Week #14 – Navigation and Drafting Power Tips
14-1. Advanced Coordinate Methods

ArchiCAD Training (Best Practices Lesson 14-1)

This 25 minute lesson explores advanced methods for working with coordinates and numeric input. These methods are not necessary for getting things done, but will speed up work when used in the appropriate context.

Coordinate references may be made relative to the most recent click-point, or to an external origin point. The measurement origin may be moved to a convenient or useful location at any time using the Set User Origin button or the keyboard shortcut Option-Shift / ALT-Shift.

The Tracker may be set to show Always to facilitate study of element locations as well as simplify input of coordinate values for placing new elements. The Tracker also may be switched to show distances and accept input relative to an external (user or project) origin.

The Tracker will do math calculations for you if you enter a coordinate value and either a + or – sign. This tells ArchiCAD to add or subtract the entered value from the value that was showing just before the keyboard input. The keyboard input is considered an offset from the indicated value, which often will be based on the cursor position. This allows you to point at a convenient snappable location, then tell ArchiCAD to go a specific distance away from that location before confirming or placing the element or finishing the stretch operation.

NOTE FOR U.S. USERS: Since ArchiCAD accepts the “-” character as a separator between feet and inches (e.g. 5-6 is interpreted as 5′-6″), when you want to subtract a distance offset using this method, you must have two “dashes” or “minuses” before ArchiCAD will calculate the subtraction. You may type in 2-0- to subtract 2 feet, or 2– (two with two minuses) will also be acceptable.

The Tracker has some additional icons to the right of the active coordinate value (the one that is currently being entered). Clicking on the checkmark will confirm the current values in the Tracker and click the mouse at that point in space, completing that operation. Clicking on the bulls-eye will project a Guide Line based on the coordinate that is active – for example, if the X coordinate is active, a Guide Line will be projected for that X value, while if the Angle value is active, a Guide Line will be created along that angle.

You may hold down the Option key (Mac) or ALT key (Windows) and type a coordinate name (x, y, a, r or d), and a Guide Line will be projected similar to the bulls-eye option described above, except that in addition, the cursor will be constrained to that Guide Line, similar to pressing the Shift-key but allowing other constraints to be used. This constraint may be released by right-clicking and choosing Unlock Mouse Constraint; the Guide Lines may be removed from the screen by hitting the Escape key (ArchiCAD 10 – 14) or right-clicking and choosing Remove All Guide Lines (ArchiCAD 15).

The final section of this lesson does a quick review of the use of external elevation datum values, including Sea Level and the Australian Height Datum (AHD). These may be set in the Options menu > Project Preferences > Levels and Project North. Once these are set properly in relation to the main elevation references for the Project Zero and the Story Settings, elevation values may be input in relation to these important elevation references.

Please post your comments and questions below.


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ArchiCAD Training: Advanced Coordinate Methods

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