Week #5 – General Notes & Specifications
5-2. Using Word and PDF on Larger Sheets

ArchiCAD Training (Best Practices Lesson 5-2)

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

This lesson shows how to use Word to create the general notes when the ArchiCAD sheet size is larger than 22 inches in height. Because Word limits the maximum size of a page to 22″ square, the PDF pages (each representing a column) that are placed as Drawings onto the sheet are enlarged beyond 100% of their original size within Word. To compensate, the font size is reduced inside Word, so that after enlargement in ArchiCAD it looks correct.

An alternative, optimimum approach is demonstrated in which the Word page is set up to be a reduced size version of the entire ArchiCAD layout sheet (without the title block).

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 Word and PDF on Larger Sheets

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

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  1. John Dunham
    12 years ago

    An even better idea! Great!

  2. Avatar photo
    Juliana Perrucci
    13 years ago

    very nice… and VERY helpful…

  3. Avatar photo
    13 years ago

    Inserting a PDF into a drawing using “Place External Drawing” is the tip that makes the whole series worth the price for me so far. I don’t do a lot of big pages of text, but I do place a lot of Spread Sheet info, usually for Zoning Tables. I was cutting and pasting, and redoing the whole process whenever my info changed. Updating the PDF is brilliant.

  4. James Satzinger
    13 years ago

    I like your thought process and discovery of a better way to do the Word-PDF import into AC sheets. I just need to better study the new Word. I’ve had to overcome its propensity to “think for itself” too often. AC wood documentation is less sophisticated and more manual but doesn’t think for you.

  5. Marek Stoklosa
    13 years ago


  6. Earl Applegate
    13 years ago

    Great! It is really helpful to watch the steps on the screen.



  7. Avatar photo
    David R Olufs
    13 years ago

    Instead of doing all these configurations in WORD, could you just change the height from 22 inches to maybe 14 inches and then put 2 pages in each column?

    Your layout might have 6 or 7 columns. Then you could layout from the right going left and then what’s left over on the left be whatever… as long as there is about 2 inches left over for binding.

    • Eric
      13 years ago

      Dave –

      You can adapt my approach in a variety of ways. The basic idea is to create your long text documents in Word, then use PDF to place either columns or pages onto layout sheets. Where necessary, reduce the font size in Word to match the reduced page or column image, then enlarge in ArchiCAD as needed.

      The only problem I can see with your idea of doing two Word pages in a single column on the Layout is that it may be tricky to make it appear “seamless” with no extra margin or change in line spacing between the two stacked drawings. You’ll need to carefully zoom in and moving the lower drawing to look correct in relation to the upper one. If you set varying amounts of spacing between lines, or a different amount of spacing between paragraphs than between lines, then you’ll need to manually coordinate and double-check this whenever you update the text in Word.

      It is for this reason that I suggest that it is simplest to reduce the size of the text and column dimensions in Word proportionately, and work with entire columns or pages in Word.