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ArchiCAD Basic Training – Module 2
2-1. Coordinate Input, The Tracker and Guidelines

ArchiCAD Training –  (Quick Start Course – 2-1)

This 24 minute video lesson shows you how to draw walls (or other elements) to precise lengths by entering values into the Tracker or Coordinate palettes. Both Imperial and Metric systems are discussed, along with the Options menu > Project Preferences > Measurement Units command that allows you to switch methods.

I explain the concept of the Project Origin (“absolute zero point”) and User Origin (which may be placed using the Origin “x” button in the toolbar to a convenient location) and the Edit Origin (which usually is the last clickpoint; for example, the starting point of the wall or the original start point for a drag or move operation).

Entering distances into the tracker is easier than with the legacy Coordinate palette (you don’t have to type a coordinate letter such as X or Y, and you don’t need to type in a negative number for going left or down onscreen). The tracker also follows the cursor onscreen. However, sometimes it is useful to turn the tracker off, or it may accidentally be turned off, so in this lesson I show how to turn it on and off as needed.

Guide Lines are snappable dashed lines onscreen that aid in drafting or modeling along axes or other standard angles. They can be turned on or off as well, and I show how this is done. An alternative to guide lines for locking in an angle is to hold down the Shift key on the keyboard (the same one you use for CAPITAL letters); this legacy alternative is still available and may sometimes be easier for lining things up. I show how to use guide lines to align one element with another, by pointing at the alignment corner, waiting for the blue dashed lines to appear, then gesturing or “stroking” with the mouse along one of the blue lines until it becomes an orange “lasting guide line” that may be used for snapping.

TECHNICAL ADDENDUM: Graphisoft has changed the behavior of Guide Lines in ArchiCAD 15. While drawing or dragging an element, a large orange dot will appear whenever you hover over an element edge; to create a guide line along that edge, click the orange dot. A guide line may be projected along a coordinate axis from a node point (e.g. the corner or end of an element) by pressing down on that node and dragging along an axis until ArchiCAD shows a tentative guide line, then releasing the mouse; the actual drawing or editing operation will then proceed, but with the guide line visible for use in alignment. For a demonstration and explanation of the new behavior of guide lines in ArchiCAD 15, please see my video tutorial Guide Lines in ArchiCAD 15.

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ArchiCAD Training: Coordinate Input, The Tracker and Guidelines

Let us know how you feel... (16 comments so far)

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  1. AndrewRobb
    2 years ago

    Hi Eric,
    Sorry I just noticed the addendum above. Sorry to trouble you with a question you had already answered.
    Cheers
    Andrew


  2. AndrewRobb
    2 years ago

    Thank you Eric.
    Yes I posted twice sorry I posted it by mistake in the module 1 comments and wasn’t sure if it would make sense so I posted here also.
    Thanks for your prompt reply.
    Love the course.
    Cheers
    Andrew Robb


  3. AndrewRobb
    2 years ago

    Hi Eric,
    I am working through the Quick Start 2.1 video and I can’t figure out how to get the blue and orange guidelines to appear when I hover over the corner of the building for example or over the origin like in the video? Do I need to turn this on in Archicad 18 or have they removed the function?
    Cheers
    Andrew Robb


    • Eric Bobrow
      2 years ago

      Hi Andrew –

      It seems that you posted the same question twice.

      The behavior of Guide Lines changed in ArchiCAD 15, please watch my 15 minute video tutorial when you get a chance:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E99TsG6jJ1E

      Here’s a link to a short article that you can use as a quick reference:
      http://www.dedicated-cad.ie/archicad_solo/archicad_tip032.html

      Briefly: To bring up a new Guideline on a NODE/POINT

      Hover the cursor over an appropriate node/corner point (when the checkmark symbol appears)
      Now you can choose either of two methods: either (i) left-click-and-drag from that point to place a guideline at an appropriate angle, or (ii) press the ’tilde’ key on the keyboard (below the ESC key) to start the positiion of a new guideline, click to place the guideline.

      Eric


  4. DonaldCupit
    4 years ago

    Hi Eric,
    Quick Start 2.1. At about 4.5 into the time line the program froze and I cant get it to continue?
    Any suggestions.
    Also I sent you an email saying I downloaded the Master Template but cannot open it.
    Spent all morning yesterday trying to no avail……
    Don


    • Eric Bobrow
      4 years ago

      Hi Don –

      I’m glad you have dived in, and will try to help you with these temporary frustrations and bumps in the road.

      Web browsers (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Safari) store data (image files and movies) that are downloaded from a website in their “cache” to speed up subsequent access to the same page or others on a website. They automatically delete older items and refresh the cache with the most recently accessed files.

      Sometimes this cache can get overloaded, causing the browser to have issues such as you describe. This can often be alleviated by quitting the browser, then starting it up again.

      Sometimes it can be helpful to “clear the cache”, which is a simple process. Each browser is somewhat different, but in general, you will need to go to the Preferences or Settings for the browser, then look around for an item that says “Clear Cache” or similar. In my Firefox browser, I find this under Preferences > Advanced > Network > Cached Web Content.

