Week #21 – Creating and Customizing Library Parts
21-1. Creating Basic Objects; Optimizing Handles, Adding Parameters

ArchiCAD Training (Best Practices Lesson 21-1)

This ArchiCAD training is the first in a three part series on creating custom objects for the ArchiCAD library.

In this 16 minute video, we look at how to create a basic 2D symbol as well as a quick way to save a new 3D object. The basic process is simple: draw or model whatever you’d like to turn into an object, select these elements on the floor plan, then use the File menu > Libraries and Objects > Save Selection As > Object command and give the new object a name.

After a new object is created, it can be made more flexible by adding parameters and editing the GDL script to make it more parametric, allowing it to change with each instance or insertion into the project.

The hotspots or selection handles of new objects are created automatically by ArchiCAD, and by default will include the bounding box corners and geometric center of the element. To optimize these handles, simply draw in your own hotspots on the plan with the hotspot tool, then select these hotspots along with the 2D or 3D elements when you are creating the object.

When you have hotspots included in the selection, you may turn off the bounding box handles by unchecking the Details > Compatibility Options > Bounding Box Hotspots checkbox, then resaving the object. (Note: if you have an object already placed, you may not see the updated symbol until you refresh the view by zooming in or out.)

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 Basic Objects

Let us know how you feel... (8 comments so far)

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  1. Roderick Anderson
    11 years ago


    This falls just in place of what I was trying to do and was not being able to figure out how to do it. With this great and clear explanation, I will be creating an entire library of 2D symbols that we will use to create very detailed reflected ceiling plans to show exact light fixture models. Being able to put in editable text that can turn into parameters then we can add a simple letter to designate that one light fixture is different than another.

    Great help !!

    • Eric Bobrow
      11 years ago

      Roderick –
      I’m so glad that this video gives you exactly what you need for the task at hand!

  2. Tom Downer
    11 years ago

    Great video, Eric
    I need to make some electrical plan symbols and this video will make them much more useful.

    • Eric Bobrow
      11 years ago

      Tom –
      Glad to know that you have benefited from this lesson.
      Thanks for posting your feedback.

  3. RajagopalaHathwar
    11 years ago

    Hi Erric,
    Thanks for your continuous support for archicad study.
    Being a user of AC-13, I found problem text size and text contents activities in the recent tutorial.
    When applied text size only, it is working properly, but when I go for text contents, only this is working but not text size.I made several efforts to get the result, but failed. Totally sentences are always active with or without text size, but text size active only when text contents not disturbed.
    Waiting for solution——?

    • Eric Bobrow
      11 years ago

      Rajagopala –

      I don’t think things should work any differently in AC13 than AC16 for this sort of GDL editing. I would try it again, carefully, making sure that you go step by step and test it out each time.

      It is quite possible that you are removing part of the GDL script that causes an error – you need to leave things like commas (,) alone, particularly at the end of text lines, as these are used to signal the GDL interpreter that a statement (computer code) continues onto the next line. Perhaps you are messing something up without realizing it.

      Look at exactly what I am demonstrating, and compare it to your object – perhaps you will see a subtle difference.

      Anyway, I wish you the best as you try to work this out.


  4. Scott Newland
    11 years ago

    This is getting into what a fellow colleague once called ‘the dark side”. Thank you for opening the door into how to configure parametrics. I can only assume that I’ll make use of it someday.

    • Eric Bobrow
      11 years ago

      Scott –
      Parametrics are a powerful tool that you may find use for from time to time. Other parts of the training on object creation may be more frequently useful, such as learning how to set your hotspot handles and choose an object subtype.