Category Archives: How to:

Some alternative and creative uses for the window object – Wall Niche Rectangular

There are a number of instances where a tool or object in ARCHICAD can be used for other purposes than its name suggests. For example the slab tool can be used to represent any horizontal element like floating shelfs, countertops, flooring etc.

Lets look at repurposing the Wall Niche Rectangular # object. It is placed using the Window Tool (# denotes available in previous versions of ARCHICAD, not just 22).

To represent Control or Expansion joints in masonry wall construction.

Wall Niche Rectangular 22 Plan.png

Some “fun” parameter facts:

Depth ≥ 1mm.

Width ≥ 1mm

Height ≥ 1mm

Control or Expansion joint.png

Changing its surface to a different material.

Wall Niche Rectangular settings.png

Wall Niche Rectangular 22 .png



This topic is about what the difference one additional parameter can make.

For ARCHICAD 22, GRAPHISOFT have updated all the Hinged Doors 22 by adding an additional glass parameter. This would be as a result of myself (& possibly others) submitting this request to GRAPHISOFT HQ for consideration.

Why is this so important you might be asking yourself. As far as I am aware it is currently undocumented as we are still waiting for ARCHICAD 22 Small Improvements to be released.

In previous versions of ARCHICAD the user did not have control over being able to separate the surface for door leaf / sidelight / transom.

Screen Shot doors AC20.png

But now with the inclusion of being able to separate Leaf Glass and Sash Glass it allows the use of standard ARCHICAD doors to take a new turn.

Screen Shot doors AC22

In residential architecture the user can now easily represent such an entrance door, without the need to model a custom door panel.


For this example I selected Door Leaf Type = H-V Grid and selected different surfaces for the Leaf Glass & Sash Glass.


How it represents in 3D window using OpenGL.

Screen Shot AC22 FRONT DOOR 3D

Last but not least some examples of doors replicated from a catalogue to save out as favorites.


How to: Butt Jointed Glass Windows in ArchiCAD

I recently received an e-mail requesting help to make a corner window with butt jointed glass. This has been possible since ArchiCAD 14 but apparently not all users are aware of this.

Go to the Corner-Window tool and open up the “Corner-Window Settings” dialogue. Select “Ribbon Window 16” from the Special Windows 16 Folder. Then from the “Special Windows Settings” tab enable the tick for “Custom Corner Right”, and in the drop down change the option to “Glass”. Then set all the other parameters for the size, frame, materials, sill etc… Click “OK” to close the window.

Now click on the wall close to the corner (but not on the corner), this will generate the corner window to both adjoining walls.

As seen in the 3D Window.

Another example is the requirement for a curved wall with segmented butt jointed glass window.

Please note: one needs to establish the angle between the walls.

Insert this into both “Custom Corner Left” & “Custom Corner Right”.

As seen in the 3D Window

How to: Add Door / Window Markers to Elevations or Sections

In this example I have placed 6 windows in a wall and applied the Dimension Marker = “W Marker 16”.Now open any relevant section / elevation on which you want to display the window numbering. Then open the Label Tool > “Label Default Settings” window.Select “Window Tool” > “Curtain Wall DW Label 16”. Change the Marker Geometry to suite your needs. Click “OK” to close the window. Select all windows in the elevation by selecting the Window Tool and Ctrl + A (Win) or Command + A (Mac). Open the “Window Default Settings”.Under the tab “Listing and Labeling” check the box “Label Window”. Click “OK” to close. You should now see the window markers on elevation. Please note that you can adjust the position of the markers.

Modular Joinery Object on

Modular Joinery Object (MJO) for ArchiCAD 16, is now available to all users on Software Subscription Agreement (SSA). To download it launch ArchiCAD 16, open up the “Door/ Window Default Settings”, and search for ‘modular’ with the option “On BIM Components Portal” or “Both” selected. Then select the Modular Door/ Window object and click on the button “Download and Embed” at the bottom. Please note: You need to do this in both “Window Default Settings” and “Door Default Settings”.

Thanks to our partners at GRAPHISOFT UK, who commissioned Ralph Wessel of Encina Ltd. to create a window/door/panel/storefront/curtain wall GDL object, called Modular Joinery, for kindly making it available for Southern Africa users on SSA contract. Special thanks go to Simon Gilbert from GRAPHISOFT UK, who assisted me with this process, and of course Levente Filetóth and his team at GRAPHISOFT HQ.

MJO allows for amazing complexity and unifies both window and door options into one Object. MJO for ArchiCAD 16 also includes an update. This update has now been extended to incorporate typical uPVC and timber profiles along with improved representations enabling the objects to be used in conjunction with the default library of doors and windows in ArchiCAD. Download the “Modular Joinery update.pdf” for more details.

Modular Joinery update

Download the “Modular Joinery Manual. pdf” for help with using MJO.

