback: Distance Guides

Arpad Szabo

Hi All!

We’re gathering feedback on a new experimental feature: Distance Guides!


Please see our brief illustrated survey: based on your intuition and logic, how should Distance Guides behave? No right or wrong answers here… we want to know how YOU think it should work. 


Not familiar with Distance Guides? Not a problem. In a nutshell: Distance Guides show the relative distance between elements in your plan.


IMPORTANT: You can participate even if you don’t use Distance Guides!


To start the survey, click the link below. Please do the survey before you go to the comment section!

UPDATE: The Distance Guides survey is now closed. We would like to thank all participants who took part in this research for their valuable contributions.


OK, did survey and also left this comment at the end:

Sometimes when wanting to stretch an element like a wall or line, the numerical field of the distance guides positions itself over the node and makes it impossible to click on the node and stretch, as it usually highlights the data field instead. I always have to change my zoom level drastically to remedy it.

Rex Maximilian, Honolulu, USA -
ArchiCAD 27 (user since 3.4, 1991)
16" MacBook Pro; M1 Max (2021), 32GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, 32-Core GPU
Apple Vision Pro w/ BIMx
Creator of the Maximilian ArchiCAD Template System

If GS are honest the Distance Guides whilst initially offering much promise fail under scrutiny on many different levels and aspects.


Whether the DG was developed to mimic another developer I'm not sure, but it feels detached from the core functionality of AC. Why? Well, AC relies on nodes and how things adjust depends on which node you select e.g. should we stretch or should we move. At present the DG is trying to second guess the users intent. Simple case in point is the example in the survey where the opening is to be adjusted. Ok in many cases it will be a stretch, but it could just as easily have required a move, but there is no simple way to define that option that would make DGs any better than regular editing with the marquee tool. Supposing in that same example the DG arrow was flipped, then some might assume the wall was to move, but supposing the wall was a single building material? In concept development mode I might reasonably assume I actually wanted the wall thickness to increase to preserve the external face position.


The same might also be true for objects, except the design guides only ever reference the bounding box. So should the furniture in the survey move or stretch? You can't second guess the user in every situation. As a chair I might want to move it but I might also want it to become a bigger sofa or a longer table if it was a different object. The same problems manifest in doors & windows.


The Design Guides are an unnecessary distraction from the existing reasonably effective tool set.


If GS want to improve model editing, put some time into the measure and tracking tools as was suggested during the Beta test 

Apple iMac Intel i9 / macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds.. if they work)

Yes, distance guides really show the disconnect between what we need and what we get. Being able to position elements in reference to other elements is of course a very useful functionality and something that is much needed in a modern workflow. But we need to have full control over which point of the element is being referenced which makes it a rather complicated input situation and furthermore we need to be able to set it as a positional constraint for the elements which makes it a technical challenge. But this is what we need - this is how we think and talk about the position of elements in a building.


But instead we something that basically just aid us in placing a chair in a room.

Barry Kelly

DGs for openings should also associate to intersecting dividing wall (room walls) rather than just the end of the wall they are in or to other openings.


The DG origin point should also be adjustable, just as you can re-associate the target point.



One of the forum moderators.
Versions 6.5 to 27
Dell XPS- i7-6700 @ 3.4Ghz, 16GB ram, GeForce GTX 960 (2GB), Windows 10
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Tamas Samu

Thanks guys for the extra feedback and the participation, keep them coming, they do help us a lot in the development! 🙂


@Rex Maximilian thanks for the feedback, I agree that not being able to interact with the selection due to the guide is an issue. I will forward this issue to have a look at it.


@DGSketcher & @thesleepofreason I am sorry that Distance Guides have a bad 1st impression on you. Do I understand right that you feel that the current visual display of Distance guides doesn't communicate the interaction, you can expect from it, thus resulting in confusion? Also doesn't have the flexibility that you would expect to have from such tool. Did I get that correctly?


@Barry Kelly Completely valid points, Distance guides should detect incoming structure and have more flexibility

Karl Ottenstein

Maybe I'm totally missing something... but I didn't see any easy way of centering something along the distance guides.  I was hoping that just pressing "=" for the distance would  let me place an element in the middle of opposing guides, but it seems I have to do the math and enter the numeric half of the total distance?


One of the forum moderators
AC 27 USA and earlier   •   macOS Ventura 13.6.3, MacBook Pro M2 Max 12CPU/30GPU cores, 32GB

@Tamas Samu Not sure who is confused, it isn't me after 28 years as an AC user! As I have tried to explain the DG is incapable of competing with measure, tracker, guidelines and the marquee tools. It is a pointless overlay providing nothing more than a duplicate of existing functions and doing it badly.


If the position of a wall is critical it should be dimensioned otherwise what is the point of a precision setting. If you want to develop something meaningful to improve AC try taking associative dimensions and allow them to be edited to move and stretch elements. Here's an example... you have a wall with a set of dimensions to wall ends and all openings, now edit the dimension between openings and the connected opening to the right moves, edit dimension for the opening width and it stretches using the base point in the opening definition e.g. centred/left/right. The DG doesn't even come close to delivering that kind of power and usability. Plus dimensions aren't constrained to 90 degrees and second guessing everything.


Just put the DG code in the bin and move on, chalk it up to being another pointless marketing exercise that failed because no one is listening to the end users.

Apple iMac Intel i9 / macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds.. if they work)

Yes. That should be a thing!


Rex Maximilian, Honolulu, USA -
ArchiCAD 27 (user since 3.4, 1991)
16" MacBook Pro; M1 Max (2021), 32GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, 32-Core GPU
Apple Vision Pro w/ BIMx
Creator of the Maximilian ArchiCAD Template System

This happens to me so much that I just turned DG off.

Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC27 US/INT -> AC08

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