ArchiCAD Basic Training – Module 6
6-1. Creating Detail Drawings and Worksheets

ArchiCAD Training –  (Quick Start Course – 6-1)

This 32 minute lesson focuses on two essential components of construction documents: detail drawings and worksheets.

Details and Worksheets are similar: both are 2D drafting windows that can be used to create drawings for placing onto layout sheets. In both cases, a marker callout can be placed to define an area in an existing view; the contents that are outlined are copied into the new viewpoint and can be edited purely as 2D graphics. The marker callout will continue to be connected to the drawing and is often set to show the drawing and sheet number automatically.

TIP: Use the Detail tool for any drawings that you call a Detail, and use the Worksheet tool for all other 2D drawings, including wall sections, enlarged plans, and as a place to import DWG files such as surveys or other consultant drawings as well as PDF reference materials.

In this lesson, a section is called up and the Detail tool is activated and the settings are briefly explained. A new detail marker is placed to create an Eave Detail, and the new detail viewpoint is opened. The scale is adjusted to suit the drawing, and some labels are added as an example of 2D annotation. Some lines are deleted or adjusted, and new ones drawn to represent framing.

TIP: To simplify manipulation of both details and worksheets:

  1. Place all new elements that are being drawn on the ArchiCAD layer. Since there is usually just one version of a detail or worksheet drawing, there is no need to place the annotation and 2D linework onto a layer that may get turned off – just use the ArchiCAD layer and those elements will always be visible.
  2. Sometimes the Fill elements that are copied from the original 3D model are a nuisance and make it hard to edit the linework. Feel free to select all the Fills (activate the Fill tool in the Toolbox, then use the Edit menu > Select All Fills command) and delete them if it will make your work easier to manage. Be careful not to delete Fills that have useful graphic information (such as “Concrete” or other materials); delete the ones that appear invisible or white (typically called “Air Space” or “Empty Fill” etc.) and don’t really contribute to the drawing.

For both Details and Worksheets, before placing on a Layout, a View must be either created or adjusted to suit the drawing requirements. If there is a Clone Folder set up for these parts of the Project Map in the View Map, then whenever you create a new detail or worksheet, a new view will be added to that folder. In that case, instead of creating a new View, you will need to select the View in that folder and adjust the View Settings as needed – commonly this may involve changing the scale, and possibly changing the layer combination.

After creating the View or confirming the View Settings, you may drag the View onto the appropriate Layout sheet and then move or crop as desired. In the lesson, the detail drawing is placed on a new Layout which is set up to use a Master Layout that has a grid; the drawing number is then set based on the grid position of the drawing. The worksheet (an enlarged wall section) is placed onto a new Layout with the building sections, but using a different scale; the drawing number is based on the order of the drawings in the Navigator list for that Layout, which may be revised to suit the positions on the page.

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: Creating Detail Drawings and Worksheets

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  1. HagithPopper
    11 years ago

    Hi Eric,
    I ‘m using details regularly but have a problem with line definitions. Can’t seam to apply dashed lines into the drawings.
    Thanks for your help

    • Eric Bobrow
      11 years ago

      Hello Hagith –
      Some dashed lines may be set to have a graphic appearance that is optimized for standard building scales such as 1:50 and will not look right at 1:5 or similar detail scales. You can use the Options menu > Element Attributes > Line Types command, and select one of the dashed lines, then duplicate it, and modify the spacing for the dashes. The newly defined dashed line may then look more appropriate in your detail.
      P.S. There is a line type called “hidden” that has more closely spaced dashes – this may give you a more satisfactory result.

  2. Gordon
    12 years ago

    Hi Eric,
    I am just starting out using Archicad 13 and would like to know if you have any beginner video stuff.
    My second question is I have some 3D objects from and would like to know is it possible to import these into ArchiCAD to the side bars for using, and how do I do this as they come compressed and what goes where really.

    Many Thanks Eric,

    • Eric Bobrow
      12 years ago

      Gordon –

      Thank you for visiting the Best Practices Course website, and opting in for my email list. I am delighted that you have started to learn ArchiCAD, and would love to help you achieve proficiency.

      I suggest that you check out the QuickStart Course, which covers basic ArchiCAD usage in a series of 29 easy-to-follow video tutorials totaling 13 hours of material. You’ll find complete information on the course and may sign up at

      Re your question on importing 3D objects from, I visited their website and can see that they provide a wide variety of objects in different formats. If you pick an object that is available in GSM format, you may use it in ArchiCAD directly after you unzip the archive file. In the File menu > Libraries and Objects > Library Manager you can use the Add button to load an individual part such as the GSM file that will be found in the archive folder after it is unzipped. This will embed the library part into your project, and you may place it into your project once or any number of times.

      Some of the parts will only be available in DWG or 3DS or alternate formats, rather than GSM. In that case, you will need to use other commands to import them. It is beyond what I can answer in a simple comment, but basically you may need to install the 3DS Import command to access 3DS files (3D Studio format); you’ll find this free plugin by using the ArchiCAD Help menu > ArchiCAD Goodies command or ArchiCAD Downloads command (the name of this command has changed in recent years, so I’m not sure what it is called in ArchiCAD 13). You should then be able to use the Design menu > Design Extras command for converting the 3DS file into a standard ArchiCAD object (GSM) file; then you can load this object in the Library Manager.

