Creating Concise Documentation, Part 2 (ArchiCAD Insights Tutorial)

31 Dec, 2006 By: Angi Izzi

Pens and colors, dimensioning preferences and scale.

This is the second installment in a series of tips to assist users in setting up drawings for concise and efficient documentation. The series consists of the following sections:

Archicad 10 allows for multiple pen sets, meaning you can use different pen sets depending on the scale, view, consultant or other elements of various drawings.

To view Archicad's Pen Sets dialog box, choose Document / Pen Sets / Pens & Colors. There are various pen sets available as defaults out of the box. These are the default pen sets from Archicad 9 and Archicad 10, and they are only a guide. You should set up several pen sets, customized for how you intend to work in Archicad.

Archicad's default pens and colors.

One pen set configuration turns all pens to black so when you are plotting drawings, you can instantly switch from colors that are viewable on screen to black-and-white for plotting. To set this up, use the Shift command to select all the pens; then choose Edit Color and change the pens to black.

Changing pens for plotting.

Now, go back and change pen 91 to white, because this pen is used in several objects and cover fills for the white background.

Enable the white pen.

The pens also let you insert a description, which enables a firm to set drawing standards and coordinate them with all the individuals on the team. You can save your customized pen set by selecting Store As and giving your pen set a new name, as shown below.

Save the pen set with a new name.

There are multiple reasons to set up pen charts, including:

  • Changing pen weights on a consultant's drawings brought in as a DWG file.
  • Changing pen weights depending on scale. For example, you may want one pen set for 1/4" scale plans, but another for 1/8" scale plans.
  • Changing pen weights when creating reflected ceiling plans. You can set up the pen that represents your walls to be lighter and the pen used for the ceiling grids or light fixtures to be heavier, for instance.
  • Changing pen weights for site or key plans. You can set up pens that change the outline of the building to be a lighter pen.
  • Changing pen charts used for elevations, sections or detail drawings.

Dimensioning Preferences
Dimension preferences can be set up ahead of time and can be changed per drawing, instead of using one preference for the whole project. You can find the dimension preferences by selecting Options / Project Preferences / Dimensions.

This dialog box allows you to save several dimension preferences in the box called Standard. This permits you to set up several preferences, which can be selected on a per view basis. It's easy to change the settings to meet your requirements; when finished, select Add. This way, you can name a new preference and save it for use in your project.

Save new preferences for later use.

The reasons to have different dimension preferences set up include:

  • You want to dimension more accurately in your details showing to the nearest 1/16", but your plans may only show to the nearest 1/2"
  • You want to show your fractions in small type on a drawing
  • You want to round up your square footage calculations on your fills for a particular view.

Note: Be careful when changing your dimension tolerances, because this causes rounding also. Rounding can cause your drawing dimensions to add inaccurately, so exercise caution and always draw by placing precisely, not by dragging items into place.

Scale Even though you are drawing your Virtual Building at "real scale," pay attention to your potential output scale. You can change scale very quickly by clicking on the scale on the lower-left corner of your screen, as shown below.

Change scale quickly by clicking on the scale on the screen.

Next Month
In our next tip, you'll learn how to set up View Options for viewing information for documentation. We will work toward creating documentation that allows users to quickly navigate through documents while completing the Virtual Model with accuracy. This series of tips is intended to assist Archicad users in creating concise documentation from a model that has been produced using 3D tools, reducing errors and omissions in the process.

About the Author: Angi Izzi

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