Interactive Schedules: A Step-by-Step Guide

14 Sep, 2004 By: John Mamuscia

Create materials reports to display information in the format you want.

In traditional 2D CAD, architects must perform manual take-offs or estimates to obtain quantities of materials. However, using ArchiCAD's 3D approach -- in which all objects reside in the project file -- you can easily call out anything from the model and automatically generate schedules in virtually any desired format.

In this article, you'll learn how the 3D virtual building model facilitates the creation of simple tabular schedules with bidirectional update capabilities. Using the virtual building model ensures that changes to object attributes in any view appear in all others, to minimize work and insure accuracy. You can quickly create custom-formatted schedules and place them on the plan view in the model. In the resulting schedule, the architect as well as members of the design team can summarize, check data, and modify values of the elements as needed.

Create a Schedule
To create a schedule of materials in ArchiCAD, select Calculate / Interactive Schedule / Settings. ArchiCAD automatically generates the schedule based on your selections and the objects in your model (figure 1).

Figure 1. ArchiCAD's interactive schedule interface.

The settings in this example determine that the schedule contains quantity, ID, part name, height, and width for each door. Clicking the Edit Settings button brings up another dialog box where you can set all information regarding the schedule, including its format, parameters to list, their order, and the text font, style, and size of each schedule element.

Create a Customized Schedule
ArchiCAD comes with several default schedules you can use as-is or customize to your clients' needs. Following are the steps to customize a schedule.

Select Calculate / Interactive Schedule / Settings to open the Schedule Settings dialog box (figure 2).

Figure 2. Use the Schedule Settings dialog box to customize a schedule.

Select the Door schedule and duplicate it using the Duplicate button. Now you have the original as a backup. Enter a name for the new schedule as prompted by the New Name box that appears. For our example, we'll use Door w Cost.

Now you can add criteria. Click on the General tab / Add / Select Element Type = Door. This indicates that you want the report to display only data related to doors.

Switch from the General tab to the Fields tab. Now you can add parameters, or fields, to your schedule.

From General, select:

  • Quantity
  • ID
  • Library Part Name
  • Zone Name
  • Zone Number

From Window/Door, select:

  • Height
  • Width

If the list doesn't display all the desired parameters, select the Additional Parameters button to open available library parts and their additional parameters (figure 3).

Figure 3. If needed, select additional parameters to include in the schedule.

  • In Show Library Part Types, select Door.
  • In the Select Library Parts window, select ArchiCAD Library 8.1 or another appropriate library.
  • From the Select Parameters for Listing window, check Cost. Important note: All other parameters in this window must be unchecked or they will appear in the parameters list, too!
  • Click OK.

Figure 4. Add sigma to a field to calculate and display the total cost of items in your schedule.
The Parameters List should now display all selected parameters.

Adding sigma to Cost (or any other field) calculates the total of all items (figure 4).

Click OK.

You can now select the newly created Door Schedule. Select Calculate / Interactive Schedule / Preview?. You'll see your results in the Interactive Schedule window.

Click the Place button (figure 5) to insert the new schedule in the current view (figure 6).

Figure 5. Click the Place button to insert the new schedule in the current view..

Figure 6. The new schedule in place.

Modify Schedule Appearance
Now that you've created the content for your schedule, let's focus on the format and appearance of that content. You make most format changes in the Interactive Schedule dialog box. The following are basic modification techniques.

Figure 7. You can edit the appearance of a schedule.

If you Ctrlclick on the header text (figure 7), it becomes editable. Note that these fields are display-only and are not actual database fields. Type Qty to change the header. You can automatically adjust cell sizes by double-clicking on their border or by dragging the border to the desired width.

You can also click on the Part Name and then Shift-click on the header to call up the header properties for Part Name. Here, you can modify the caption, width, and font (figure 8).

Figure 8. From the Header Properties dialog box, you can modify a column header.

In the Interactive Schedule dialog box, you can modify individual schedule items. To change an item's appearance, go to the Format tab, which brings up the display in figure 9.

Figure 9. To modify individual schedule items, select the Format tab.

Select the schedule item you wish to modify -- for example, Value Text. Now you can change the Value Text's font, cell size, and pen colors. Click OK.

From Schedule Settings, select the newly created Door schedule to see the updated version.

View, Display, and Export Schedules
ArchiCAD's Interactive Schedule dialog box provides different options for viewing, displaying, and exporting finished schedules. Previewing lets you view results of the interactive schedule before output. The Preview dialog box also serves as a way to check consistency. For example, let's say you list all windows and their sizes. If a window appears to be the wrong size in the preview, you can investigate further to learn where any changes may be required. The Preview dialog box lets you modify information that updates not only the schedule but also the model.

The Create List function exports information in a common format such as Microsoft Word or Excel. After you create the list, you can easily send these files to clients or consultants.

  • Select Calculate / Interactive Schedule / Preview to view and edit the results in the Interactive Schedule dialog box.
  • Click Place to display results on the floor plan.
  • Select Create List to export the list in ArchiCAD list format, MS Excel, and MS Word.

If you use Windows, you can also export and display schedules directly in Microsoft Word and Excel if MS Office is installed on your computer.

About the Author: John Mamuscia

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