Week #21 – Creating and Customizing Library Parts
21-7. Custom Doors and Windows

ArchiCAD Training (Best Practices Lesson 21-7)

This 38 minute ArchiCAD training will teach you how to create your own custom doors and windows.

The basics are fairly simple: model the door or window as if it was on the ground (with the bottom at Project 0 elevation), then select the elements and use the File menu > Libraries and Objects > Save Selection As… Door [Window] command. You can do this from the plan window or in 3D, although the results are a little different (as explained below).

A rectangular window or door can be created quite simply using the basic method. For a non-rectangular shape, a separate slab needs to be placed to define the cutout in the wall. The ID for this slab is set to “wallhole” (without the quote marks), and it is selected along with the model elements before activating the Save Selection As… Door [Window] command. This slab is not seen in the actual 3D window or door, but instead it is used to define the cutout in the wall.

Immediately after you create a new window or door you will find that the window or door tool has been loaded up with the new element, so you can insert it right away without having to search for it in the library.

It is often necessary to edit the definition of the window or door. Select the window or door (on plan or in 3D) by itself, then use the File menu > Libraries and Objects > Open Object command (or the keyboard shortcut).

If the opening in the wall needs to be extended (adding space for the rough opening, or reducing the nominal size to take into account the casing that was saved along with the framed element), you may open the Details > Compatibility Options dialog inside the library part window, and add in distance values for the top, bottom and/or sides. This will affect the floor plan cutout in the wall, and also the 3D hotspots when the element is selected.

The symbol may be edited by clicking on the 2D Symbol icon in the library part window. This brings up a 2D drafting area, where you can simplify the linework and possibly draw new information (such as a door swing).

NOTE: If you create a custom door or window by selecting the elements from the plan (instead of 3D), the 2D symbol will actually be scripted rather than drafted. You will not see the 2D linework when you open up the 2D symbol area in the library part. To edit the 2D symbol, you will need to do the following:

  • Open the 2D View
  • Select All (Command-A or CTRL-A) and Copy
  • Switch to the 2D symbol area and Paste
  • Rework the symbol as you wish
  • Open the 2D Script section of the library part, then select all the lines of text
  • Either delete them, or use the Comment button above (it looks like an exclamation mark !) which will add ! to the beginning of each line, telling ArchiCAD to ignore these script lines.
  • Save the part again (Command-S or CTRL-S)
  • Your new 2D symbol will appear as soon as you refresh your screen.
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
Want to download this video, pause or resume playback, jump to a specific point or watch this video in a larger window? Click here for Video Playback and Download Notes...

Your Downloads

You may need to right-click the following links and select Save Link As to download the file to your computer

Click here to see the transcript of this ArchiCAD training lesson...

Please post your comments and questions below.


ArchiCAD Training: Custom Doors and Windows

Let us know how you feel... (4 comments so far)

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  1. Avatar photo
    11 years ago

    Hi Eric,
    The lesson runs smoothly until about 8:24 and then the screen goes to green and the audio breaks up.

    • Eric Bobrow
      11 years ago

      David –

      I checked and the video plays well for me. It is possible that your browser cache (the temporary file storage maintained by the browser) has gotten filled up, which is causing the issue with large video files such as this one.

      Please empty your browser cache and try it again, and let me know whether it works better.

      The process of emptying your browser cache varies depending on your browser, but generally involves opening up the Preferences or Settings for the browser, and looking for the controls related to Content or History or Privacy. You’ll see somewhere an option to clear the cache, or it may be part of clearing the History (you can usually choose to focus this on the cache rather than saved passwords, browsing history or cookies). After you clear the cache, your browser will have more working space, and video playback will usually improve dramatically.


  2. Scott Newland
    11 years ago

    Eric, this is a great lesson, showing wonderful potential.
    I’ll assume that one can add a frame and casing to a custom window, like you did with the door (understanding the frame depth limitation).
    I do have a minor question on the door you created: By adding the hotspot to the edge of the open door swing, I was expecting that this hotspot would become “live” and allow the 90 degree swing angle to be changed on the plan once placed. Not true, right? Without testing it for myself, I’ll assume that this sort of control would involve complex GDL work and that the symbol, as created, is static in this sense.
    Thank you!

    • Eric Bobrow
      11 years ago

      Hi Scott –

      Thanks for posting your feedback and questions.

      Yes, you can add a frame and casing to the custom window, similar to what I did for the door.

      Re the door swing – adding the hotspot allows it to be selected more easily on the plan, but does not make it control the door swing angle.

      This is one of many reasons that custom door panels are generally more useful than custom doors, since they integrate ArchiCAD’s built-in scripting for the opening angle in 2D and 3D.

      However, as I point out, the standard doors and windows in the library do not allow the selection of an ornate casing, so this is one reason to know how to create a custom door. You can also use this idea to create a door with a custom (non-rectangular) shape.