ArchiCAD Basic Training – Module 5
5-5. The Layout Book; Placing Views as Drawings onto Layout Sheets

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

This 37 minute lesson introduces the Layout Book and shows how Views may be placed as Drawings onto Layout Sheets.

The Layout Book is accessed from the Navigator using the button at the top just to the right of the View Map button. You will see the project name shown at the top of the window, with Subsets (folders with numbering rules) and Layouts below. Often, Layouts are organized within Subsets to manage automatically numbered sequences.

On each Layout, one or more Drawings may be placed. Each Layout is set to use a specific Master Layout, which provides a particular sheet size along with a background which usually includes a Title Block.

In the lesson, various Layouts are examined, and then the Master Layout is studied and modified. First, a logo graphic is imported using the File menu > External Content > Place External Drawing command, which can bring in a wide variety of graphic formats. (NOTE: Users of the Start Edition may need to place graphics using the Figure tool instead, which allows basic graphics such as JPG or TIF but does not handle PDF files.)

The logo is selected and resized using the pet palette “stretch” command, then moved into position. It has a Title showing underneath, which isn’t appropriate, so the options for Titles are explored using the popup within the Info Box; eventually “No Title” is chosen. The logo appears with an outline due to the View menu > Onscreen View Options > Show Drawing Frames setting; this is turned off so that the layout appears more like it will print.

A simple text block is added for the design firm contact information using left alignment and upper left anchoring, then is moved into proper position. Next, the area of the title block with client information is examined. Since it is indicating that the name is set from a Project Info data field (the “#” symbol shows that it’s a field rather than a common editable text block), we open up the File menu > Info > Project Info dialog.

In the Project Info, various fields are filled out, then when confirmed, the text on the sheet updates accordingly. A new text block is added using the Autotext option to select and insert the Company data field. Lower down in the title block, a text block is placed with some static text (“PRINT DATE: “) combined with a data field autotext from the System category to show the current date. The text block is resized to fit within the graphic area, and wraps nicely into two lines.

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: The Layout Book; Placing Views as Drawings onto Layout Sheets

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  1. MauriceNathan
    10 years ago

    Hi Eric

    I have the Start Edition 2009(international) and I wish to transfer my logo to the master sheet, but as stated in your video I cannot carry out this command, and will have to go into the figure tool. Can you explain how can I carry out this command through the figure tool.

    I look forward to hearing form you.

    • Eric Bobrow
      9 years ago

      Hi Maurice –

      The Figure Tool is accessed from the More section of the Toolbox. Select the Figure tool then click on the layout sheet, and the Figure Settings dialog will open up. Inside that dialog is a button to browse or open a graphic file, such as your logo. Click it, and find and select your logo file. After you select it, click OK and your figure graphic will appear where you clicked. You may resize it by selecting it and grabbing a corner with your arrow, then select the stretch option in the editing palette. You may also rotate it if needed.

      Another option is to simply drag the logo from a folder window (in the Finder or Windows) and drop it into the ArchiCAD project on the layout sheet. It will do the same thing in terms of placing the logo graphic as a figure.

      A third option is to Copy the logo graphic from inside a graphics program (such as Preview or Paint or Photoshop) then return to the project and Paste.

      Unlike the External Drawing method, these are all unlinked copies, so they will not update if the external file is changed. Other than that, they function much the same.


  2. GiancarloManzanares
    10 years ago

    Hi Eric, is there a way to insert a default title block like the one you worked with in the video?
    Because I have just created a new master layout, and it has no title block, and I want to use a predetermined one if its possible.

    • Eric Bobrow
      10 years ago

      Hi Giancarlo –

      When you create a new master layout, it starts out blank, and you can add a title block to it either by drawing in the graphics (lines, text, and autotext elements) or by pasting them in from another master layout. The Graphisoft standard template (installed with ArchiCAD) includes several master layouts in different sheet sizes, each with a title block.

      If your file is derived from the standard template, you can go to one of the other masters and copy the graphics, then return to your new master and paste them in and adjust to fit the sheet size. If your project doesn’t have any of these masters, then as an alternative you can create a new file using a standard template (use the File menu > New command, choose the standard template) and click the box to open a new instance of ArchiCAD so you can have both files open at the same time. Then go to one of these standard masters, and copy the graphics, then go to your active file and paste into your blank master.

      As an alternative, if you have a master with a title block and want to create a variation, you can drag the master to a new position in the masters list WHILE holding down the Option key (Mac) or CTRL key (PC) and you’ll see a plus + sign indicating you’re about to create a copy. Let go of the mouse drag (still holding down the keyboard key) and a new master will be created that is a copy of the original one you dragged. You can then edit this, including changing the sheet size and the name.


  3. StewartHart
    11 years ago

    How do I save a Master Layout for future use in other projects?

    • Eric Bobrow
      11 years ago

      Stewart –

      You may access the Layout Book (including Master Layouts) from another project by using the Project Organizer. You can select Project Organizer from the popup menu that appears when you press on the upper left button in the Navigator, which is called the Project Chooser. Once you have activated the Organizer (a double-wide version of the Navigator), use the Project Chooser button and choose Browse Project… which will open up a dialog box allowing you to select a PLN file.

      You will then see the View Map or Layout Book of the selected PLN file in the left hand side of the Organizer, and may drag the Master Layout from the left side into your Layout Book Master folder (of your current, active project) on the right side.


