ArchiCAD 17It’s that time of year again. ArchiCAD 17 has been out for a few weeks. Many of us have now had a chance to find the things we love, dislike, and are surprised by. Some of those changes have been marketed via videos, press releases, and at events all across the globe. But others not so much. There are a lot of little tweaks in every version of ArchiCAD that don’t get top billing. Or any billing at all. Yet some of these changes are huge and exciting for us geeky, obsessive users. As much as we love the big splashy changes—Shells, Morphs, and now Building Materials—it’s often the little things that make the big difference in our daily routines. Looking back, was the killer feature of ArchiCAD 9 an improved Quick Selection? Anytime I have to work in ArchiCAD 8.1 (it’s been two years since the last time), I sure think so. Can you imagine not having Quick Selection? The pain of not just doubling clicking on text… seriously not the grandest change, but what a daily blessing.

ArchiCAD 17I’ve been writing posts about these changes for three versions now; the others are over on Shoegnome.

If you haven’t read those posts, you should check out all the Little Changes in ArchiCAD 15 and ArchiCAD 16. I bet you’ll learn a thing or two. Enough introduction… on to all the little unadvertised changes in ArchiCAD 17!

Edit Selected Complex ProfileDid you know about the tweaks to working with Complex Profiles that are in my customized marketing images? Right Click to edit means no more searching through long lists of Complex Profiles. Just select the Complex Profile in any view, right click, and then choose Edit Selected Complex Profile. That’s going to be a time saver. Also note that this works for regular composites as well. So great. Right click to edit is wonderful, but Apply Changes not turning a placed Complex Profile to Custom is a BIM Manager’s dream come true. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to both fix tons of Custom Complex Profiles in someone else’s file, and then explain to them what they were doing wrong. Never again. Hurray! Just one of many changes to ArchiCAD 17 that BIM Managers will love. Which is good because Building Materials, while a great advancement, are also going to take up a lot of time as we get everyone used to the new way. I think. In the end we won’t miss life without Building Materials, but now it means all of us with Custom Templates have a lot of work to do. But don’t worry. You don’t have to go through the Template revamp process allow. I either have one or two projects starting up very soon, or no projects in process or coming. And that means either way it’s time to take my Template to ArchiCAD 17. Stay tuned for plenty of posts documenting the process.

ArchiCAD 17 Profile ManagerWhat are your favorite undocumented or under promoted advances in ArchiCAD 17? Or what have you noticed? Share them in the comments below or on this ArchiCAD-Talk User Forum Thread (which already includes an extended list of other features including Symbol Line Types in all composites).

For a list of the official BIG changes to ArchiCAD 17, here’s a link.

side note: sorry for the dearth of posts the last two months. I was moving with my wife and kids from St. Paul, Minnesota to Newton, Massachusetts. But that’s all done now. We’re settled and happily living on the East Coast (for now). Speaking of which, if you’re in the Northeast, especially in New England, let’s connect and talk all things ArchiCAD.


  1. Brad

    I love the door and window placement. Actually seeing and it’s orientation before placing it saves tons of time and frustration.

    Building materials is baffling, huge and I don’t know what its there For. maybe its advantages will be evident but for now it has me all screwed up. And I don’t get the point of it.

    • Armian

      Since You can costumize thermal datas of the materials (and there are a plenty of preset, too), for example You can think on a building as a complex energy system… If You care for these properties, You can design not just the building but the heat system, too with the help of the Energy Evaluation tool.

  2. brad

    And one more thing. Now if a wall or object is within some mystery range of a story it changes the “home story” which means it may not show up where you want it to. if you go and change the Home story designation it moves the elevation of the object up a story and then you try to put it back where you want it and it changes the home story again. I now am having to fight and argue with archicad, and it’s winning. I hate this “feature” please tell me there is a simple override, not a complicated workaround.

    • Larry

      Brad, I have encountered this quite a bit on roofs. My work around is to open the settings dialog box, copy the elevation above project zero, change the story that it is located on, and finally paste the elevation above zero back in. But, I agree, it really should be possible to lock an object to the story that you want it on.

      • Jared Banks

        This definitely seems like a glitch of some sort (or at least some big tweak that we’re all missing). I’ll report it to the developers and see what they have to say. Off to send that e-mail now!

        • Jared Banks

          Actually now that I’ve looked at it… I don’t think this is a glitch. Roofs (And slabs) are now more intelligently linked to stories. SO the roof or slab doesn’t see itself as 35′ above zero it sees itself as 35′ above it’s home story. So the heights are relative, not absolute. This in the grander sense is logical because if you change the story height you want the roof to move with it.

          By changing the roof’s home story you are saying it’s no longer 35′ above story A but 35′ above story B. What you were used to was it always being 35′ above Zero (Regardless of home story).

          The way around this is to note the height above zero before changing the home story. Or maintaining the home story and just changing the display options. The reason to maintain the home story is to think about how you want the slab or roof to move. You want the slab or roof to move with the first story, but show on the second story? Then link to 1st and set the display options to show only on one above.

          I’ll aim to write a blog post shortly that shows examples and talks about this all some more. Since it’s a good question/topic and is a great example of how ArchiCAD is changing in good ways, but only if we understand the how and why of the change.

          FINALLY… I don’t see an override. And I think long term we might not want an override, but I’ve already got the e-mail out to the developers. SO I’ll see what they have to say and report back.

