On Land

Environment Information
At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on macOS. If you work at Rill, this is your stuff. If you don't, but you work in ArchiCAD, you may find something interesting. Anybody else, I don't know.

I will use a new home in this description. Existing drawings are very similar. Warning: This is a whopper.

Preparation in AC:

1. Pick a sheet size. To do this, show and unlock the layer '+Z Drawing Area'. The objects on this layer represent sheet sizes C, D, and E. Pick the size that fits. Move the object around to center the plan. Move the corner hotspots (groups on!) to line up with the drawing area placement. The drawing area shows on all stories, but you have to move the corner hotspots on each story separately. Once the hotspots are moved, lock them (Cmd+Opt+7). When you're sure the size is right, you can delete the Drawing Areas and corner hotspots for the other sizes. Don't forget the other stories.

2. The title block is in a detail window, 'xTitle[size] Block.' It uses autotexts to display the layout book info; the only thing you need to edit is the date. (Unless you need two lines for the Project Name.) The project title is in a detail window, 'xProj Title'. It uses autotexts too, so the only thing you might need to edit is the contractor info, if you know it. The contractor info is drawn with pen 10; by default it doesn't print. To display it, change it to pen 1, or any other black pen.

3. Check your CDs view set. Rename the Elevation views to reflect their actual orientation. Check the drawing titles in the elevation windows.

4. Save. You must save the file to have the changes appear in PlotMaker.

In PlotMaker:

1. Open the layout book template, located at the top of the project folder. (The existing book is in the '4 Site & Existing Conditions' folder.) You will get a warning that the linked project has moved, or something, and your only choice is to click the button that takes you to Drawing Usage.

2. Save As. (Yes, I know you haven't done anything yet.) For the name, use project name plus the size. Example: Stevens E.lbk. (For existing drawings, put 'Existing' in front, and save the file in the '4 Site & Existing Conditions' folder.)

3. Fill in the Layout Book Info. (Book Menu>Book Info.) Put the client name in the 'Client' field, and the project type (e.g., 'Residence') in the 'Project Name' field. Beyond that, only the address fields need to be filled in. The title blocks use this data, so it must be done first thing.

4. In drawing usage, sort the list by Type (first column) and select all the plan, section, detail, and 3D items. (The sorting is to isolate any PMKs. If there aren't any PMKs, you can skip the sorting.) Click 'Link To' at the bottom. In the dialog that opens, find your project file.

(If you see 'Read From' instead of 'Link To': This is hard to describe. Some links, when selected with other links, cause the 'Link to' button to say 'Read From'. Read from will not work; it makes you choose a folder instead of a file, so it's literally intolerable. You have to figure out which layout(s) are causing the problem and update them separately. Select layouts in groups and watch the button. If any layouts have the status 'modified' instead of 'deleted', try those.)

Short digression. When you open the book, all the links are broken because you renamed the project folder and PM isn't smart enough to keep up. The links are there, but they won't do anything until you point them at a project file. Once you do this, the links are good, but you don't have drawings yet because you haven't Updated. When you update, the drawing data in the views is read and the drawings come into being. This is the difference between 'Deleted', 'Not Yet Read', 'Modified', and 'OK' in the Status column.

5. Update the drawings you need. Don't do all of them unless you have plenty of time. (In which case, it's a good idea to get it out of the way.) There are links to structure plans and such which you usually won't need with the very first set. For existing drawings, only update those views.

You can update in drawing usage by selecting the items you need and clicking 'Update' at the bottom. You can also update in the layout window by right-clicking on the drawing(s), or in the tree by subsets view in the navigator, also by right-click.

Updating takes time. PM launches another copy of Archicad called BGArchicad, and opens the project file in it, including loading the libraries. It then generates the required views and places them in the layouts. Like in Archicad natively, drawings, including the plan, generate quickly, while sections take longer. Big, scary sections take really long, just like in real life. The first go-round will be relatively quick. An extreme example is the Stevens project, which has 130 linked views, including about 60 live sections. I think it takes about an hour and twenty minutes, though I haven't timed it. This has improved. Vassos, which is comparably complex, is about twice as fast. (Still,) Allow time.

(PM9 is much faster, and I considered taking the time warnings out of the previous paragraphs, but no. If it's a lot faster, you'll just be really happy.)

5a. Save. PM is pretty stable these days, but you never know.

6. Hook up all the layouts to the appropriate size Master Layouts. The default sheet size is D, so all the main sheets are hooked to D Main or D Detail. If using another size, drag all the layouts to the appropriate master's folder. The A3-2 detail sheet should use the '[Size] Detail' master, as should any detail layouts you add. Wall section and schedule/type sheets should use the '[Size] Main' master.

If you are using a size other than 'D', modify Plot Setup and Print Setup (File Menu) for your sheet size.

7. Arrange the drawings in each layout. (Double-click the layout name to bring it forward.) Reorder drawings in the tree to change the numbers if needed.

7a. For the plans, you must align the drawings with the title block, using the hotspots placed on the drawing area corners. If the corners are all beyond the extents of the plan, the drawing will come in with the frame fit to the corners. If not, resize the frame with the arrow tool to fit the corners. (There is a bug in PM where the corners become undetectable after arrow-stretching. Rebuilding fixes it, or you can scroll-zoom one notch.) Hotspots are detectable in PM, and this the first, best use for them. (Tip: The 'spots might be white. If you can't see them, temporarily drag the drawing into the gray, outlying area of the window.)

Once the corners are right, drag the frame by a corner. Let the frame snap to the corner of the title block. Drop it. Do this for each plan layout. If you have time, and you updated the structure and RCPs, do those too.

8. Save.

Along the way, you may have noticed something needs doing back in Archicad. If so, remember to save the project, and update the affected views.

9. Print. But that's another story.

Old versions: