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Week #5 – General Notes & Specifications
5-3. General Notes and Your Template

ArchiCAD Training (Best Practices Lesson 5-3)

This 25 minute segment is the final part of week #5. In this section I show how to maintain a set of boilerplate general notes in your template, and create independent editable copies for every new project.

I also include some general tips about using the Drawing Manager to update and maintain links to drawings from external files and folders.

NOTE: This video is recorded at 1280 x 720 pixels, and displayed in the course website page at a lower resolution. I suggest that you move your mouse over the video while it’s playing to reveal the controls, then click the “full screen” button in the bottom right to be able to see all the detail. You can hit “ESC” on your keyboard to leave full-screen mode at any time.

Thank you for visiting the Best Practices Course website. The video lessons are available for members only. If you are an active member and would like to watch the ArchiCAD training video on this page, please login to the website. If you are not currently a member, please visit the following pages for more information and to sign up for the Best Practices Course, the QuickStart Course or for the Best Practices ArchiCAD Coaching Program. Eric Bobrow, Creator of the Best Practices Course
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ArchiCAD Training: General Notes and Your Template

Let us know how you feel... (20 comments so far)

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  1. AmyDowty
    5 years ago

    Good work! I have one suggestion to make regarding the naming of the specifications files, which goes beyond inserting some project-identifying text at the beginning of the document.

    Sometimes when you are editing specifications, you want to copy and paste specific passages from another project’s specifications – something that you don’t necessarily want to keep in your master specifications document. If every project’s specifications are called Master Specifications.doc, that can lead to trouble. When you open the two Word files at once to facilitate the copy-paste process, you will have two files open on your screen that are both called Master Specifications.doc. It is easy to get confused about which file is which, and edit something you shouldn’t. If the files have different names, you can tell at a glance, even if you are working on page 10, which document you are in.

    When you are duplicating the generic Project folder to create the Bulmer Residence folder, rename the Master Specifications.doc file, just as you did the Project Name.pln file. Then using the Drawing Manager in ArchiCAD, you could change the path for the Master Specifications.doc file to point to the newly named Bulmer Specifications.doc file.

    What do you think?


    • Eric Bobrow
      5 years ago

      Amy –
      Yes, this makes a lot of sense to me. Good point!
      Eric

  2. JohnDunham
    JohnDunham
    5 years ago

    Thanks for this! The insights into the basics of using the Drawing Manager and a practical demonstration of ‘relative’ vs ‘absolute’ file paths has been very useful. This type of info is difficult to come across without lots of experience – and luck!


    • Eric Bobrow
      5 years ago

      John –
      Glad you liked the lesson!
      Thanks for posting – I appreciate it.
      Eric

  3. TimothyBall
    Timothy Ball
    6 years ago

    Hi Eric. Are you going to cover the automated text facility in the Info list?

    I use this for standardised text notes, but editing them is time consuming. I have not been able to find a suitable XML editor to allow easier editing outside AC. Ideally I would kike to export from an xls file, but that doesn’t create an xml file that AC can read. Any ideas?

    Instead of creating drawing based notes as you have shown, we use a short specification note with an alpahnumeric code to cross refer to a seprate specification document.

    I did try the CADImage software a couple of years ago but it was written too specifically for NZ.

    NBS do a full system here in the UK but it is very prescriptive and creates very large diocuments sets that don’t work with non standard projects.


    • Eric
      6 years ago

      Timothy –

      I will cover Autotext and the Project Info fields in one of the course modules in the second half – when I focus on documentation.

      I have played around with XML editors but not reached a point that I can recommend one – they all seemed a bit awkward to work with – however it’s been quite a while since I looked.

      The easiest way I’ve seen to manage the Project Info mini-database seems to be developing and filling in fields directly within an ArchiCAD project, then exporting the data to an XML file, then importing it into another project file and reworking as appropriate for the new context.

      If you’re using alphanumeric codes to create short specification notes, I suggest you reconsider the Cadimage Key Note add-on. It actually is totally customizable, so you can bring in your own information – there’s nothing about it that restricts it to use with NZ materials. We do sell Cadimage add-ons, so if you’d like to get a license or an upgrade, you may contact me if you wish. I can also help you set up the Key Note system on a consulting basis.