      Anyway, after you clear the cache, the browser will have more working space, and videos such as the one you are trying to watch will likely play without a problem. The browser will automatically download the required web files and should work more smoothly.

      Sometimes it may be helpful to restart the computer, in case it has been working for an extended period (perhaps several days or weeks) without a restart, since this may help with overall “memory fragmentation.”

      Regarding MasterTemplate, you mention that you could not open it. MasterTemplate is supplied as a zip archive file, which is common for many web downloads. Are you able to double-click the zip file and have it expand into a folder with various files and subfolders?

      If you are having problems opening or “expanding” zip files, let me know and I’ll help you figure this out. Usually your computer operating system knows what to do with these files, so this isn’t an issue, but very occasionally I’ve had people tell me that their system doesn’t do this for them.

      Assuming you’ve got the zip file downloaded and expanded, you’ll have a folder with the template (MasterTemplate 17 USA TEMPLATE.tpl) plus supporting files. The template is a standard ArchiCAD PLN project file that has been designated as a “template” with the .TPL extension. ArchiCAD is able to open these files directly, in order to customize them, or use them as a reference for creating a new untitled project.

      I suggest that you watch the QUICK TUTORIALS videos in the MasterTemplate website member area http://www.actemplate.com/member/

      You’ll see me demonstrate how to install MasterTemplate and get started with using it.

      As a new user, I suggest that you actually defer trying to work with MasterTemplate until you finish going through the entire QuickStart Course. Use the standard Graphisoft template (that comes up automatically when you start ArchiCAD and create a new project) and follow along the process of creating a simple building in the QuickStart sequence. After you’ve gone through the course, you’ll be in a much better position to understand how to start using the template. If you try to figure it out now, it may confuse you more than necessary. Better to start simple, then get into it later when you have more of a grasp on how everything fits together.

      Please let me know if you need further assistance – I’m always happy to help!

      Eric

  5. DavidNorman
    DavidNorman
    4 years ago

    Hi Eric,
    On my trial version of archicad 16 the blue guidelines do not show up when I hover my mouse above a corner while trying to create a wall and line it up with another wall. How do I fix this?


    • Eric Bobrow
      4 years ago

      David –

      The behavior of Guide Lines changed in ArchiCAD 15, so you will not see the blue lines appear when you hover over a corner point. Instead, you may press the mouse button down while on top of this corner, and while still holding the button down, gesture in the direction that you’d like to see a Guide Line. When the Guide Line appears, you may let go of the mouse button, and proceed with your drawing or editing operation.

      For a demonstration of how this works, as well as more tips on related topics, check out my “ArchiCAD 15 Guide Lines” tutorial video on YouTube:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E99TsG6jJ1E

      Eric


  6. JohnCassel
    6 years ago

    Aloha Eric,
    I’m using ArchiCAD v11. Is there a way to set a keyboard shortcut for the measure tool?
    Thank you,
    John


    • Eric Bobrow
      6 years ago

      John –
      There is a built-in shortcut for the Measure tool – the letter “M” will bring up the Measure tool (you will need to move the mouse slightly and you’ll see the coordinate information show up onscreen) and typing M again or hitting the Escape key will turn off Measure mode.
      Eric


  7. AmmarRija
    6 years ago

    thanks Erick


  8. AmmarRija
    6 years ago

    Very nice lesson
    Dear Eric when you draw the wall there is a blow and orange line, what is the main deferent between blow line and the orange line


    • Eric Bobrow
      6 years ago

      Ammar –

      A blue line is a tentative guide line that ArchiCAD shows briefly, then will hide if you don’t use it. The orange lines are ones that are actively in use, which will stay visible until the current drawing or editing operation is completed.

      In ArchiCAD 15, the behavior of the guide lines is different. A large orange dot shows up when hovering over an edge (of a wall, slab, roof or line, etc.) – this typically would be when a blue line would show up in previous versions. If you click the orange dot, then you will get an orange guide line, which acts much the same as described above.

      I hope this is helpful in understanding the difference between what you see on this video lesson and how ArchiCAD 15 appears.

      Eric

  9. MariyaLilith
    MariyaLilith
    6 years ago

    Thanks for covering how to input an object both vertically and horizontally. Also how to set the User Origin Point.

    Mariya


  10. JohnLee
    6 years ago

    I am new to this course. Where is – This 24 minute video lesson’ – locate at? I also cannot locate/find videos on lessons 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 2-4, 2-5 & 2-6. Please explain. Thanks.


    • Eric
      6 years ago

      John –

      If you are not seeing the actual videos on those pages, then it is likely that you have not logged in successfully to the course website. (The site is set up to allow guests to browse all the pages, but without logging in, one will not see the actual videos displayed.)

      I have had the system send you another email with login instructions so you can get connected. Please follow the instructions, login, then visit the lesson pages to watch the videos.

      If you continue to have any problems accessing the lessons, please reply here or send an email to support@acbestpractices.com.

      Eric