At the end of the All the Little Changes in ArchiCAD 18 post I promised more articles focusing on some of the other subtle tweaks to ArchiCAD 18. Have you noticed the huge improvements to the default Zone Stamps? I have…

Zone Stamps

For years I’ve been using a particular 3rd party Object for Zone Stamps. It was (and still is) awesome; if you need to know which one, search around on Shoegnome. It’ll quickly become obvious which one I’m referring too. I used that other Zone Stamp because it did all the basics better and it also added functionality. In ArchiCAD 18 the Zone Stamp has been completely reworked and it’s time we all looked at it again. It holds a number of surprises. Whether you have been relying on 3rd party Objects like me or have just been happily using the Zone Stamps Graphisoft provided, it’s time to dig deeper and see how much more the new Zone Stamps can do. The following discussion focuses on the Zone_Stamp_1 18, though much of it also applies to Zone_Stamp_2 18.

  1. Fixed Zone Stamp Width. This is perhaps the most exciting new feature, from a graphic standpoint. We can now set a fixed Width Value for the Zone Stamp. This allows us to wrap text without tricks, cheats, or workarounds. We can get room names on plan to fit correctly and also display properly in Interactive Schedules (I am ashamed of the number of times I had to split room names between Zone Name and Zone ID to get it to read on plan correctly). Also, this defunct trick is no longer needed. But I bet 99.9% of ArchiCAD users never knew that cheat once worked.Wrapped Text
  2. Zone Stamps are now Scale Sensitive. Okay, this is another great new graphic feature. We can have the same Zone Stamp display differently at different scales. Much like other Objects (Windows and Doors for instance) can be scale sensitive, now Zone Stamps can be too. So the same Zone Stamp can show one set of information at 1/4″ = 1′-0″, another at 1/8″ = 1′-0″, and a third at 1/16″ = 1′-0″. It’d be great if we could set these breakpoints between scales, or add more, or just have them linked to Model View Options (which would be my preferred solution). But maybe someday. Regardless, Scale Sensitivity means we now have more control to intelligently show or hide information as we need it.Scale Sensitive
  3. Zone Stamps’ relation to the Anchor Point is also Scale Sensitive. While the Zone Stamp’s Anchor Point remains in the same location regardless of the scale, the relationship of the stamp to that Anchor Point can be customized for each of the three scales. This is pretty cool. So for 1:50, the stamp can be centered on the Anchor Point, at 1:100 it can be set to top middle, and at 1:200 it can be a third alignment. While this doesn’t give us complete freedom to move the stamp around other elements that might be in the way as the scale changes, my hunch is that it’ll give us enough flexibility to have the stamp shift up, down, left, and right to meet most, if not all of our needs.Zone Stamp Anchor Point
  4. So much available Content to Display. So easy to assign and work with. New graphic features are nice. But new metadata and digital approximation data display is what really adds value to the new Zone Stamps. Look back at the image I used for point two. We have fourteen customizable lines of information we can add to the Zone Stamp for each of the three levels of Scale Sensitivity. So for 1/4″ plans you might show just the Zone Name and Number while for 1/8″ plans you might show the Zone ID and the occupancy load. Yes, the Zone Stamp will now calculate occupancy load based on area plus additional occupants, or a fixed number of occupants, if you’d prefer. In the Zone_Stamp_2 18 there is also a calculation for price based on area or volume.So much new content
  5. Display any IFC Parameter linked to the Zone. I told you we’d be talking a lot about IFC. Graphisoft is really pushing the integration of IFC into all aspects of ArchiCAD, and here is another great example. Under Additional Tags, you can choose to list, in any order you want, any IFC parameter that the Zone has. This means, because of the power of IFC data within ArchiCAD, you can link and show just about anything you need. Very cool. My gut says we all owe a certain UK based architect a big thanks for pushing to have this included in the out of the box zone stamps.IFC properties in zone stamp

There’s plenty more awaiting you in the reworked Zone Stamps, so check out the features I discussed above and then do some exploring of your own. As you’re browsing around the Zone Selection Settings, you’ll probably notice how much easier it is to navigate. The cleaning up and unification of tabs within the various dialog boxes that occurred between ArchiCAD 17 and 18 is very much apparent when cycling through all the new options within the Zone Stamp.