      Eric


  4. R.Bruce Germond
    6 years ago

    Well Eric, what appeared, from the titles, to be a deadly dry subject has turned out to be the best group of tips yet. This would never be gleanable from ArchiCad’s manuals. Going through the drawing manager with your guidance and asides makes for another forehead slapper. You may have to generate a logo cap to cover the red spots…


  5. Earl Applegate
    6 years ago

    Eric,
    Do you have any experience with Cigraph products?
    Would you recommend Archifacade, or any other of
    their products?

    Thanks,

    Earl


    • Eric
      6 years ago

      Over the years, I have tried various Cigraph products and found them pretty useful. They are based in Italy and sometimes it is hard to get tech support. They offer a lot of variety, so it’s really up to you if a particular tool seems like it would help you a great deal. I like ArchiTerra since it makes certain types of terrain modeling much easier. I wish I could be more helpful or more definitive, but my experience with their products is somewhat limited.


      • Earl Applegate
        6 years ago

        Thanks,
        Earl


  6. Earl Applegate
    6 years ago

    Eric,
    More a question than a comment. Setting up a new project; involves construction of1 New Building,
    renovation of 6 buildings, and demolition of 3 buildings. All are on the same campus. I think that it will be best to set up a separate ArchiCad file for each building. Do you have any suggestions regarding file organization, numbering, etc. The buildings will be organized into 1 Construction Document Set, and will share a number of common details, schedule items, etc.

    Thanks,

    Earl


    • Eric
      6 years ago

      Hi Earl –

      Thanks for your question – and for uploading your photo so we can see your face!

      One week of the Best Practices Course will be a module on managing large projects, including a section on multiple buildings. So I’ll be answering your questions in depth, but it won’t be till later in the course.

      So a short answer must suffice here:
      A multi-building project can be handled nicely by breaking up each building or cluster into separate PLNs. You can then place Views from each PLN into a single PLN that compiles the Layout Book for the entire project. You can also place Hotlinked Modules (HLMs) for each PLN into the project PLN to be able to create renderings and overall elevations.

      Some things to consider: if two or more buildings have very closely integrated structure and/or mechanical services, you may want to keep them in a single PLN. This is especially true if these buildings will be shown together in a single drawing; another reason to keep them together is if it will be much easier to model them at the same time because of their close relationship.

      When PLN files are separated in this type of project, only some links will be “live”. The Drawings on the Layout Sheets can be updated automatically when the sheet is viewed, but are often best set to update manually so you have control over the process. The main “broken” link category has to do with marker numbering – your section and detail markers will not be able to pull the current drawing number and sheet number from the remote PLN file where these drawings are placed. You will have to set these numbers and references in the markers manually, which is unfortunate, but will work OK if you are careful.

      Schedules can be a challenge. You can create a schedule (of any type) for each building, and view them in the overall project set on the same sheet, but it can be more difficult to compile one overall schedule that includes all doors (for example). If you bring in the PLNs to the overall project file as Hotlinked Modules, then you can compile an overall schedule, but will not be able to edit the fields for each door or other item in that file – you’ll have to go back to the source PLN to make the edits.

      I hope this is helpful as you start into this project. I’ll be happy to do a consulting session with you if you’d like me to help you or to review what you’ve done to date.

      Eric


      • Earl Applegate
        6 years ago

        Eric,
        Thank you for your answers. It will help to get me started,
        and is very helpful. I anticipate that a consulting session
        will be very useful; planning to schedule at a latter date.

        Thanks again. I think the course is going great.
        Earl


  7. joyce Matlack
    6 years ago

    This video is not downloading for me right now.


    • Eric
      6 years ago

      When you click on the Download Video link your browser might simply try to open it up in a new window.

      Try right-clicking on the Download Video link and selecting Save Link As.. or a similar option. This should work.

      Let me know if this resolves the problem.


