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Hello together,



I mean, there are some advantages; binding lineweight and color together as 'pen', like in real life.



But think about which bigger advantage in real life we could have, if we were able to change the attributes just of one single pen... there was no need anymore, to buy every time a new pen if we need e.g. thicker or thinner lines with a specific color.


When we do our drawing with computers, it was so easy to change width and color independently, sovereign.

Why is it in Archicad not possible, generally?



I get mad so often about. 😖

Which "pen" can I change, overwrite?  Which one was it?... which "pen set"?  ...and so on.


To define "Pens" is a helpful option (...and then only the number of "pens", we want) ...
... but it has not to be the only way to manage colors and lineweights.


Yes, we'd need two buttons more everywhere, we've to define lines... maybe a lot of work to bring it in...

... but I think it's more than worth to do it.



Please let us have an  I N D E P E N D E N C E  D A Y !   🎆

The independence of colors from line weights and the independence of line weights from colors.

ARCHICAD for Future

archicad versions 8-27 | mac os 13 | win 10


I have never been a fan of the AC management of pens, it just feels so complicated keeping track of all the assignments to elements. I do hark from the days of the drawing board where everything was done with 4 different width black pens, so maybe I'm out of date, but equally keep it simple is a good approach for any problem.


Graphic Overrides were a huge step forward for me, no longer was it necessary to track down pens in individual elements to get them to display correctly, now it was easy to turn everything grey with a thin pen and highlight in a heavier pen &/or colour those elements relevant to the drawing. With GOs you can use just one penset and a basic set of GOs to suit the display requirements of your drawings.


My penset has 1-8 assigned to traditional CAD values then a block of easily distinguishable colours with different weights from 0.18 to 2.00mm and a block of colours for shading. It works for me, never need to track down pen assignments anymore, if the drawing doesn't look right the answer is usually in the GO settings not five tabs deep in an elements settings.


Screenshot 2022-08-12 at 13.54.57.png

Apple iMac macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds)


Thank you for participation to this topic…

…and for showing your way to cope with line weights and colors.

Yes such 'pen set' seems to enable a better workflow for this.


But in my opinion it's still like traveling as a citizen of the former GDR... It's possible to travel but only to countries that belong to the Eastern bloc.

That's no really freedom. It's just finding a better way to use elements of the past, instead of seizing the tools of the present to build for future.

I see no reason to remain in this old limitations.

Come with me and just walk freely out!


(Just thinking of the laborius way to change this sets.. no drag and drop, no copying, no moving the field with the mouse…)

ARCHICAD for Future

archicad versions 8-27 | mac os 13 | win 10


I think about of having a color palette like this:



  • not much space wasted because of repeating color fields for every weight...
  • move / copy the fields with the mouse
  • maybe automatic sorting by brightness / saturation / …
  • maybe with names / index for every field 

    And additionally  in the tool settings: line weight's optionally from a drop-down list…



ARCHICAD for Future

archicad versions 8-27 | mac os 13 | win 10


@snow We all have our own perspective on what we have been taught, our experience and what we want to achieve, so I'm not challenging your solution, just sharing my thoughts.


The problem I see here is you (and GS) are still thinking about the pens in the same way as you would assign a surface texture e.g. this line is associated with brick so it must use Pen ##. BIM & GOs have shifted that, although AC still has a way to go in terms of assigning properties etc to 2D lines. GO allows you to more logically drill down into your BIM data and assign visual pen adjustments without all the juggling of pen sets, you simply assign an appropriate pen with colour / line weight and possibly surface to highlight the element within your drawing.


How many colours do we really need? If a drawing contains more than 8 colours for LINES, (some might argue 4) the odds are the reader will not reliably differentiate those colours. I am sure I once read that the human eye is incapable of differentiating between 2 colours when the visible spectrum is divided into 256 colours. Yes we can see millions of colours but our ability to identify them individually is severely limited. In that context the scope of pen variations to convey technical documentation is more than adequate with a single pen set and as suggested in my previous post that single pen set is also capable of accommodating a more than adequate range of pen weights for a single colour.


So for the near future of AC I don't see separating the pen weight from the colour as a positive step and personally I would prefer to see consolidation to a single pen set first to simplify the management of pens but also to simplify the drawing process for all users novice to experienced. It would also help if this was coupled with improved GO criteria and assigning properties to 2D elements. Having said that there could be scope within the GO settings for GS to assign a new pen weight without changing the pen colour which may answer your wish?


