ArchiCAD Basic Training – Module 5
5-4. The Fill Tool and the Label Tool

ArchiCAD Training –  (Quick Start Course – 5-4)

This 20 minute lesson focuses on two additional annotation elements: the Fill tool (which is used for hatch patterns as well as filling in areas with a poché shading or a texture) and the Label tool (which is a combination of text with a leader line).

The Fill tool is demonstrated first. A quick introduction explains the various types of Fills: Solid (which may be totally opaque, transparent, or a percentage shading in between), Gradient (used for presentation effects), Vectorial (for common line or hatch patterns), Symbol (used for more complex patterns including paving stones, and can be added to easily by users), and Texture (added in recent versions of ArchiCAD, allowing more realistic depiction of materials such as grass or brick, etc.).

A Fill pattern representing plank flooring is chosen then the fill is drawn in the bedroom area. It naturally slips underneath the bed (in the graphic stacking order) rather than covering it up. The View is changed to a ceiling plan and a grid-type vectorial fill is picked to represent acoustic ceiling tiles. The layer is changed for the fill tool to coordinate with the ceiling plan, then the fill is drawn in the living room.

The fill is selected, and various manipulations are demonstrated, including changing the foreground pen color and the background color and bringing the fill to the top of the display order to cover other elements. The background pen is changed to Window Background (the bottom right option in the pen table – it looks like a tiny computer monitor) to create a non-printing cover-up. It is then changed to the Transparent pen (right next to the Window Background pen, a zero with a line through it, also known as the Null character) to have the fill be on top but still show the other information underneath it.

Other typical polygon manipulations (similar to slabs and roofs) are demonstrated, including offsetting the edge, moving a corner node point, adding a node point, and adding an area with the Boolean addition option; then all of this is undone to restore the fill to the boundaries of the room.

The grid pattern does not coordinate with the room since the fill is set to use the Global Origin. This is changed to allow a Fill Origin to be moved around to set the starting point for the tiles as well as the direction.

Next, the Label tool is demonstrated, with a simple label drawn to the right side, then another to the left side. The text is changed to right-aligned make the left-hand label look neater. Another variation is shown with the text being bounded to wrap within a specific width; this width is then adjusted using the pet palette “stretch” option and the text reflows.

Finally, the original label is manipulated to show how

  • you can move the individual points for the leader line segments
  • the leader line may be switched to a curved shape rather than an angular polyline
  • the leader line may be set to point to the top or bottom rather than the center of the text

In the final example, since the leader line at top or bottom goes to the edge of the bounding box rather than pointing to the text line itself, a tip is shared: to get the leader to point at the bottom line of text, set it to point to the middle but add one or more blank lines of text below the last real line.

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ArchiCAD Training: The Fill Tool and the Label Tool

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  1. CharlesLee
    8 years ago

    Hi Eric– I just upgraded from AC19 Start to AC19 Solo. The label command in the Start version behaved in the manner you’ve described, but post-Solo upgrade there is no control over placement of the leader line nodes: it defaults to a fixed 45 degree with fixed leader lengths, with limited capabilities for editing these after the command is complete.

    I’m having a hard time annotating elevations and details as a consequence; I’m also not able to find any information on how to modify the behavior so I can have more control over leader placement. Please can you help? Also, any suggestions on how to create a leader label with a circular frame, for use in adding numbered note callouts on documents?


    • Eric Bobrow
      8 years ago

      Hi Charles –

      The label tool in ArchiCAD 19 is somewhat complex. There is a setting that locks the angles for the leader lines that is probably what is causing your difficulties. You’ll find it in the Info Box when you have the Label tool active near the top or left side; it shows a small image of a label with a small black triangle indicating a popup menu choice; one version has a single crosshair at the base of the label, the other shows two crosshairs, one at the base and one at the elbow where the angled line meets the horizontal one. With the single crosshair set, then a single click will place a label; with the other option, you’ll be able to click multiple points to determine the location and placement of the label (which is what you’re used to).

      Editing labels can be confusing as well, since it depends which point point you click on as well as which item from the pet palette you choose. You can click on the pointer, the anchor for the text, or the elbow; each one will give you different editing controls. In addition, you can click on either of the editing or pet palette options in the upper row, and one will allow you to move the point, the other will move a larger sub-element as a whole. Play around with these different click points and both pet palette options until you’re comfortable getting the label to do what you need. It takes some getting used to, however it really is flexible and efficient once you figure it out.

      A circular frame is available if you choose Identification Label 19, and check the Frame checkbox. In the Symbol Label panel choose Label Frame > Frame Shape > Circle. Experiment with Fit Frame to Text On or Off, and see the effect of Frame Width and Frame Height. Align the text in the upper area: set the Text Style > Alignment > Center option.

      Let me know if you have additional questions via email to

  2. JohnVerdon
    9 years ago

    Thanks Eric,

    I just watched the Fill & Label tutorial. Very helpful information. My question may cover couple of different areas. I would like to use a partition label, and ultimately develop a partition schedule with a graphic representation of the wall type. Is this possible?
    Thanks in advance.

    John Verdon

    • Eric Bobrow
      9 years ago

      Hi John –
      You can create a schedule of wall types which lists the different types of walls, however it will not be graphic – there’s no way I know of to automatically show a graphic representation of the wall types. You can place this schedule onto a layout sheet, and then place an view of these walls next to this schedule so it appears as a graphic schedule. You could use Virtual Trace to coordinate drawing the walls (somewhere on plan) with the view of the schedule, however there is no way to automatically generate this type of schedule.

      To create the partition labels, you can use the Label tool with it set to automatically pull information from the attached element. There are a variety of label objects to choose from; in recent versions of ArchiCAD there is a Generic Label that has a lot of options, and could be used to show the partition type.

      This isn’t a trivial question, however I hope this has been helpful.


  3. Avatar photo
    10 years ago

    Hi Eric,

    Just watched the tutorial on fills and labels and wondered if there is a specific object or label that can be used for room labels, aside from the zone tool? A simple label that pairs the name and number in a rectangular box as an object is what I am after. Would you use the label tool and simply opt not to use an arrow (assuming you could)?

    • Eric Bobrow
      9 years ago

      Robert –
      You can use label tool with the option set to hide the arrow below a certain scale which you can set manually (this is normally intended to hide the arrow for site plans or other drawings which have a reduced scale) with a frame (which draws the rectangular box). However if this is really not intended for “labeling” but is simply an annotation, then you might as well use the text tool, which has an option for a frame as well.