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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.
July 2006 Archive

In the templates for 10, I've modified the layer combinations as suggested here. There's a couple of tweaks since then.

Changing the LCs is a minor change compared to changing the layers themselves, which can be very perilous. (There are a couple of layer changes in the new templates. Just a little peril!)

In this theory of layer combinations, there are three main types, and then a couple oddballs. The three:

Output. Used by publication views.

Working. Where you spend most of your time.

Special Tasks. Unusual LCs for doing a certain task once in a while. E.g., Site cutting, building stretching, elevations with just notes.

The new LC arrangement makes these categories clearer. The working LCs begin with numbers. The output LCs begin with the letter of their sheets. The specials begin with x. The oddballs: The binder LCs begin with z. Since they're not used until the very end, they have to be last. 'zzz All' is sort of administrative, and you never use it in real life.

I've tried to make the purpose of each LC self-evident in the name.

Here's the list. (Existing/addition-only LCs are indicated by '*'.)

  • ! Ex1 Existing Plan*
  • ! Ex2 Existing Elev*
  • ! Working Existing Model*
  • ! Working Existing Plan*
  • 0 Working Model
  • 1 Working Floor+Roof Plan
  • 2 Working Elev+Sect+Detail
  • 3 Working Wall Section
  • 4 Working RCP
  • 5 Working Interiors
  • 6 Working Site 120
  • 6 Working Site 240
  • A1 Floor+Roof Plan
  • A2/3 Elev+Sect+Detail
  • A3 Wall Section
  • A4 RCP
  • A5 Interior Elevs
  • A5 Enlarged Plan
  • C1 Site Plan 120
  • C1 Site Plan 240
  • D1 Demo Plan*
  • E1 Elec Plan
  • F1 Furniture Plan
  • M1 Mechanical Plan
  • P1 Plumbing Plan
  • S0 Foundation Plan
  • S1 Structure Plan
  • S2 Structure Model
  • S3 Structure Wall Mask
  • View 3D
  • View LW Render
  • x Background Plan
  • x Elevation Notes
  • x Gross Area
  • x Object Lab
  • x Shoot RCP
  • x Shoot Roof Plan
  • x Site Cutting
  • x Stretch House
  • x View Chimney
  • x View Flues
  • x Working Dims Plan
  • x Working Trim
  • x Zones
  • z Binder Elevation
  • z Binder Plan
  • z Existing Binder Elevation*
  • z Existing Binder Plan*
  • zzz All

Standard pens updated for AC10.


Pen #1 is not a good choice for a cut pen. Use 15,25,35,...

• There's a new typical row: The 160s. They're blue-gray. I recommend them for use with doors and windows. Use the 20s for stair elements.

• Pens 191-196 are the 'white-out' pens. They can be used to mask unwanted lines in section windows. More below.

• Colors are still used to categorize section markers, but the pens now come from the typical rows. Yawn. This shouldn't even be noticeable.


Alphabetical by name of thing. Please suggest improvements and additions. Note: I change the date whenever I update this, so it will pop up every now and then. Rest assured it's not all new. Big changes will have a post of their own.

Updated for 10. You will see these changes in the templates when you start a project in 10. I figured now is the time to make changes. Nothing too major:

+Z SK Title is gone. SK titles should be placed in the layout only.

• Most +L layers become +C instead. C=Civil and is more standard.

+L House Outline becomes +C Footprint.

Z Light is new, for sun and sky objects for LightWorks rendering.

• We're going to use real section markers:

+Z SE & Detail Object becomes +Z SE Print. Use this layer for sections that print.

+Z S/E Tool becomes +Z SE Hide. Use this layer for junk sections and others you don't want to see in plan. (At the beginning of the project, all the markers are on the hidden layer. Move them to the Print layer as needed.)

+A Roof Plan Line is gone. Use A Roof2.


The AC9 Display Options dialog had two divisions. 'Options for Display Only' only affect screen appearance. 'Options for Display and Output' also affect the printed output.