      I hope this is helpful to you.

  3. MarcelinoPatlong
    12 years ago

    Hi Sir Eric,

    Please show me also how to import Detail drawings from DWG file formats and and its application to Archicad drawings…since most of the details provide by manufacturers and other company related to Architectural Draftings are in DWG file formats.

    Thank you very much…



    • Eric Bobrow
      12 years ago

      Marcelino –

      The questions you are posting are very good. They will all get answered at various points during the Best Practices Course. They are too advanced to include in the QuickStart Course, which focuses on the basics of using ArchiCAD.

      I suggest that you ask them during one of our ArchiCAD Coaching Calls, so that you don’t have to wait until the formal training lessons are available for each of these areas. Look in your Inbox for the notification of the next coaching call, and submit your question either by email or in the Chat box during the session.

      I’ll be glad to answer your questions on the call.


  4. RenataEstrela
    12 years ago

    Hi Eric,

    I have a question about how to change the materials of objects imported from Google Sketchup Warehouse. I downloaded the Google Earth plug in (32-bit version), but I am not able to change the materials of the objects. There are only 2 options in the object settings: keep the original materials or change the entire object with the same texture. ( I am using the International version of Archicad 15).

    Thank you,

    • Eric Bobrow
      12 years ago

      Renata –

      If those are the only two options in the object settings, then that may be all that are possible. The import tools are limited and not as flexible as one would like.

      One option you may consider is to install a free version of SketchUp, download the Warehouse object(s), make some changes, then resave (either republish to the Warehouse or save as SKP or 3DS) then import into ArchiCAD.


      • RenataEstrela
        12 years ago

        Hi Eric,

        I did what you recommended (to make the alterations on sketchup, then export it to the warehouse) and it works fine. Thanks!

        Another question, I am having some problems importing 3ds and gsm objects into Archicad. They appear grey, with no texture on the 3d window. I have been using the 3dstudio add-on (File – File Special – Import 3D Studio File – Convert 3DS to to GDL object…) .

        This a link to a 3ds object I tried to import :

        By the way, do you have any tutorial video about how to transfer a project from Archicad to 3ds max (or artlantis, 4d cinema…) and some tips of how to render on these programs? I am studying Interior Design and I have been trying to find the best way of presenting realistic renderings.

        Thanks a lot,

  5. Derry shinkwin
    12 years ago

    Hi Eric
    When i go into section for detailing 6-1 thier is only part of my roof shows
    up when i shift click it and highlight the roof it shows all of it until i deselect it ideas


    • Eric Bobrow
      12 years ago

      Derry –
      I’m not sure what is going on in your case. It sounds like the fill for the roof volume is coming through and can be selected, but perhaps the linework is not showing properly. Is the roof showing up OK in the original section?

      • Derry Shinkwin
        12 years ago

        Hi Eric
        I went into into (Roof Default Settings)and went to (Floor Plan And Section)
        and changed the (Cut Fill Background Pen) to a darker fill as appose
        to a white one and then the roof came on in section sorted

  6. Avatar photo
    13 years ago

    Eric, is “MSA Wood & Lumber” still available in later versions of ArchiCAD? I recently realized that dozens of my favorites which were based on lumber sections from MSA would only work when I loaded the AC9 library in the Library Manager along with AC12, which flooded my working library with nearly 900 duplicate files. (At the same time, detail markers refered to Plotmaker instead of the AC12 “#DwgID” and “#LayID” system.) How do I load MSA Wood & Lumber into my library so my favorites come back to life?

    • Eric Bobrow
      13 years ago

      Bob –

      Yes, the MSA Wood & Lumber is still included with all versions of ArchiCAD sold in the U.S. You’ll find these parts within the 00 General 15 > Detailer Library 15 > Wood 15 folder (it should be similar in AC12).

      It is possible these parts got renamed by Graphisoft along the way, so your Favorites wouldn’t work while loading the standard AC12 library. If so, you have two choices – you can redefine your Favorites one by one to match the new library parts, or you can load one or more small libraries along with the AC12 standard library:

      1) the ArchiCAD 9 Subset Library (part of the AC9 library that was changed or superseded in AC10) from this page:

      2) You MAY need the ArchiCAD 10 Subset Library from this page

      3) It is possible you’ll also need to load the ArchiCAD 11 Migration Library (which you should find inside your ArchiCAD 12 folder).

      Please let me know how it goes.

  7. JohnCassel
    13 years ago

    Aloha Eric,
    How can I create a clone folder?
    Thank you,

    • Eric Bobrow
      13 years ago

      John –

      With the View Map open, you’ll see a row of icon buttons at the bottom. One of these has a small arrow, and the prompt or name of the button is “Clone a Folder…”

      After clicking this button, you’ll see a dialog box in which you can select a folder from the Project Map, and also may set the various options for the View Settings (layer combination, scale, model view options, etc.). Set everything the way you like it, give the clone folder a name (you may have to change the naming option to Custom to be able to type in a custom name), and save the Clone folder.

