The 7 Keys to Best Practices for ArchiCAD


What are the Best Practices for working with ArchiCAD?

In the fall of 2010, I decided to dedicate myself to helping ArchiCAD users around the world to use the program better. After more than 20 years as a reseller working with local clients in California, I took the plunge and became a full-time author, trainer and consultant.

It has been an amazing ride. I’ve learned so much about course development, video production, website design, online membership systems, internet marketing, and community-building.

To celebrate this milestone in my journey, and to thank the 900+ people from 68 countries around the world who have signed up for the Best Practices Course or the QuickStart Course to date, on this website I’m going to share with you some of my very favorite (and most powerful) tutorials, tips and tricks.

Now, to begin, I must ask you a question:

  • Are you wasting time using ArchiCAD?

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I love ArchiCAD. I’ve been using it for over 20 years. But so often I see our clients doing things the long way around, fighting ArchiCAD because they don’t understand how to best take advantage of its structure and its philosophy.

Have you ever said to yourself (or a colleague):

  • There must be a better way to do this!
  • God, I hate doing this over and over again.
  • How are you supposed to do this?!

You’re not alone. ArchiCAD is a complex tool, and many users have felt the same way. However, this program will become your friend and trusted assistant when you understand and follow the Best Practices for using ArchiCAD.

I believe there are seven key principles that will help you to use ArchiCAD to its best effect. These best practices are common ideas, like getting organized, and doing things once instead of over and over again. But when they’re applied in the right manner with an understanding of ArchiCAD’s core principles, they’ll help you be much more effective and efficient.

The 7 Keys to Best Practices
  1. Get Organized
  2. Do It Once
  3. Save Your Settings
  4. Work from the General to the Specific
  5. Use ArchiCAD’s Structure
  6. Model Well, Draw Less
  7. Keep It Safe

The presentation is broken up into three segments to make it easier to view.

Here are links to two of my previously published articles that I refer to during the presentation. These articles will help you gain additional insights into these topics.


After a short introduction, I give an overview of the seven key principles for Best Practices in this 8 minute video.


The first five keys are examined in more depth in this segment.

  1. Get Organized
  2. Do It Once
  3. Save Your Settings
  4. Work from the General to the Specific
  5. Use ArchiCAD’s Structure

PART 3 – KEYS 6 & 7

The final two keys are covered in this video.

  • Model Well, Draw Less
  • Keep It Safe

Thanks for watching this video training series. I hope you have learned a few useful concepts and techniques you can take with you.

If you have a few minutes, check out my extended article on this same subject:

I look forward to reading your comments, questions and feedback!


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  1. essaf

    Hi sir, first I want to thank you, and I’ ve made an overview of the whole work and it’s magical…’s the reel path for all users

  2. Sneha

    hello Eric
    I really loved your website.Could you please help me the the MORPH tool in ArchiCad 16? I have to make some round complex shapes for my current assignments. will you be able to guide me there. it would be very helpful.


    • Sneha –
      Thank you for your positive feedback about the website.
      I plan to do some tutorials on the Morph tool for my ArchiCAD Tutorials YouTube channel this spring. I already have some ideas, but would be interested in understanding what sort of “round complex shapes” you are contemplating for your assignments. Sometimes when I see what is intended I change my tutorials to try to cover that application of the tools. If you post a link to a sketch or a series of images, this will help me to know what you’re thinking about.

  3. Hi Eric ,I watch your best practice lesson in you tube and i liked it because it is very useful but i have not credit card to buy it please help me.



    • Adel –
      Thank you for your kind words about my Best Practices tutorials on YouTube. If you would like to enroll in the Best Practices Course but do not have a credit card, we can arrange for payment via Western Union money order. Please email me at with “ArchiCAD Best Practices Course” in the subject line and I will send you the information you need for sending the money order. I look forward to working with you to help you get the most out of ArchiCAD!

  4. abdou

    Thanks alot Bob. Ireally appriciate what are you doing for us, i am really interested to the shortcuts that you have made and i liked
    the way you are teaching us….thanks alot

  5. Rachid Ouachem


    Could you tell me when will come the training videos in French?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Eric Bobrow

      Rachid –

      Thank you for your post. We are currently translating the course videos into Spanish. We recently launched El Curso de las Buenas Prácticas – – and will consider creating a French version next.

      I would like to know if there are any existing online training courses on ArchiCAD in French – if so, please reply and let me know their website addresses. This will help us understand how much of a market there currently is for ArchiCAD training in France and French-speaking countries, and how likely this effort might be worth the considerable effort involved in creation and marketing.

