On Land

Environment Information
At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on Mac OS X. 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 2015 Archive

Leads and pending projects should be placed in 1 Projects / zPending.

These are projects which have no modeling or design data with them. They might be just a proposal.

When a pending project actually begins, create the project folder as normal. Drag any documents in the pending folder to the new project folder. The proposal belongs in '3 Contract & Correspondence / Proposal'. Trash the project's 'pending' folder.

If a project does not go forward, we will move it to 5 Past Projects as part of our quarterly project cleanup.

All the typical layouts (that I can think of) are blocked up in the project templates. Developing the layouts consists mostly of framing the plan, tuning up the section/elevations, and arranging the drawings on the sheets.


Location: 01 General / 1 Graphic Symbols

Shape Tag
A shape with a text block in it. While working on the labels in 19 post, I realized I had never posted the recent updates or the label version.

The shapes are square, rectangle, triangle, circle, ellipse, oval, diamond, hexagon, pointed box, and roundrect. The roundrect has authentic iOS proportions.

The rectangle, oval, hexagon, and roundrect will elongate to accommodate the text, if the Stretch for Text parameter is on. The square will turn into a rectangle.

The Height parameter refers to the vertical dimension. The Length Factor parameter is multiplied by the height to get the length of the rectangle, ellipse, oval, and roundrect shapes. If Stretch for Text is on, the length is overridden by the text length.

The text, by default, is the global ID of the object. You can also choose to enter a custom text.

The size of the text can be set by points, millimeters, or as a fraction of the shape height. All these parameters are hooked together, so when you switch among them the actual height stays the same.

There is a value list for the font, and you can enter any font name. The text can be shown bold, italic, underlined, or any combination.

The Mask parameter will make the shape opaque white, using the 'Solid' Fill and White Pen parameters.

The Shape Label is simply a label version of the same thing. When placed as an associated label, the ID displayed is that of the labeled element. Placed independently, you need custom text.

Download here.

Archicad 19 brings substantial changes to the label tool. Labels are a key component of automatic annotation, so improvements are always welcome.

The biggest change is multiple labels on a single element in a given viewpoint. Since you can place more than one label, the Label Elements checkbox is illogical and has been removed. Therefore, the per-element-type pre-setup of the label tool has also been removed. To label an element, set up the tool like you would any other, and click on the element.

Labels can be associated or independent. For labels this is considered part of the geometry method, though the G shortcut doesn't work. This isn't new, but let's review.

Independent labels are often text, but they don't have to be. Many of the labels in the label chooser are meant to be associated and will display nothing, or nothing useful, or a warning about being unavailable for independent labels.

Associated labels move when the element is moved, and can display information about the element. There are new labels in the Archicad library designed to display many kinds of element properties. Take a look at General Label 19 to see some of the possibilities. Associated labels can also be text.

Expect more kinds of labels. Expect to place more labels. Expect more label favorites.

There's an inverted pointer option for ceilings in section.

They added a 'Simple' and 'Detailed' option to the geometry method. Simple places the label with one click, with the default pointer shape. Detailed lets you draw the pointer with three clicks. Detailed will be the right choice for us in almost every case; they could have left this feature out.

There is a new button to turn the pointer off and on. It's a big improvement on the old, very counter-intuitive, 'Use symbol arrow' checkbox. You can turn off the pointer for any label, including text. So you can have a bare text element that's actually a label.

There is a pre-selection highlight on label-able elements with the label tool active. (The level dimension tool has the same thing.) Cmd+tab works as you would expect to cycle through a stack of elements.

A lot of the new labels in the Archicad library are proof-of-concept. You can easily call out the composite of a wall, but is that composite name suitable for output annotation? Informing the user and informing the builder are not the same thing. It will take time to work through these issues. I would like to automatically label more things. In the future, everything will be automatically labeled, but this is not the future.

This is a big update to labels, but there are still frustrating limitations that we will be stuck with until the next big update.

The settings dialog has a graphical chooser that's more like the object tool, but it still doesn't show you the folders. A digression:

When a library part is superseded by a new version, I move the old one to an "xOld" folder outside the normal category folders. The xOld folder is in the loaded libraries. This means placed instances of the old object continue to work, but when you look in the category folder, you see the new one. If you're using an object and you notice it's in the xOld folder, that tells you there's a new version. But some tools (the markers, all of them) don't show you the folders, so all the parts are piled into one dumb list. So I can't sort-of hide old labels and markers from the user.

The only material improvement in the new label chooser is the appearance of preview image icons, which, I guess is sort of nice? But they should have just had it match the typical library parts. And because labels are a bigger deal now, there will be more of them, in a longer and longer dumb list.

Another disappointment is the lack of an option to align the pointer with the vertical center of the top or bottom line of text in a multi-line label. And you still can't work around this with GDL, because the scripted symbol is automatically shifted according to the pointer alignment. This is graphically bad, but I am very near throwing in the towel and aligning all labels to the middle. If they didn't fix it in this update, they're never going to fix it. Sometimes you have to smooth the workflow at the expense of graphic standards. Which is a whole topic on its own.

They fixed the, let's call it, mirrored placement bug. But actual mirroring is still wrong. At least now the ghost bounding box shows you what's actually going to happen, even though it's not what you want. (Only the angled part of the pointer is mirrored.)

They made it impossible to accurately place a pointerless associated label on the first try. Example: Door or window tag in section/elevation. But that is probably a bug.

If there is another big update to labels, the next thing to wish for is placing a detail marker as an associated label.

These guidelines are current as of Archicad 19.


When dimensioning, strive for stunning, perfect, complete, beautiful clarity. I'm serious.