      You’ll see the new Clone show up in the View Map, with individual items corresponding to every item in the Project Map for that folder. This is a “live” link, so if you add more items in that category (for example, adding a new section or detail drawing), the corresponding clone folder will add a corresponding new item.


  8. Avatar photo
    13 years ago

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for the explanation of views and clone folders. I found this confusing but you made it clear with only a few sentences.



  9. Hi Eric,

    Creating detail drawings and draw sheets was interesting, because I did not know about the part with the worksheets. Of course I use worksheets, but up to now, not for detailing or for showing part of the building like you showed.

    You mentioned the possibilty of changing a scale at will, and you said “….1 to 20 or 1 to 15….” metric. Well, I have a practice in Holland, and it is highly unusual to use a scale of 1 to 15 (metric) here.

    Back in the eighties my first employer even forbid me to use a scale like 1:15.
    “You use the following scales, and nothing else”, he said. “That way nobody gets confused.”

    Here they are:
    1:1, 1:5, 1:20, 1:50, 1:100, 1:200, 1:500, 1:1,000, 1:2,000, 1:5,000, 1:10,000, 1:20,000 etc.

    He turns out to be right, you know, for I have never had any problems with details.

    Cannot wait for your next lessons,
    Oscar van Staveren
    Nieuwegein, NL

    • Eric
      13 years ago

      Oscar –

      Thanks for your comments, and clarification on common metric standard scales. In retrospect, I can appreciate that 1:15 would be considered a non-standard setting, perhaps “bad practice”. You can tell that metric is not my native language…

      But I’m curious – would you never use 1:10? It seems like there is a big gap between 1:5 and 1:20. Perhaps other metric-standard users may like to add their perspective to this discussion…


      • LeandroPaganelli
        13 years ago

        Scales are a long discussion, as not everyone follow the standards.

        Here in Brazil and in France where I worked some time ago the standards are 1:2; 1:5; 1:10 and it’s multiples like 1:20, 1:50, 1:100, 1:200, 1:500, 1:1000, etc.

        In architecture field though there are lots of people who also uses 1:75, 1:25 and less usually 1:125, 1:15 and even 1:33 1/3. But it’s a “bad practice” like you said.

        In engineering field this is a mess, it’s common to have “imported scales” from imperial units, as we still use imperial standards for steel profiles, screws and some other manufactured products. Or the multinational industries that brings the drawings form the U.S. and the engineers here merely translate the units without changing the scales.

      • Hi Eric,

        I would never use 1:2 and neither 1:10, for the gap is to small between the adjoining scales,
        (1:1 – 1:2 – 1:5 and 1:5 – 1:10 -1:20). You indicate that the gap might be to great, but that is just why we do not use 1:2 and 1:10, it just makes the gap to small and might cause problems interpreting a drawing for that matter.


  10. Chris Ellis
    13 years ago


    Very nice, as usual.
    When I get to the point my project of using these 2D detail and worksheet tools, I make it a point to look at the title bar of any window to make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that it says “Drawing”. In the distant past, I failed to notice that the window I was working in said “autorebuild”. Thinking I was working in just in 2D and unlinked to the 3D model, I deleted lots of important components. Hours were lost ….. just a heads up for the beginner !

    Chris Ellis
    Cape Cod, MA USA

    • Eric
      13 years ago

      Chris –
      Good point! One can also pay attention nowadays to the pre-selection and selection highlighting, which clearly state what type of item one is hovering over or selecting – lines or fills in the case of detail drawings, or walls, slabs or windows etc. in the case of sections or elevations.

  11. RossCahill-OBrien
    13 years ago

    Hi Eric,
    Very good I enjoyed that, question, when you bring in the view, does it come in as a drawing i.e. come in as an unlinked drawing with only one line deep, If it comes in a part of a linked view to the model then there are many lines one on top of the other . you know what I mean,
    I have sent drawings to contractors before as dwg drawings who complained that the when they tried to edit the dwg drawing they had to clear a lot of lines first. before they got to a simple drawing. yours Ross

    • Eric
      13 years ago

      Ross –

      This video lesson shows the basics of creating a detail drawing starting from a “snapshot” of a part of the model, so I don’t go into some of the additional options and techniques used that are part of best practices methods. In the Best Practices Course, I will go into the creation and management of detail drawings in “more detail” (pun intended).

      One of the tools that you can use to simplify the drawing and reduce redundant lines is the Linework Consolidation command, available from the Edit menu > Reshape submenu.

      This command was added into ArchiCAD somewhere around version 12, and it is very simple to use. Select all the lines you want to clean up, then activate this command and follow the prompts. It will remove redundant (duplicate) lines and join small line segments that are adjacent and co-linear.

      The companion command Fill Consolidation is also useful for cleaning up the graphics on a detail drawing. In this introductory lesson, I chose to teach a quick, easy to understand tactic to simply delete all the Fills except for those that have construction material information; this helps a beginner work on a drawing without interference from all the fills that come from the model.

      You have to walk before you can run, or fly…