Modular Joinery Manual

For a “quick guide” to using MJO please refer to the following two images:

How to: Display dimensions in “mm” & areas in “m2”

A common request I receive is “how do I get my dimensions to show in mm and my areas to show as m2”.

The first thing I refer to is the fact that views in the “Navigator -View Map” control the output of dimensions.

Under the tab “2D/3D Documents” there is an option for “Dimensions:”. The default option is set to “Plain Meter”. If one changes this to “Plain Millimeter” then both dimensions and area are displayed as such. The solution is to set your own dimension preference using the Project Preferences. To do this from the Menu > Options > Project Preferences > Dimensions…

Select the option “Plain Millimeter” but change the button “Area Calculations” = to “meter”. This will then display name as “Custom”.

You can rename “Custom” by clicking on “Store as…”. In this example I called it “Dim = mm & Area = m2”.

If you now return to your floor plan you will see the result.The last important step is to open up the “View Settings” and change “2D/3D Documents” > Dimensions to “Dim = mm & Area = m2”. This will then control the display of dimensions and areas to your specification.

How to export ArchiCAD Models for Graphisoft BIM Explorer without the need for a parachute!

The instructions for saving from ArchiCAD to Graphisoft BIMx are relatively simple:

1) Open the project in AC15 and check the consistency of the model and the surface textures before starting the export process. Note that you can’t modify the 3D model and the surface materials in BIM Explorer.

2) Open the 3D window (perspective or axonometric views).

3) Launch the File/ Export for BIM Explorer command.

4) The Export for BIM Explorer status window opens.

5) Once the export process is finished, click on the Launch button.

6) The BIM Explorer application starts automatically and the exported model is loaded into the program’s memory.

If you follow these steps you might just experience induced vertigo for yourself or your client, if following step 2 blindly. The reason I say this is that the person who wrote these instructions made some assumptions that you will figure out the fact that you need to set the camera for the 3D Window (be it perspective or axonometric) to be close to the ground. If you didn’t  you most probably will experience a period of free fall (without a parachute).

As per the screenshot below showing the Perspective Settings window the Camera Z height is 85892 and the Target Z 11299. If one then saves this to BIMx, with the opening screen the viewer will appear to be free falling to earth. Worse than this is the fact that the viewer will initially be looking at the ground, until they figure out that if they move their mouse then they can control what they are looking at.

Rather as per the screenshot below choose a more appropriate view that you want to start your introduction with for the BIMx model. A recommendation is to set both the Camera Z and Target Z to the same “eye” height. Which would give you a 2 point perspective.

I chose 1600mm as this is the default camera height in BIMx. Therefore using these settings instead of arbitrarily chosen settings  for the “opening scene” in BIMx the viewer will be “standing on the ground” facing the building without the fear of “falling” into the scene.

Wall intersection issue/ control of – creative use of the Polygonal Wall

Sometimes when dealing with certain configuration of wall intersections, a problem can occur with the correct display of “tricky” intersections. In this example 4 walls joining create an intersection with an overlap. Changing the reference line of the walls by inverting them can sometimes help. But one can waste time trying out different permutations and in this instance I want control over the ‘sharp’ corners. A much overlooked, simpler option is to make use of the polygonal wall.

For more information and instructions on the use of the polygonal wall visit my page ArchiCAD Help and use the context-sensitive Help system by searching for “polygonal wall”.

In this example I selected the polygonal wall and started tracing the outline of the intersection. Please note: that this method allowed me to control the construction of the sharp corners that would have been difficult to plaster.

Once completed I then trimmed back the other walls using the split command. To do this select the wall and then Command/ Ctrl click the edge to split, then delete the ‘fragment’ wall.

I was then left with a clean wall intersection that I had complete control over.

How to uninstall and reinstall CodeMeter or Wibukey drivers

As per a previous article “The Pros & Cons of CodeMeter License Borrowing” which explained the difference between a Wibukey and a CodeMeter key. It  highlighted the fact: Currently the full commercial version of ArchiCAD is licensed using WibuKey or CodeMeter hardware protection, allowing full functionality of the software. CodeMeter is currently the latest “model”.

There are times that it is important to update the driver for the WibuKey or CodeMeter due to a change made to your computer, for example installing a new Operating System. e.g. Upgrading your computer from Windows 7 Professional 32-bit to 64-bit or Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) to 10.7 (Lion). Another reason would be due to experiencing an inconsistency with functionality of the keyplug.

The first place to start would be to go to the Graphisoft webpage WibuKey and CodeMeter Driver and CodeMeter Enabler download this has:

  • The following WibuKey drivers were tested by Graphisoft to use with ArchiCAD version 7.0 to version 15.
  • The CodeMeter drivers were tested for ArchiCAD version 10 to version 15

But in certain circumstances (e.g. you experience a problem with the keyplug responding after applying a new OS System update) it might be necessary to download the driver directly from WIBU – User Software if directed to do so by a support consultant.

