Today ArchiCAD notified me that my ArchiCAD Library was out-of-date and then asked me if I’d like to download the latest version. I said yes and followed the installer prompts to update. Why was my Library out of date? Last night I repaired my version of ArchiCAD 17 (it needed fixing because my computer crashed during the installation of a Hotfix) and the repaired version didn’t have any Hotfixes or Library Updates applied. I’ve dealt with something similar before. I knew what was needed.

Do you know how to repair an installed version of ArchiCAD? Here are the steps:

  1. Be calm when ArchiCAD no longer functions properly.
  2. Insert the install disc (if you have one) or download ArchiCAD.
  3. Launch the Installer.
  4. Since you have ArchiCAD installed, the Installer will ask you if you want to repair your current installation.
  5. Click Next and wait while ArchiCAD magically fixes itself.
  6. If that doesn’t work, call Tech Support (but still don’t panic).

ArchiCADThe moral of this story is two-fold. Stay calm; always stay calm while problem solving. Otherwise…you’re not problem solving. You’re problem panicking. If you are problem solving, you need something to problem solve with. If you are still DVD based, keep that DVD somewhere sacred. This is critical for ancient versions of ArchiCAD. Within the last month I had a user e-mail me about where to find some ArchiCAD 6.5 install CDs. I had no good news for him. The best I could suggest was for him to find another long time user who might still have the CDs on the shelf. I reminded him that ArchiCAD 6.5 was almost 15 years old and that I bet GRAPHISOFT North America probably didn’t have more than one copy sitting somewhere for sentimental reasons. So keep your installation discs safe and handy. Don’t lose them in the move.

If you are all-digital now, keep the installation files on your work machine or server. Don’t worry, your hard drive has plenty of space. Two, three, four years from now if you need to work in ArchiCAD 16 (to tweak a project that you didn’t want to migrate) and your version goes bad, you need to be able to repair it (or install it on a new machine). Of course if you are confident that you’ll have a good Internet connection (which is more or less a given these days), you can just download the old installation files from To access old versions here’s what you do:

  1. Log-in to (or register if you haven’t already).
  2. go to: Replace the XX with the version number you need. So for ArchiCAD 16, you’d type …/profile/ac16.aspx.
  3. Download.
  4. Follow the steps above to repair or install the old version.

This trick currently works back to ArchiCAD 12. Who knows if that’ll remain true moving forward. So if you NEED ArchiCAD 12 for some reason and don’t have the DVDs, I recommend you download that sooner rather than later. It’s also worth noting that this technique gives you access to other language versions of previous ArchiCAD versions, if you want to try those out in demo mode. Or if you want to see what another version’s library looks like.

In short, regardless of the version of ArchiCAD you use, be responsible for having access to that version of ArchiCAD. Always. You know, until your machine dies and you can’t find a machine that can run such an old version of ArchiCAD. Oh and there are a few older versions of ArchiCAD you can download. Here’s a link to the File Converters.

Mistakes I made when I was Young

These events got me thinking about my early days of using ArchiCAD and some mistakes I made. For awhile when I was first a BIM manager I wouldn’t use the ArchiCAD Library in its default location. I’d make a copy of it and keep that copy as a subfolder in my Company ArchiCAD Library. In this Company ArchiCAD Library I’d keep the main AC Library and any custom libraries we had. I’d also have a project specific library in the project folder. This was all a mistake. By not using the ArchiCAD Library in its default location, I was losing the functionality of ArchiCAD to check for updates in my library. I had to either use outdated libraries or manually update all the libraries on all the users’ computers (about 16 people at the time). What a waste of my time. Now I’ve wised up and keep the ArchiCAD Library untouched in its original location and then have a smaller Company ArchiCAD Library in another location (a local spot rather than on the server since when I was working for a larger firm we were all on laptops and always traveling about). This means I also recommend not adding stuff TO the default ArchiCAD Library. Just leave it be. Also the project specific libraries have essentially disappeared because of embedded objects.

Reading through this ArchiCADwiki article, I have a feeling I’m still not doing things the best way. Looks like when I finally update my template, I’ll have to turn my standard company custom library into an .LCF file. Makes a lot of sense. Sounds like I have some work to do, and another post to write. Since we’re on the topic, who’s got some good Library management advice? I’m guessing there’s even more I’m missing.

Your Turn

What about you? What dumb things did you do when you were a young ArchiCAD genius who knew everything? What were you doing the hard way? Or what do you fear you’re still doing wrong today? And yes while there are often multiple right answers, there are definitely wrong ones. Like putting floor slabs on their own stories (so that you have stories like this: first floor slab, first floor walls, first floor ceiling, second floor structure, etc…). I worked with a user who made ArchiCAD files that way. What a pain. We got into a big argument when I refused to make last minute changes to a project that he’d created in such a manner. Fortunately he no longer thinks this is such an amazing solution.


You know about the switch to only digital downloads for future versions of ArchiCAD, right? Well unless you want to pay for a DVD souvenir… Here’s a link.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking to meet other ARCHICAD users? Why not come along to one of our upcoming User Groups!  VIEW DETAILS