Guide to Better ARCHICAD

Use the following Tips and Tricks regularly to keep Archicad project file performance at its best.

  1. SWITCH OFF WIFI on your Workstation
    An ethernet connection is faster and more stable than Wifi. Keeping a single fast connection to the server avoids a lot of problems.
    1. Save or at least send your changes regularly when in Teamwork files – this will prevent data loss should your computer crash or the server connection is lost;
    2. generate Record files > PLA’s need to be saved at key stages.
      (Also see note on Libraries below and do not use a PLA as a Library on a bim server!)
    The main performance hog is the default backup setting set to Ultra Safe, adjust this in…
    ARCHICAD > Work Environment… > Company Standard Schemes > Data Safety & Integrity
    …to either Safe (5 Minutes) or Minimum (20 minutes).
      Besides obviously naming any marker or saved view appropriately:

      1. Sections > remove temp items
      2. Elevations > remove temp items
      3. Worksheets > remove old consultant drawings and temp items
      4. 3d Documents > remove sun studies, diagrams from previous stages
      5. Name markers and saved views appropriately. Including temporary markers so you know they are TEMP and YOURS!
      1. Layouts > separate into a LAYOUT FILE (reduces files size by at least 50%)
      2. split large files > rule of thumb: if it does not fit on A0 at a reasonable scale (very large projects) split buildings into separate files;
  5. 3D ERRORS
    If you get an error report when opening the 3D window, FIX the issues it reports.
    Typically they relate to either:

    1. sloppy editing
      Use a schedule to list elements by type and measured area. Find and select anything that is 0m2 or close to it. Use the show in plan view button and delete if necessary. If the element looks right, but has 0m2, try to cut & paste it in place. Redraw the element if that didn’t fix it.
    2. Library parts parameters.
      Check and adjust parameters. Mostly this is due to incorrect pen assignment of pen 0 or pen -1 to parameters or adjusting a dimension to 0 where this is not allowed. Sometimes the issue can also be a window or door that’s been placed outside of the extent of the wall.
    Often Elements such as Grids, Walls or Objects get accidentally multiplied or Meshes get corrupted during editing. These can increase the complexity of a File dramatically, thus it helps to check regularly by using the Check Duplicates and PolyCount Add-Ons available here.

    1. duplicates
      The Check Duplicates Add-on lets you batch select all duplicates in the current viewport, i.e. you will have to do it in both 2D and 3D to detect all duplicates.
    2. polygon count
      Some Objects or Meshes may have a very high polygon count which will slow down your file, use this Add-On to identify anything that contributes a high percentage to the verfall polygon count of your file and then optimise them. It could ne as easy as switching OFF the 3d display for some tapware;
    ARCHICAD continuously checks the status of linked files at various moments – it is essential you control these update processes.

    1. Drawing Manager.
      1. remove or re-link missing references,
      2. NEVER link anything from your own computer / desktop,
      3. Set all drawings to manual update (YOU should be in control of what updates & when),
      4. NEVER place an xref, place a DWG as an external drawing instead. Its layers can be control via the drawings Settings dialogue.
    2. IFC Files
      1. Don’t merge an IFC into your project files.
        Merging an IFC can have a serious impact on performance & file stability for your project file(s). Instead use a separate PLN to merge the IFC and hotlink this into your file. Use it for coordination only. If you need a reference in your project file either model it or use external drawings if a 2D reference is sufficient.
      2. Oblige suppliers of IFC to use the Graphisoft Revit plugin.
        This helps Revit prepare an IFC for smoother transition into Archicad, i.e. more geometry will be properly translated to Archicad elements instead of into library objects. The plugin is free and available from here:
      3. When merging an IFC you can choose to export the Library it creates to your server instead of embedding it into your project file.
        You can find this setting also in…
        File > Interoperability > IFC > IFC Options:
        “Save Library Parts generated during import to: Linked Library”
        …point it to a default project folder on your server.
      1. To control the update behaviour of Holtinks adjust…
        Work Environment > Company Standards & Schemes > Data Safety & Integrity > Hotlink Update to “Ignore Hotlinks”
        …and un-tick “Automatically Check Status of All Hotlinks in Hotlink Manager”
    1. check and remove anything unnecessary from the embedded Library.
      In particular any objects of excessive size (>1MB) or have special characters (” ‘ , : !@#$%^&*()+) in the name!! Ideally keep the Embedded Library completely empty, and create a separate project specific Folder or LCF file for any project specific library parts.
    2. NEVER load a PLA as a library, instead extract PLA Libraries into a folder when prompted and if required convert this folder to a LCF.
      PLA’s may contain all used objects and textures, which may cause duplicate objects errors when default libraries are loaded and may result in ARCHICAD displaying the wrong object.
    3. Minimise Texture file sizes.
      Loading Textures bigger than 500KB’s in size is going to eat up your computer’s RAM quite quickly. Unless you know what you are doing only use JPGs in ARCHICAD. If you’re not rendering extreme close-ups (and arguably ARCHICAD isn’t the right tool for that anyway), textures should be reduced in size straightaway and saved into a separate Texture folder ub your Project or Office Library.
    1. reshare teamwork files, once per month to cleanout old users caches.
      Every time a user joins the size of the teamwork project increases, which unfortunately is not removed by forcing a user out of the file.
    2. Adjust Project Settings IMMEDIATELY after sharing.
      In the Share dialogue, tick “Open Project Settings after Share” in the bottom left corner.
      The default settings creates fat too many backups at the wrong time of day, both impacting BIM server performance negatively.
      Adjust the Backup (or Snapshot) settings to:

      1. not make PLN backups & daily,
      2. after hours (stagger times between project files!), keep 3 copies for BIM Project backups.
  10. GDL objects vs. groups
    Check your usage of groups. Too many Groups embedded within other Groups, will slow down Archicad. If a group repeats, create GDL objects instead.

    1. do not save GDL objects with another object embedded inside;
    2. avoid morphs when creating complex surfaces, instead use the shell tool;
    3. check the polygon count of self created or downloaded GDL objects form 3rd parties;
    Restart your workstation at least once per week and the BIM Server at least once a month – especially when either is acting up a bit.

Please remember to allow time for the above regularly, ideally before it starts to slow down your file(s).

In addition make sure you check the following Graphisoft Troubleshooting Tech notes >

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