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.