      Another question: instead of creating new video lessons, we might doing something simpler: adding subtitles or closed captioning in French. You would see French words onscreen as you watch the videos, but the voice-over would remain in English, and the demonstrations would be in the original English menus and dialog boxes. Would this be useful and sufficient, or would it be too confusing (dialog boxes in English might be hard to understand)?


      • Ezio Bongiorno

        Salve. Scusate se mi intrometto nella discussione.
        Io dei sottotitoli in italiano mi accontenterei… e acquisterei il corso…
        Fatemi sapere se ci sono novità in merito!
        Grazie e buon lavoro!

  6. eugenio gonzalez

    Very interesting and instructive.

  7. Hi
    If the problem is the text into Google Translate sorry because I might not have a problem,
    You got some good training I have ever seen in a different site, but I’m so glad that you have on your site.
    I’ve been in isolation to work with Archicad, like all new software with AutoCAD and Revit, and Archicad fans very little work.
      But I’ve been calling and I’m going to learn the characteristics of Archicad and I introduce it to others.
    With luck you

  8. liban

    Thanks alot Bob. Ireally appriciate what are you doing for us, i am really interested to the shortcuts that you have made and i liked
    the way you are teaching us.

  9. dermer bennett

    Very interesting reading – is it possible to simply buy the QUICK START COURSE disc which would probably lead me to buy the full course. I would rather have the course on disc as I am not always in range of an internet service here in country Australia.

    Kind regards from ‘DOWN UNDER’ ………………………dermer bennett

    • Eric Bobrow

      Dermer –

      Thanks for your note. You may register for the QuickStart Course for $197, then purchase the QuickStart Course DVD for an additional $19 including shipping. The DVD is not sold separately – otherwise people would just want to buy the disk, of course…

      The $197 you pay for the QuickStart Course may be credited at any time towards the $697 registration fee for the full Best Practices Course.

      Please let me know if you have additional questions.

      Best regards,

  10. Hello Eric;
    Before I retired from my construction company, I purchased ArchiCAD after studying other popular programs. Seems like it had the shortest learning curve. Now I would like to start a company again offering Design/Build Tenant Improvements so that I can actively promote my services here in Phoenix. My question to you today is which ArchiCAD program would give me the basics to produce a floor plan, cross sections and a few simple elevations and is easy to learn. I see myself learning the CAD and presenting the proposals to the prospective client, so I do not want to spend a bunch of money for the program, or spend a lot of time learning. I have the basics, having used DataCAD back in the 1980’s, and other very simple CAD programs since that time. I also believe your “Seven Keys” would be an asset for my venture as well.

    What do you think of ArchiCAD 15 for me to start?

    Thank you for your help;

    Conrad Scott
    Phoenix, AZ

    • Eric Bobrow

      Conrad –

      I am glad to hear that you are considering getting set up again with ArchiCAD as you start a new company again. ArchiCAD 15 would be a great place to start, although actually you’ll get ArchiCAD 16 if you purchase now as it is just in the process of being released. It will work beautifully for what you need.

      With regards to the Seven Keys – these are the core principles for using ArchiCAD effectively. To understand them in detail and know how to apply them, sign up for the Best Practices Course. You’ll get all the training you will ever need, with a basics course (QuickStart), an intermediate / advanced set of lessons (Best Practices) and my ArchiCAD Coaching Program (you get 6 months of membership included when you register for Best Practices).

      Please let me know if you have additional questions.

      Best regards,

  11. Joseph Perry

    I have considerable experience with 3D CAD, which turns out to be a problem in learning ArchiCad. I ran through the “7 Keys to Best Practices for ArchiCad” between 1 and 3 this morning and read all I could find about the “Best Practices Course” Suffering from the same cashflow problems which plague the industry the past few years. I started my residential design business just in time to see just about 3 months of the good times. Two projects were cancelled as the hopes of the clients to build the homes they wanted fade. I did give them each a CD which contained all the information I had done for them and told them not to expect a bill from me. I’m old and tend to be more generous then younger people, having been down this road several times.

    Your presentation seems to be more in line with my approach to CAD design. I have ProE and SolidWorks on my computer from mechanical design days and wish I had a copy of the old Intergraph EMS which pre-dates the two I have. I still consider EMS the best CAD software I have ever used with AutoCad being on step above an etch-a-sketch. I presently use Chief Architect for residential but find the limits imposed on designs as being unacceptable. I have ArchiCad Starter 2011 which I have not been able to use. Training for ArchiCad has not provided the level of training I require.
    I have the feeling that I require a different approach. Your programs seem to be more in line with my way of designing.

