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.

This is obsolete as of Archicad 15 which brought new Renovation.

MacDonald is a long-completed new home project. I don't know how long, but the important thing is that it's an AC7 project. We are reviving it for the purpose of some interior renovation. Naturally, we want to use the data we have. There are a few issues in working on a project of this vintage:

• All of the elements on new (.N) layers need to be treated as existing.

• The libraries.

• There's a couple of minor pen issues, to the extent that pen issues can be minor.

• The project is full of CD-phase annotation. All we want is the geometry.

Obsolete Annotations: Save a copy of the old project. Delete all the dimensions, labels, everything from all the annotation layers. Annotations are for construction. You don't dimension an existing house, do you? Plus, you're going to dimension your renovations.

Layers: If you are doing any substantial work in the project, you will want the comforting, familiar environment of our current templates and standards. You should merge the old project into a current template, but wait. If you merge all the new-layered elements into the template, you won't be able to tell the really new from the old new.

Solution: Change all the pertinent extensions in the old project before merging. I use .T. A WALL EXT.N becomes A WALL EXT.T etc. (I had a clever hack for this but it broke.)

After you merge into the template, set up the layers so all the T layers are showing and unlocked, all the E layers are hidden and UNlocked, and all the N and D layers are hidden and locked.

Using Find and Select, select all the elements of a given type on a given layer. Example: Walls on A WALL EXT.T. Use the info box to switch the elements to the corresponding E layer. When you do this, the elements will 'disappear', because the E layers are hidden. Objects will require a bit more attention. F&S for the name of the object as well as the layer. Tip: For 3D elements, use the 3D window to work on all stories at once. Once the 3D window is empty, go through each story and pick up the flat stuff.

When all the T layers have been emptied, you can delete them using Attribute Manager.

Libraries: Projects finished in AC7 will usually have as their only library '1 Master Library'. This was the old super-library that held the R&D library, the AC7 library itself, and Smart Parts. This library no longer exists under this name, and it will definitely turn up 'missing'.

We (should) have every library part we have ever used. Some are more elusive than others. The AC7 '1 Master Library' can be loaded by using the 'Master LIB 7.pla' archive, at the top of the carrot.

AC7 projects might also have parts from the AC65 library. This library can be found at 2 Libraries/Other LIB. Tip: Don't forget you can load individual objects, not just folders. Track down the specific objects you need and load only those. You will get fewer duplicates. Another tip: Use the Finder to find the parts you need, then drag them directly from the Finder to the Library Manager. Quick-snap.

You probably shouldn't worry about replacing the objects themselves with their modern counterparts. It's a lot of work. Only do what you need to, considering the current scope of work.

Pens: The pens in the AC7 were mostly as they are now, with one big exception: The 80's were not a typical row. There were a variety of colors, all at one weight. We used these pens for color-coding section markers, and, more importantly, for differentiating trim objects. When you merge the project, all the trim will be cyan. Which is fine, but lines in the upper 80's will be way too heavy. You have two choices. First, use F&S to change all the elements' pens to something appropriate. Or, use Attribute Manager to open the old project and overwrite the local 80's pens. This won't hurt anything extant in the project, but it will force you to do without the cyan pens going forward. I choose the first one; I just don't like legacy issues.

It also appears that pen 255 used to be white. I don't remember that, but OK. If you see black or other wrong-colored fills, change them to pen 91.

The cut fill backgrounds will be drawn with pen 93. This is not ideal, but maybe it's OK. You decide if it's worthwhile to change them to pen 50.

Misc: When you merge a project, you lose all the 2D work in the section windows. As with the plan annotations, this is probably stuff you can do without. Just be aware. You can always go back to the old project to pick stuff up if needed.

Never work in 7. Or, heaven help you, 8. It is better to go through the transition and work in the way-superior 9 (or later) environment.