In the previous post we talked about hotlinked markers in your multi-page PDFs. Today let’s talk about some other implications and possibilities of a multi-page PDF created from the Publisher in ArchiCAD. Imagine you’re laying out your sheets to work well digitally first, and print second. Instead of putting as many drawings on a sheet as possible, you have reasons based on increased functionality and usability to perhaps do one section or elevation per sheet. Doing so will make the hyperlinked marker from the floor plan (or whatever view a linked marker is placed on) open up a sheet with only one view. It becomes obvious what that marker is pointing to. And with back references on that subsequent view, getting back to the plan is just as easy. The old way wasn’t bad, but this has the potential to be even better.
The Publisher in ArchiCAD is going to convince you to try something new.
Giving each major drawing or view its own sheet will make the hyperlinks more useful, but regular navigation gets a bit more complex (more sheets means more to manually sift through when you’re not using the hyperlinks within the drawings to navigate the set). Fortunately the way ArchiCAD creates PDFs via the Publisher solves this problem, if you know what you’re doing. The Publisher in ArchiCAD turns both subsets and individual layouts into bookmarks in the outputted PDFs. This is awesome. It makes jumping between sheets amazingly easy. And all your organizational logic that was in the ArchiCAD file is preserved. Which, as a BIM Manager, I geek out about because it means that a well organized project (ie, a good template) will yield a well organized set of documents; finally what we BIM Managers do behind the scenes to make daily working life easier trickles down to the contractor and client.
Done properly both layout books and publisher sets are easy to create and maintain. And this should remove a lot of the work that is traditionally associated with sheeting and arranging drawings. Automate as much as possible. Place layouts in Subsets (the Layout book’s term for folders). Auto-number subsets by their order in the Hierarchy of Subsets. Propagate their numbering system down into their sheets.
This will mean every sheet made is automatically numbered and ordered correctly. Your sheets should be labeled as (discipline) (series) (sheet number). For instance architectural plans should be the A100 series, structural plans should be the S100 series, etc. I don’t really care if elevations are A200 or A300 or A400. But they should be A#00. Why? Because it makes ordering sheets so amazingly easy. Need a new sheet? It slips right in without any fuss. It is true that with everything auto-numbered, adding one sheet or fifty sheets isn’t an issue. And everything updates automatically. But just because sheet A30 can easily become A31, doesn’t mean there’s not a better way to handle sheet numbering. Back to the point: if you put your layouts in subsets, when you make the PDFs any new drawing is already in the correct Bookmark for easy finding. See the two images earlier in the post. Note that in those images of the Publisher Set and PDF Bookmarks, all of the numbers you can see are automatic. Nothing is overridden or done manually once the initial logic is set up. If you find there’s a sheet that doesn’t fit in your automatic logic, change your logic or change your sheet to make it work. Every time you override a sheet number, drawing number, or drawing title (drawing titles should be linked to the placed view, more on that another time), the overall value of your data is diminished. I’ve recorded a video over on Shoegnome that talks more about all this layout book organization, if you’re craving more details or some related information.
In the next post I’ll present the argument for a detail on a sheet being labeled with both a number and a sheet number (or a unique searchable number).