  3. Jared Banks

    Brad, I haven’t watched it yet, but have you viewed this video by Eric Bobrow talking about Building Materials? I’m assuming it’s worth the time to watch it:

    I’ll also be writing about Building Materials soon. Hopefully even a bit next week. They are a big change, but they are going to be great once we’re all used to them. Not sure about the home story funkiness. Almost sounds like a glitch? Have you experimented with linking the walls to stories for top and bottom (you can set the wall to link to say story 2 and have it stop 1-2 feet below that if you want).

    I’ll know more next week! 🙂

  4. Geo

    I also experienced what brad said. What he meant: for example you have a slab on first floor, but you want it to be visible only on the second floor while remaining in the same place (first floor). With a17 when you change the home story (as we did in previous version) it moves the slab on the story selected. Can we change that setting somehow?

  5. Jared Banks

    Good and great news about this all.

    Here’s what I learned:

    With the home story, you can use “relink home story” via the context menu (right click menu that is accessible from any view). This won’t move the element. Also, in the next hotfix will be adding back the AC16 function in the tracker. it’s mentioned in a tread already on AC-Talk:

    (that should start the long thread at Katalin’s comment about the upcoming fix/tweak/revision).

    Hope that all helps. I’ll still aim to write something more official about all this.

    • Geo

      Thanks. That did the trick.

  6. Jerry

    You can copy elements by using “cmd+D” and than multiply by “alt” also in sections! 😀

    I didn’t find out of you can show zones stamp in the sections

  7. Claudia de Goede

    Hi Jerry, I attended the AC 17 Webinar. And asked the question about the zone stamps in section/elevation. They replayed “they are working on it” so I guess it will be there in the next version.

    • Jerry

      Great! 🙂

      • Jared Banks

        Jerry and Claudia,

        If you need zone stamps in sections now, there is a way to do it. Are you aware of Simple Addons? Here’s their site:

        They have an add-on for showing zone info in sections and elevations. You can download all their add-ons and test them out before you buy them (insanely cheap by the way). Doesn’t look like they’ve updated the add-ons for 17 yet though.

  8. Victor Baboi

    A great small thing is the way Archicad ganerates now the 3d model. It only makes the shell of a composite or complex profile, so it reduces the number of polygons you have to export and deal with in 3rd party rendring programs. This future is part of the new graphics engine.
    Also i love the copy in section/elevation future.

  9. Darren Bell

    Now that ArchiCAD has introduced separate dialogues for
    – Fills
    – Materials
    – Building Materials
    – Composites.

    I’m finding myself jumping around to set things up or make tweaks.
    What would be really useful in a future version would be to have all of this accessible in one place. Unless I have missed a trick and it already is…

    • Jared Banks

      Darren, you’re not missing anything and you’re not alone in wanting a more central location for editing. Or more connections between the attributes. What I do is keep the attributes toolbar (or is it palette, I always guess wrong) up on my screen at all times. Makes it very easy to open a given attribute type.

  10. Ralph Martin Architect

    Post & Beam house & placing windows between columns & beams?

    • Jared Banks

      Ralph, there’s two solutions. One would be to fill the spaces between the posts and columns with walls. Then put windows in those walls. That’s going to be cumbersome and annoying. The better solution is to model walls like in a normal project and place windows and doors in the walls. Then place columns and beams where they below. If the columns and beams (now with Building Materials!) have a stronger building material than the walls, they will take precedent over the walls in plan and section. If you are in ArchiCAD 16 or earlier, make sure the columns and beams have a higher priority number than the walls and you’ll get the same effect. Assuming the elements are all on layers with the same intersection group numbers (for AC 17 or AC 16 and earlier)

      So what’s cool about ArchiCAD 17 and building materials is that the solution for a post and beam house is much easier than in earlier versions.

      Let me know if you have more questions.

  11. Peter.H

    Hi Jared,
    Regarding the conversation back in July, about roofs and floor slabs linked to storeys, and absolute and relative positioning:
    You mentioned you were intending to do a write-up about it. Just thought you might want to include a mention about the complication that SEOs break in a hotlinked model when all the elements involved in the SEO are NOT assigned to the same storey (I think this is a bug that has been there since at least v12). So roofs that trim walls, for example, must have their home storey set to the same storey as the walls, but are usually not visible until the storey above, so a custom “Show on storeys” has to be set up.

  12. Peter.H

    …at least that’s still the case in v16. Not sure about v17, as I haven’t switched yet.

    • Jared Banks

      Peter, thanks for the reminder. I haven’t seen that behavior. I’ll check it out and include it.

  13. Patrick lende

    I was wondering if it would be possible to add a strength calculator in it. I mean something to tell us if the structure is strong enough or the floor need more support. I really believe a add on like this would definitely put you on the front row of the design software now a days.
    I was thinking in the lines like your having the with the energy evaluation
    Further more keep on going

  14. Armian

    I’m here for help. I want a profiled wall and put openings in it (windows, doors). That’s OK. But I can’t give composite structure property to it.

    Right. I acn use shell than… I can’t give doors and windows to it!!!

    Do You have any solution? One is to build up the profile with the composite layers with the “material fill”. But that is time consuming in most cases.

    The simplest would be to add the windows and doors to the shells. I’ve found a BIM window for shells but that is only one kind, and only window.

    Thank You!

    • Jared Banks

      I recommend asking your question on the ArchiCAD-Talk forum: That’s the best place for technical questions like this, especially because you can attach images to posts (for both questions and answers). That said…it sounds like what you want is to create a Complex Profile Wall. By the way, if the form needed to be done with a Shell, skylights can natively be in Shells. Also for strange forms, the Curtain Wall tool might be a good option.

      • Armian

        Thank You Your ideas!


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