Okay, here’s a bonus IFC lesson for you. If you want to show the Zone Category in your Zone Stamp, one good way to do it is to show the Category (Pet_SpaceCommon) IFC parameter (see image above). That parameter is locked and automatically linked to the Zone Category. The reason for that connection is due to the greater needs of IFC coordination and COBie requirements, but it also makes displaying data for something simple like a Zone Stamp easy. So the next time you want to display your Zone Categories on a plan, try using the IFC route. It’ll be an easy step towards the demystification and mastery of IFC.

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  1. Jason Smith

    Hi Jared
    V17 Zone stamp has most of your points already. The int version only had one option for zone stamp type. I could not work out how to load another type either.

    • Jared Banks

      Jason, now that you mention it I vaguely remember the INT zone stamp being ahead of the USA one. Thanks for the reminder. I forgot to check when writing the post (this is one of the reasons I always load both the USA and INT versions)! Regardless I bet plenty of INT users didn’t look at the change from 16 to 17.

  2. Michael Montgomery

    Hey Jared
    Somewhat related question working with zones and modules .. Had this issue pop up today. We work on a lot of apartment buildings where we use modules of the interior fit out for similar apartments over various floors. Is there a way to utilise a zone so I can label my doors within each apartment by floor and apartnent number? That is the same apartment layout exists on level 1 and level 2 and we’d reference them with a zone as apartment 101 and 201. Can I have say a bedroom door from my module automatically number itself as D1/101 and then D1/201?

    • Jared Banks

      Michael, I don’t have ArchiCAD open at the moment so I can’t be super specific, but yes you can (as of ArchiCAD 17) do what you’re looking to do. But it is a result of Modules, not Zones. Here’s the help center link.

      Basically you can give each instance of the placed module a master ID and have that ID appended to all the elements (Doors, Windows, Objects, Zones) within. It’s just a matter of setting up your labeling structure to work well with that (so that all elements within the module that need to be labeled end up with a coherent ID). Hope that makes sense.

    • TomPansing

      In door settings you can have doors reference zone into which they swing

      /Users/thomaspansing/Desktop/Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 9.10.53 PM.png

  3. Marko Zeko

    I would like to have zone stamp sensitive to model view settings.
    I have two different ways of showing data in one scale.
    In early stages of project I show only zone number, while in permit documentation I need zone number. zone name, area and flooring. Both stages are in same scale 1:100.
    Now I switch between those two using different favorites, but would be nice if I could connect that to model view settings.

  4. Bjarne

    I think the zone still needs to be improved. For example: I make a masterplan for a large shopping centre. Lets say I have one hundred shops that I need to puzzle together by changing sizes and moving them around. Each shop need only one zone and with unique information on price, rent, size etc.

    What I need is to present different layouts depending on who’s going to see the masterplan information, therefore the same zone need to be able to present itself with different colors for each information text. For example all shops that is fixed in the planning has a colour green, not fixed is red, high rent is blue, low rent is grey and so on.

    I want to make maybe ten different masterplans with unique colour schemes from the the one zone. I can of course make ten different zones for each shop, but when you have 100 shops that is moving around changing size, it’s not that fun to have a thousand zones to control…


  5. Scott Graham

    So close…!

    The killer feature of the MS Zone Stamp is the multi-position AND size options linked to the MVOs. The adjustable anchor point is a start, but not good enough.

    As I recall, a few years ago, Jared, you’d mentioned a wish for multi-story zone spaces. That’s also an overdue feature.

    Bravo to GS for going back and starting to refine it’s older tools and teach them new tricks!

  6. tõnis

    Where the heck is the Zone Stamp alignment dropdown hidden in version 18?
    In Zone Selection Settings/ Settings / Appearance (1:200) I can only align Numeric and Text Values, but not the Stamp as a whole like yr screenshots show.

    • Jared Banks

      If I understand your question: to get the Zone Stamp as a whole aligned in the Zone, you need to do it manually. There are some easy ways to do that. Move the Zone stamp to a corner then move it half-way to the other corner using Special Snap Constraint. If you aren’t familiar with that, check the help center. It’s a fantastic tool, made even better in 19.

  7. Ryan

    We have the Total Zone from master script, but it’s from version 16. I think Graphisoft should really incorporate the Model View display options into their zone. It seems like a feature that should be included. The need for moving the zone to a different location for each view is pretty common and instead of needing to use a 3rd party zone that requires an “add on” it would be nice t have it standard.

    • Jared Banks

      I totally agree. Total Zone (And total marker) are beautiful tools that I haven’t seen equaled. The MVO capabilities are fantastic. I would love to see this developed further OOTB. Or baring that, I’d love to see Jeroen have time to update his tools for ARCHICAD 20.


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