Uninstalling an “older” Wikukey or CodeMeter driver for Windows

From the Windows – Start menu > Control Panel – if you have:

“View by: Category” selected, then click on “Programs Uninstall a program”

“View by: Large icons” selected, then click on “Programs and Features”

Then in the list you will find: CodeMeter Runtime Kit OR WibuKey Setup (Wibukey Remove). It is possible to find both CodeMeter and WibuKey drivers installed on the same computer, including more than one driver listed, in which case select one by one to delete. N.B. before uninstalling or reinstalling the key plug must not be plugged into the computer. To uninstall > double click item in list – Confirm all prompts.

Once you have done this you can now proceed to install the new driver you downloaded. After you have done this it is a good idea to restart your computer (a prompt might appear to do this)  then you can plug your key plug back into any available USB slot.

Uninstalling an “older” Wikukey or CodeMeter driver for Mac OS X

The uninstaller for CodeMeter is called “CmUninstall”

The uninstaller for WIBU is called “WkUninstall”

N.B. For Mac OS X it does not matter if the key plug is connected to the computer or not, it makes no difference.


The Pros & Cons of CodeMeter License Borrowing

First some background

ArchiCAD requires a hardware protection key to run in unlimited “full” or “commercial” mode.

There have been different types of these hardware protection key over the years. Currently the full commercial version of ArchiCAD is licensed using WibuKey or CodeMeter hardware protection, allowing full functionality of the software. CodeMeter is currently the latest “model”. It is a USB device with a shiny metal body.

The previous “model” was called a Wibukey. The earlier version had a parallel port interface for PC or ADB port interface for Mac, with time a USB interface was introduced. Both the parallel port and USB version had a green plastic body.

Introduction to CodeMeter: 

CodeMeter key was introduced with ArchiCAD 13 in year 2009.

Changes in Software Protection System from ArchiCAD 13

For new ArchiCAD users, GRAPHISOFT provides the new CodeMeter protection key (developed by WIBU) with ArchiCAD 13+. Like the familiar WIBU-key protection system, you can use it to transfer the license from one machine to another.
If you use the CodeMeter NET key, you have the option to purchase the license borrowing feature from your ArchiCAD distributor. This feature lets users borrow a license for a limited time, without having to transfer the physical network protection key itself. Consult your distributor for details on how to purchase the various types of borrowable licenses.

CodeMeter can still run ArchiCAD 10, 11 & 12. But to do this a CodeMeter Enabler needs to be downloaded and installed. Click here!

License Borrowing

The License Borrowing feature – available only with the CodeMeter NET protection system – allows individual users to “borrow” a license key temporarily if they will be going off-site, to enable use of the software even when the license server is not accessible – e.g. when visiting the client or on a business trip. This technology significantly reduces the risk of a lost or stolen hardware key.

The user can borrow a license with a single click using the ArchiCAD interface, and return it before it expires so that other users can access it.

You can purchase borrowable licenses with your NET key up to the number of ArchiCAD licenses available in the key. E.g. if you have a NET-10 key, you can make any or all of the 10 licenses borrowable.

There are two types of license borrowing:

CodeMeter “Act” (Soft) License Borrowing: The borrowed license is represented by a license file on your computer – this license file is specific to the computer and cannot be transferred to another computer. After the borrowing period the license will automatically be released to the server. The license can also be manually released before the borrowing period is up. This license type is recommended for laptop users who wish to travel without a physical hardware protection key.
CodeMeter “Key” License Borrowing: The license is borrowed into a physical CodeMeter hardware key. This is recommended for users who wish to take a license away to be used on their home (or any other) computer. The advantage of this compared to having a single-license hardware key is that losing the key does not mean losing the license, as borrowed licenses are automatically returned to the server after the expiration date.

CodeMeter “Act” (Soft) License Borrowing (CMA) and CodeMeter “Key” License Borrowing (CMK) are two different products. Only one type of borrowable license is allowed per CodeMeter NET key. If you want to buy both “Act” and “Key” borrowable licenses, you need to have 2 separate Codemeter NET keys – although we do NOT recommend having two NET keys in the same local network.

CodeMeter protection known issues Click here!

CodeMeter Error Codes Click here!

CodeMeter and License borrowing – “DO NOT”

As long as any of the licenses are in borrowed state,

  • do not uninstall the CodeMeter driver 
  • do not change the server computer’s IP address or hostname
  • do not reinstall the operating system on the server
  • do not transfer the key into an other computer even with the same network specification

All of these can be done after all licenses are returned and after the changes are made borrowing can be used again. If the server key has been already corrupted: contact your local distributor.