    If I can find a way to run ArchiCad 2011 starter on a 64 bit computer I’ll be buying your course. I have sent an Email to Graphisoft in Newton, MA asking for assistance.

    The next time you hear from me I hope will be when I place an order.

    • Eric Bobrow

      Joseph –
      Thank you for your fascinating note with all the interesting details of your journey. I look forward to working with you as you focus on mastering ArchiCAD. With your long-time background in 3D CAD, you’ll pick it up quickly – but the Best Practices Course will make sure that you understand the key principles that make ArchiCAD really perform at its best.
      Best regards,

  12. Zahid H. Subzwari

    I admire your very helpful work.

    • Eric Bobrow

      Zahid –
      Thank you for your kind words.
      I’m always glad to be of help.

  13. Greg

    Fantastic stuff and essential.
    Eric points out many bad practices which I have seen in Offices.
    In fact I think every architectural office should view these videos
    to avoid the confusion created in Models and CAD-structures.
    Thanks Eric.


    • Eric Bobrow

      Greg –
      Thank you for your enthusiastic comments.

  14. nayeem

    i want to do fully times archicad course pls help me i want to become your student pls reply as sonnm polisible . i am now working in uae . i am only 22 age.i am working as architectural draughtsman i want to increas more knowlege ….i hope i got positive reply from you thanks eric

    • Eric Bobrow

      Nayeem –

      I am delighted to know that you want to master ArchiCAD and are interested in studying with me. I suggest that you sign up for the Best Practices Course, which will give you a comprehensive understanding of ArchiCAD. In addition to the pre-recorded video lessons, you will be able to send in your questions and participate in my ArchiCAD Coaching Program, which is held three times each month as a live webinar (each session is recorded and posted for permanent reference as well).

      You can get full information and sign up for the course at

      There is a installment plan option that allows you to break up your investment over 7 months, but if your financial position is extremely limited, please feel free to contact me by email and we can work out a special payment plan.


  15. john


    • Eric Bobrow

      John –
      I’m delighted to know that you would like to get going with ArchiCAD.
      To buy a copy of ArchiCAD 15, please contact a Graphisoft distributor or reseller. You will find information on where to buy the product on the Graphisoft website at under the PURCHASE menu. You may download a free trial version at

  16. Nnanna

    Good advice to Archicad users…..

  17. Rauf

    Hello ! you are speaking allot but not show anithing so this is not useful for me

  18. Hello from Philippines, Erick.
    I’m a 3yr civil engineering student and have not been introduced to archiCAD so far—but have been learning autoCAD for 6 months. When I watched your videos on it I loved them. I’m trying to download and have it installed for practice. But I guess I will find it very hard to start a new design with my own concept. So, I will be very grateful if you can send me the complete design that you used for the tutorial via the provided email above. With it I am sure I would be able to figure out how it was designed and then try to do a new design.

    Thank you for your kind help.


    • Eric Bobrow

      Rick –

      The building design shown in my videos is a sample file created for use with MasterTemplate. It is included with the purchase of MasterTemplate:

      Unfortunately, I cannot give this file out for free, as it contains all of the MasterTemplate setup within the file structure.

      I encourage you to find a local ArchiCAD user in your area and see if you can help them in their office. That would be one way of learning the software. You can also go through some of the Graphisoft Interactive Training Guides, available for free from Another way would be to sign up for my QuickStart Course (

      Best regards,

  19. Dear Sir,
    I am Surendra das from India, . I want to learn and use this ARCHICAD programme for my profession, Avaliable in india anywere your course ralated institution?. + Avaliable any of your learning books saoftwere?. pls be give me replay better through to my email id.

    • Eric Bobrow

      Surendra –

      Thank you for your note. I am very pleased to know that you are interested in mastering ArchiCAD.

      You asked about my training, and whether it was available in a book form. No, I have focused my efforts on creating the best video training lessons possible, which I believe are much more effective than a printed lesson. This also allows me to help students in dozens of countries around the world through the internet.

      I encourage you to sign up for my training courses. If you do not have a credit card, please contact me and we can make arrangements for payment through Western Union.

      Best regards,

  20. Eduard

    Dear Eric Bobrow

    Sorry I can not afford right now ArchiCAD courses due the economic situation of my country.

