Week #5 – General Notes & Specifications
5-1. Using Microsoft Word and PDF

ArchiCAD Training (Best Practices Lesson 5-1)

This 15 minute segment on using Microsoft Word and PDF to create General Notes and Specifications is the first part of week #5.

ArchiCAD has the ability to format text fairly nicely, but it lacks a number of key features that are particularly important in lengthy documents such as general notes. It has rudimentary tab settings without hierarchy or automatic numbering, cannot add graphic enhancements such as boxes around paragraphs that are tied to specific text within a larger block, and does not have multi-column capabilities so each block must be edited and reflowed manually.

This lesson shows how to use Word to create the general notes for a project and save them as a PDF to be placed into ArchiCAD. Because Word limits the maximum size of a page to 22″ square, a custom page is created that is the size of one of the columns on the layout. The PDF pages are placed as Drawings onto the sheet, with one PDF page in each column. When the Word document is revised, after overwriting the PDF file, the ArchiCAD layout is easily updated.

NOTE: This video is recorded at 1420 x 800 pixels, and displayed in the course website page at 50%. I suggest that you move your mouse over the video while it’s playing to reveal the controls, then click the “full screen” button in the bottom right to be able to see all the detail. You can hit “ESC” on your keyboard to leave full-screen mode at any time.

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: Using Microsoft Word and PDF

Let us know how you feel... (9 comments so far)

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  1. John Dunham
    8 years ago

    Brilliant work around! The updating from the PDF is a very powerful feature and has great potential for templates.

  2. CatherineRoha
    9 years ago

    Great tip regarding setting up the custom page size with the column width and height. I expect this works in WordPerfect, too.

  3. emil
    9 years ago

    enjoying it very much

  4. ChrisSinkinson
    Chris Sinkinson
    9 years ago

    Hi Eric trying to view this on my iPad. Don’t usually have problem but for some reason it’s not allowing the file to run. There is a cross through tharrow start button

    • Eric
      9 years ago

      Chris –
      This is the first video I posted for the course at a high resolution (1420 x 800 pixels). I have it resized in the web page to the standard size I’ve been using (710 x 400 = 50%), with the option for going full-screen, and it plays fine in my web browser.
      That must be why it is not working on the iPad. I’ll look into options for providing an alternate size for iPad use. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

      • Eric
        9 years ago

        Chris –
        I have posted an alternate version of this page that I’d love for you to test out. Please go to https://www.acbestpractices.com/ipad-test/ and let me know if you can view the video on your iPad. You should be able to watch it within the standard membership page format, and also be able to click the button to expand it to full size to use the full width of your iPad screen. Please let me know whether it works for you!
        P.S. If anyone else has been using an iPad to watch the course, I’d love to hear from you too!

        • Eric
          9 years ago

          OK – we’ve got this figured out! Chris has emailed me to say that he can now play the video on this page on his iPad.

          The problem was that the original video was recorded at 1420 x 800 pixels, which is beyond what the iPad is designed to accommodate. (The iPad can handle things up to 1280 pixels wide.) Even though I had it placed at 50% on the page (710 x 400) the iPad refused to play it.

          I reprocessed it to create a video of 1024 x 536 (I think that’s what it was) that would be playable on the iPad. I then used an option in my video player to provide two alternate versions of the video – one for desktop or laptop, and one for iPad. The browser page serves up the appropriate version based on the info from the device, which identifies what type it is for exactly this reason.

          FYI – in all cases, I’m using MP4 files based on H.264 compression, which has become the most widely used and compatible format for video.


  5. Marek Stoklosa
    10 years ago

    The spec creation in Word or for that matter in Pages is fantastic.
    I can pull out standard pages from the CSI standard spec and insert into the plan set.
    It is so simple and straightforward.

    Thank you for that.

    • Eric
      9 years ago

      Excellent idea!