  4. ChesnelHenry
    12 years ago

    I don’t know what happened. So far in the course I have been able to watch all the videos without any obstacles except this one video. Any reason why?

    • Eric Bobrow
      12 years ago

      Chesnel – I checked, and the video plays for me OK. Please try it again and see if it was a temporary problem. By the way, are you watching from a desktop (Mac or PC) or an iPad?

  5. MaureenBoh
    12 years ago

    Dear Eric

    Your detailed notes are so helpful in knowing what is covered in the video and in later reviewing/remembering what has been covered. I’ve printed many of them as my course notes. Thanks again.


  6. LukaszMol
    12 years ago


    Can AC somehow instantly select a group of items of the same type to change their parameters in a single operation (a group of doors, windows)? Sorry if I ask about something that was answered already…


    • Eric Bobrow
      12 years ago

      Luke –

      You can select a group of items of the same type easily using two methods:

      1) Activate a tool (such as the Window tool) in the Toolbox, then use the Edit menu > Select All command – it will select all Windows (in this case) visible in the current view (the floor plan, or in 3D or section etc.). You can also draw a marquee, and it will select all Windows within the marqueed area.

      2) Use the Edit menu > Find and Select, and add criteria to be selective about these items. For example, you can specify Windows and add a criteria for width or height or both; then click the + sign and you’ll select all matching Windows with that width and/or height.


  7. michael Leahy
    12 years ago

    Hi Eric,
    I can’t download the videos.
    Can you explain how to put a new sequential field into a master, e.g. for sequential numbering of a drawing?
    How can I get a new information field with the pound sign to show up in a master or layout?
    Is there any way I can get a register of revisions to a series of layouts so that i can have a record of when and what revision of a layout was issued?

    • Eric Bobrow
      12 years ago

      Michael –

      To download the videos, you need to right-click the Download button and choose “Save Target File As…” or “Save Link As…” or a similar command (it varies by browser). This will allow you to save the file, instead of opening it up in a separate browser window.

      If you have a slow internet connection, and downloading is painfully slow or impossible, you may order the course materials on a DVD on this page:

      To create a new information field, open the File menu > Info > Project Info command and use the “New” button. The name of the field is set in the left-hand side; this will be used along with the pound sign when you select this field in the Autotext popup menu.

      A register or list of revisions is something you’ll have to manually keep track of and add to the layout as plain text or potentially (in the case of major revisions for the whole set) using autotext info fields you manually set but refer to automatically on the Master layouts.

      An alternative is the excellent add-on by Cadimage called Revisions (, which keeps track of these things for you and generates the report automatically.


      • Eric Bobrow
        12 years ago

        Oops… forgot to answer your question about sequential numbering. There is already a field reference that you can use in the Autotext popup in the Category called Layout, with the name Layout ID — the autotext field name is #LayID. This will automatically get replaced or filled in with the layout number.

        Layout numbering is set in the Layout Book Settings and the Subset Settings; you may use either alphabetic (A, B, C) or numeric (1, 2, 3) sequences for each grouping; change the number of digits (e.g. 1, 2 vs. 01, 02) and the prefix (e.g. A-1 or A.1 or A1, etc.). These sequences can be set for each subset individually, or inherited from the level above. Also, individual layouts or subsets may have their own unique settings, allowing you to over-ride the general rule whenever you wish.


  8. LennoxArchibald
    13 years ago

    Lessons 5-3 to 5-5 was exactly what I was waiting for – thank you, this explains all!

    Lennox P. Archibald

    • Eric
      13 years ago

      Lennox –
      You are very welcome!
      I’m so glad these lessons are hitting the mark!

  9. RossCahill-OBrien
    13 years ago

    very nice, good to get those little extra hints that are all hidden, and to go about things in a calm organized way… well I was wondering how do you take an old drawing from AC 10 say to mastertemplate 15, when all the library parts are different how do you take it in sucessfully. Is there an on line video telling me what to do here??
    back to the videos, when you place drawings on the view map, and they come in, under them there is a text title and a number . how do you change the size and shape of these? The other questions I guess you will deal with in a later video but I was having probems with is the print settings. after i saved them to batch pdf’s for example. I then started printed out the drawings but was very disapointed with the pdf results that I got. the problem being that the quality of my title block was all blurred and my drawings were not half as good as they appeared on screen. So time being short I had to run with them, but I am wondering what I should do next time I need to print drawings. Thank you for such nice easy videos that I can replay and pick up all the hints. that is great. yours Ross.

    • Eric
      13 years ago

      Ross –

      Thanks for your comment. Here are some answers to your questions:

      Please review the sections of the course on Library Management for some guidance on migration of projects from earlier versions to later ones.

      The title underneath the drawing is controlled in the Drawing Settings (select the drawing, right-click and choose Drawing Selection Settings) in the Title panel. You’ll see all sorts of options for how this is configured, starting with picking one of the title objects from the popup menu of available titles, then in the section below, all the individual parameters which can be adjusted and experimented with.

      When you save as PDF or print to PDF the quality should be good – PDF is a vector format so all the text and linework should be crisp. It is possible that you are creating a color output but then printing in black and white – which would tend to make lighter colors seem less distinct as they print in a grey tone.

      I’m glad you like watching the videos and replay them to pick up all you can from them!