    So I hop this is resolved so we can contact you in the future.


    Edward Otto

  21. I am very happy for your welcoming me to your training center
    i hope every things will be well.

  22. ephraim

    Everything sounds OK, but not useful for me as I am trying to find a tutorial how to start using AC, freshly installed. Maybe I am just at the wrong place here.
    If you know where I can find needed tutorials, your advise will be greatly appreciated.
    E. L.

    • Eric Bobrow

      Ephraim –

      Thank you for your post.

      You are right – my 7 Keys to Best Practices videos and articles are designed to help people who already are working in ArchiCAD, and may not be very useful for beginners.

      I have created the perfect course for new users of ArchiCAD – the QuickStart Course. It begins with an orientation to ArchiCAD’s working environment, and takes you systematically through the use of the major tools for creating a 3D model as well as 2D construction documents.

      The QuickStart Course is a series of 29 easy to follow video lessons of 15 to 45 minutes in length, a total of 13 hours of material. By the end of the course you will feel comfortable with ArchiCAD and be ready to work on real projects.

      For more information or to sign up for the QuickStart Course, please visit:

      Reviews and comments about QuickStart have been outstanding:

      Please let me know if you have any questions.

      Best regards,
      Eric Bobrow

  23. Great stuff, makes it very easy to get my head around ArhiCAD. Need to be able to access the dwgs you use in the tutorials, can you advise how please?

    • Eric Bobrow

      Randall –

      I’m glad that you enjoyed the tutorials and that it’s helping you reallly understand ArchiCAD better.

      Many of the screen-capture images of project files are taken from the sample project that comes with MasterTemplate (the office standard for ArchiCAD that we created and sell to ArchiCAD users worldwide). This includes the dramatic images of the profiled wall that show how a section can be cut through the model that already includes framing and other details. For more information about MasterTemplate, please visit


  24. wayne

    just what i needed .

    • Eric Bobrow

      Wayne –
      Thanks for taking a moment to post your comment – glad you liked the videos!

  25. Roland

    very glad to watch your videos here . But could u tell me the link where to find the beginners lessons video ?
    thank you for your work !!

    • Eric Bobrow

      Roland –
      I have created a training that covers the basics of ArchiCAD – it’s called the QuickStart Course. You’ll find all the information about this on this page: Check it out when you get a chance – you’ll find it easy to follow, and by the end of the 13 hours of material you’ll be pretty comfortable with building a model and documenting it in ArchiCAD!

  26. Dik Dik Hendrawan

    I like Design but I not to Smart for Drawing, It’s make more easy to learn, Thank’s a lot Mr. Bobrow, did I can Download Free ArchiCAD ?

  27. it is not enough for training purpose pleas send it if there is procedures to use
    thank you!

    • Eric Bobrow

      This series of videos is intended as an overview of the most important concepts that will help you use ArchiCAD more effectively. I believe that it is important to have a general understanding as well as the procedures to use.

      Many of my free video tutorials and articles at explain how to work with specific commands and processes.

      The Best Practices Course ( is a comprehensive training that includes detailed lessons on how to apply ALL of these key principles.

  28. Carlson

    Hi Eric.
    I’m like to use Archicad and use it for work now.
    Sometimes I am doubts why we need to do the same thing again and again.
    And thank you for sharing your experience! It’s work for me,

    • Eric Bobrow

      Carlson –
      Thanks for posting your comment. It’s good to figure out how to avoid doing the same thing over and over again when there is a way to automate or simplify the task. My training materials for the Best Practices Course go into detail on many of the ways you can save time in ArchiCAD.

  29. manoj sharma

    HI ERIC ,
    THANKS me sport new idea

    • Eric Bobrow

      Manoj – Thanks for your positive feedback – glad you learned some new ideas!

  30. Eric Bobrow

    Thank you for visiting this page. I hope you enjoy watching the video lessons.
    You may post a comment here (using WordPress) or below (using Facebook or another social media account).

    IMPORTANT: If you are not logged in to Facebook, you may see only a few comments; if you are logged in, you will see dozens (86 to date). These may be shown in a sequence that makes it hard to follow (by default, sorted in Facebook’s “Social Ranking” mode). To see the most recent comments first, click the tiny triangle next to the words “86 comments” (or whatever number it is), and select “Sort by Reverse Chronological”.

    I look forward to reading your comments and responding to your questions!

    • Roland

      very glad to watch your videos here . But could you send me the link where i can get the beginners lessons videos?
      thank you for your work !!