Week #15 – Advanced Selection and Editing
15-5. Drawing and Editing in 3D and Section

ArchiCAD Training (Best Practices Lesson 15-5)

In this 29 minute ArchiCAD training lesson, I share some of my favorite ways to work on the model, directly in the 3D window and Section windows.

It is important to get very comfortable working in the 3D window, editing the position and geometric attributes of elements using the Pet Palette. I find it quicker in many cases to place an element anywhere convenient (either on plan or directly in 3D) then move it into position. One does not have to measure the elevation or the length, because one can simply move the element vertically and change its size with the pet palette by snapping or aligning to other elements.

It is often convenient to draw a temporary section line through an area in order to fine-tune the position of elements in that area. It is possible to snap to intersections of components in the section that do not have snaps in the 3D window or native node points at that intersection.

ArchiCAD Tip: When elements are touching each other in section (possibly trimmed using Solid Element Operations or the Connect command in version 15 or later) ArchiCAD will join their outlines (removing the line in between) if the Fill is exactly the same. This facilitates constructing certain forms, such as a foundation wall with footing, out of two or more separate elements that have the same fill; ArchiCAD will make them appear to be one unified element in the Section drawing.

One can force a line in between two elements by making them have different Fills, even if these Fills are identical in appearance. For example, Background Fill and Air Space are both “empty” fills which produce an opaque white background; however since they have different names, ArchiCAD will draw a line between two elements in section when they use these distinct Fills.

Please post your comments and questions below.


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: Drawing and Editing in 3D and Section

Let us know how you feel... (5 comments so far)

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  1. Avatar photo
    12 years ago

    I liked this one. Because I think in 3D, editing elements in 3D is a natural thing to do, and it’s becoming easier and easier with ArchiCAD to do this. Good tips in this lesson; nothing dramatically new but a lot of practical reinforcement on how to be more effective.

  2. ChristopherEllis
    12 years ago

    Hi Eric,

    As always, promoting the incredible visualization powers of Archicad and encouraging us to push ourselves and get familiar with a better way to work.

    I use a 17″ laptop and an additional display. The laptop is great for meeting with clients at their homes. The additional display gives me screen real estate I need to work efficiently in my office.

    When I started to develop carpal tunnel, I bought a large Wacom Tablet so I could avoid the mouse clicks that were causing pain.

    The tablet “sees” whatever screens are attached and a tap with the stylus equals a click. A rocker switch on the stylus equals a right click when pushed on one side and “show all windows” when pushed on the other side.

    A scroll bar on the tablet allows easy zooming and the stylus position equals the center of the zooming. It also comes with a mouse which I rarely need to use.

    I urge anyone who spends time designing to investigate buying a tablet. Small ones are very affordable and can be used to great effect with Photoshop and other programs. I use mine all day, everyday, for everything. I love it.

    Thanks for all you do !

    • Avatar photo
      12 years ago

      For what it’s worth, I just changed to a 17″ laptop with a separate 27″ display, and am currently trying to wean myself from the mouse habit. I wish I could make a Wacom work for me but I tried for awhile and it never felt right. Now, I’m trying to use only a trackpad and it’s not a bad experience with ArchiCAD. Eric mentioned his center mouse button + SHIFT orbit shortcut just now, but how I can achieve something similar without the mouse is an experiment still to come.
      A Wacom tablet may still be in my future, as I’m an old pen-on-paper artist, but I’m glad to hear that it’s such a success for you.

  3. JavierMarin
    12 years ago

    Sorry Eric.I can not see the lessons 15-4,15-5,15-6

    • Eric Bobrow
      12 years ago

      Javier –
      I apologize for the frustration. You are on a monthly payment plan, and after your recent installment payment was processed, I hadn’t updated your account access. I have corrected the problem, so when you next login to the site you should see everything OK.