In 10, these two groups are entirely separated, even to the point of appearing on different menus.

'Options for Display Only' no longer has a dialog box. They become the items on the menu View -> On-Screen View Options. They are unchanged except:

• 'True line weight' is an on-screen option. It is not saved with views, and is not reflected in printing. (In the new Print dialog, there is an option for 'Hairline'. I can't see using that very often.)

• There are two layout-specific options, 'Drawing Frames' and 'Master Items on Layout'. I would always have those on, I think.

There are also toolbar buttons available for these settings, which is nice. (Though it's sad day for Karl's QuickDisplay thing.) I recommend buttons for the section depth, line weight, and vectorial fill settings.

'Options for Display and Output' becomes 'Model View Options' at Document -> Set Model View -> Model View Options. You can also select Display Model View Options combinations from this menu.

There aren't any new options, but there is a new, spectacularly improved dialog box, and they've added the ability to import and export MVO combinations, similar to the Work Environment.

The Model View Options are the ones saved with views.

Editing in section has taken a big step forward, but it still isn't finished.

You can:

• Stretch most things in height.

• Stretch walls and beams in length.

• Edit the slope of roofs. And sloping beams, columns, and walls.

These interactions use palette buttons, identical to the 3D window.

You still can't:

• Stretch objects in height. What a total, falling-down, drunken blunder.

• Perform conventional roof trims.

• Move slab or roof edges. Or edit roof edge angles.

• Copy elements other than openings.

Essentially, they are bringing 3D window editing methods to the section window. An unfortunate, but tolerable, side-effect of this is that we have lost the 'box' method of stretching doors and windows. You have to stretch the height and width separately.

AC10 explicitly supports running more than one instance of AC at a time. In fact, in certain situations you have to. Like pen sets, this is a case where a mandatory technical change has a lot of secondary benefits.


The Active Layer palette is accessed on a submenu of the Layers submenu, which might be on Options (9) or Document (10) or somewhere else by now. You mean the Quick Layers palette? No. Active Layer.

This palette does exactly one thing, and I use it for exactly one purpose. It switches between the default state of 'Individually Set Layers' and the weird state of 'One Active Layer for al Element Types'. That is, it can set all the tools to the same layer in one go. And it can put them all back to the layers they had.

No, I wouldn't want all the tools on one layer, ever. I don't know why they made this thing, but here's what it's good for. Attribute Manager will report that a layer is in use if it is the current default of a tool. So you can't really tell if an element is on the layer or not.

So, use Active Layer to set all the tools to the Archicad layer. Set the palette to 'One Layer' and then set any tool to the Archicad layer.

(The other source of phony checkmarks in Attribute Manager is Favorites.)

When you close the Active Layer palette, or close a project where all the tools are 'One Layer', you'll get a dialog asking if you want to keep the One Layer, or Revert to the individual layers. You should choose Revert. (Of course, if you've deleted most of the layers, there's nothing to revert to, but it doesn't matter.)

It is not possible to delete the entire Favorite list at one time. You can only delete them one at a time, which, if you have a lot, no thanks.

But you can write over the entire Favorites list with another list. If this list happened to have, say, one item on it, well that would be pretty easy to delete.

We have the Favorites file 'Blank.prf' for this purpose. It resides at 3 Resources / AC / Favorites. It consists of a Favorite for the Hotspot tool, Archicad layer, pen 10, that's it.

On the flyout on the Favorites palette, choose 'Load Favorites', and open the Blank.prf file. You will get a dialog offering to merge or replace the current list. You want to replace. (Merge adds the new list to the old.)

Delete that hotspot fave and you've got your blank slate.

Why delete the Favorites? It helps clean out attributes. Attribute Manager will report that an attribute is in use if it is part of a Favorite. With no Favorites, it's one less place to look before you're sure you can delete something.

And of course you can clear them temporarily. Save the Favorites you are using, clear them, do whatever you need to do, then load your saved list back.