Apple iMac macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds)

@snow I'm having a hard time understanding what the challenge is that you're facing?  The pen groups that you want to have are easily created.   It is also simple to change the width or color of a range of pens...just select a continuos or rectangular region and change the settings in the pen table.  If you want to copy pens from one table to another, that's what Attribute Manager is for.  No, there's no drag and drop, but there is copy/selective overwrite by index/etc.


Pens are abstractions and allow some control over what Graphic Overrides (GO) can still do, although GOs have eliminated the need that you'll see in some historic posts for different pen tables.  (Example:  before GOs, if we wanted a document that had fire rated walls in red and all others in black - yet have all walls black for normal plans - we had to create a new pen table just to change the pen used for the fire-rated walls from black to red.  Now, a GO does that trivially.)


But, as an abstraction, a pen is not 'red/width 18 mm' - rather, it is for some function (e.g., 'beams'... so if you change that pen, it changes usages everywhere.  You don't have to use it this way of course.


Pens have been part of the Archicad forever as they are now (8 bit values)...and are insidiously hard-coded throughout the database, so changing things would be an insanely huge challenge.  Living with them is best for the medium future at least, and the options (there are 100s of posts on clever uses of pens/pen tables - and which pens should be left alone).


Leave pens 1 through 10 alone, along with pen 91 (perhaps even 91 through 100) and, at least in the US, DWG pens 121 to 130.  Otherwise, do anything you want with all of the other pens... to be either color/weights you desire, or abstractions ('exterior wall contour', 'beam', etc) that you want.


The thing about pens 1-10 (colors) and 91 (white in USA - I believe the white pen is elsewhere for INT?) - is that the entire library has default pen settings - some of them hard-coded and invisible to us - that use those numbers.  Changing them, means more work making library parts look correct.


For example, one of those pens lets the line for window glass look different from the frame.  If all of those pens were set to black, you wouldn't know that you have a parametric option to change the color of pen width of glass, as one example.


It is of course worth wishing for something better... but as something deep and central to the code and file format of Archicad... I just wanted to suggest that a change here could take many years 🙂


One of the forum moderators
AC 27 USA and earlier   •   macOS Ventura 13.6.2, MacBook Pro M2 Max 12CPU/30GPU cores, 32GB


Thank you both for your particularized discussion!.

...takes everytime a lot of time to write such texts,


This morning, I can not go into every point you mentioned... even I would like..

But just some statements:

  1. In my opinion, 'pens' have basically nothing to do with CAD

  2. I want to use everywhere in Archicad a "new / different" colour without the need to overwrite an existing pen... 
    That's currently not possible.
    ... and I want the option to store this colour somewhere in Archicad (not in the computer-system...)

    (You may say: Have a 'pen set' with many free fields... so you need not overwrite... but I don't want to create new pens either, every time--- in fact there was no need to do such thing.)

  3. GO allows free colours for fill-background and surfaces – yes. (just the above-mentioned option to store this defined colours i s missing...)

    Why can we not have free colours for every line? (including an invisible one...)

    (By the way: We need different 'pen sets' in connection with GO because It's there not possible to overwrite skins and materials in GDL objects...)

  4. Too many colours confuse.

    Yes! So I want to have a colour palette with only the colours in use.
    I don't want to have more colours on one screen or plan – but I want to choose one out of the millions of the colour space, without the need to sacrifice an other one for that.

  5. In the pen set dialogue, it's not possible to copy (one single or some) colours. Changing a range of colours takes a lot of time (especially if you have a Windows-System)
    So I asked earlier a friend to write an add-on... for managing this a bit easier,

  6. 'Pen sets' could be kept because GDL.objects refer to this way of line defining until now.

    But why not a new system parallel and new objects programmed referring to this?


Thank you again for participation in this discussion!

ARCHICAD for Future

archicad versions 8-27 | mac os 13 | win 10


One thing more:


I want to be able to get quickly every colour for fills, especially fill backgrounds

...(and to put one more on top, I want to be able to control the transparency of just the background colour... so that I could have a hatch with a semi transparent background)


Some people use mixed fills to generate different shades of colours... a bad way then, when I need this colour just as background...)

Especially in documentation, often we need the colour of a surface.
Could we not just have an eye dropper to pick any colour for using it somewhere?

ARCHICAD for Future

archicad versions 8-27 | mac os 13 | win 10

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