  8. James Satzinger
    6 years ago

    Eric,
    I have not made suggestions for the webinars so far, but now have some for the future.
    1. Since AC 13, the pet palettes have been harder to use. The node selection which I use often to change the shape of fills, slabs, roofs, etc. doesn’t want to hold but keeps defaulting to the move selection. Very frustrating. Some ideas?
    2. When working on rendering in AC, establishing a workable lighting default would be very helpful. I spend a lot of time tweaking the lighting (sun) each time I begin rendering in a new project.
    3. The door and window parts still accept materials in strange ways: i.e., the exterior and interior are inconsistent, spacing mullions that don’t accept two materials are required in multiple part windows. We talked about this one before. Maybe there is a work around you have discovered lately.
    Jim S.


    • Eric
      6 years ago

      Jim –

      Thanks for your suggestions.

      1. I have noticed that sometimes the pet palette default selection does not remember or reuse the last option, so it requires choosing the option again, which is annoying. I’ve also seen sometimes that the effective option (as evidenced by the ghost image or other behavior of the part being edited) is not matching the one that appears to be selected in the editing palette. The best (and only) way to deal with this that I’ve found is to select a different option in the editing palette, then reselect the desired one – then the editing operation can proceed as desired. I don’t have any other suggestions or workarounds at this point.

      2. I will be covering lighting for renderings in one of the course modules. I briefly touched on the topic of saving rendering settings in 3D Views in the View Map during our recent special coaching call (the one that was a bonus for people who contributed comments to the site). If you didn’t catch the live call, you can watch the recording – you should have gotten a link to this bonus page in an email (since you were on the list of people who posted on the site).

      3. I haven’t looked at this problem for a while. Perhaps you could send me a small PLN file with specific comments about the door and window parts that I could look at. This would be a good question for our next coaching call on Wednesday February 2.

      Eric


  9. Earl Applegate
    6 years ago

    Eric,
    I do believe the course is working very well; have re-read a couple of your AECbytes articles,
    they are (now) understandable, and I can see how they fit into the process. Previous to the Best Practices Course I did not gain as much from reading them. Also, I have re-read the ArchiCad Master Template Manual and, once again, the information has more meaning, and am beginning to understand the process.

    I am sure you will cover this, but I would like to better understand the differences between Model View Options and Layer Combinations. The ArchiCad Master Template Manual notes that the Model View Options are the most often misused, as also stated, it has been a great source of (my) confusion. I am certain that a clear understanding of the use of layers, layer combinations, and model view options is essential to the “best practices” process.

    Also, in my confusion regarding the layer combinations and model view options I have made a number of changes to each. Is there a way to reset the Template to the settings that were originally designed by you.

    Thanks for your help.

    Earl


    • Eric
      6 years ago

      Earl –

      Thanks for your note. I will devote one week of the course to looking at the View Map and how and why you use Model View Options and Layer Combinations and how they relate to each other.

      The only way to restore Layer Combinations or Model View Options to a previous state (as you are asking with regards to MasterTemplate) is to manually recreate the settings. There is no shortcut, nor any way to import or transfer them from one file to another other than “inheritance” – they are carried into a new file from the source (either a template or from the most recent settings).

      To facilitate recreating the settings, you can open up two instances of ArchiCAD, one will have open your current project or customized template, and the other will have the reference file (in this case, an unmodified version of MasterTemplate). You can open similar dialog boxes in each one (for example, the Layer Settings) and then flip back and forth to check and reset or recreate the settings. It may be tedious, but this is the only way to do it that I know of.

      As an alternative, you may find it easier to start your template customization over from scratch. In this case, you would take a clean copy of MasterTemplate and start to customize it, and have your previously customized (and “messed up”) version of the template open in a separate instance of ArchiCAD. Then you can flip back and forth and bring in your desired (“good”) customizations such as your title block info for the master layouts, etc. into the new version of the template you are creating “afresh”.

      I hope this helps you figure out a strategy to clean things up and move forward now that you are understanding things better.
      Eric


      • Earl Applegate
        6 years ago

        Thank You.

        Earl