The Power of a Pre-Linked ArchiCAD Template, Part 2 – ViewsAECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #74 (August 25, 2015)


Link Ellis
ArchiCAD Technical Director, BIM6x


In this series of tutorials, we’re discussing pre-linked templates in ArchiCAD. A pre-linked template offers huge benefits in easy adoption, consistency and automation. Once created, it also offers flexibility and scalability, both of which can be achieved far more quickly than traditional ways of building a project structure from a base template or worse, a previous project.

A pre-linked ArchiCAD template has all the viewpoints of a project linked into sets of deliverables before a model is created, as illustrated below: Viewpoints> Views> Layout Book> Publisher Sets.



Following from the previous tutorial where we discussed the various Viewpoints in the Project Map, this article will focus on the second step; the Views in the View Map.

Views: A Definition

So we’ve already established that viewpoints are the points of view we use to look at the model and its data, but we need to take these one step further in the process of creating deliverables from our model. This is where Views come in.

Views are filtered viewpoints. While viewpoints are located in the Project Map and do not have settings stored with them, views do have settings stored with them, so they will always be very predictable in the way they look, what they show, how elements are displayed, what color and scale elements will be, etc. Views are displayed in the View Map of the Navigator or Organizer and like viewpoints, you can double click on views to navigate between them.



New users often wonder whether it is best to navigate around their model using the Viewpoints in the Project Map or using the Views in the View Map. The answer is that there is no right and wrong way. Using viewpoints is often more intuitive and faster because ArchiCAD is not changing the layers, scales, zoom, etc. It is literally just changing the point of view and nothing else, so it feels quite seamless and quick. Plus you can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate (eg. Ctrl/Cmd + up arrow/down arrow to go up and down between stories). Navigating through the View Map however will recall all the view settings, which takes marginally longer for ArchiCAD to calculate although this is almost negligible with ArchiCAD 19’s new tabs. Nevertheless, navigating views can be a little unintuitive especially for new users, but this method will give you an exact preview of how the views will be published.

Creating Views

The best way to create views is by dragging a viewpoint from the Project Map into the View Map, using the Organizer. There are other ways including using the Save view >>> button in the Organizer, but dragging a view lets you easily drop it exactly where you need it in the View Map.

A view’s settings can be defined before the view is made by using the View Settings and Storing Options in the Organizer, and/or editing after the view is created by editing the Settings in the Organizer, or by right clicking. Views can and should be organized into folders in the View Map and those folders can contain sub-folders.

Once views are saved for a specific purpose, there is no need to keep recreating views for the same purpose. It’s a one-time deal. A simple example of views may be to have a set of Floor Plan views and another set of Reflected Ceiling Plan views. The corresponding views come from the same viewpoints (stories) but their view settings make them show those viewpoints differently. Users migrating from AutoCAD may like to think of views as viewports. The important thing to note is that views, by default, are always live – they always update all visible changes to the model and annotation.

A common mistake is to drag viewpoints directly onto a layout without creating a view first. ArchiCAD can only place views onto layouts, not viewpoints. If you don’t create a view first and just drag a viewpoint onto a layout, ArchiCAD will create a view automatically for you! But what you end up with is a bunch of poorly named views tacked on to the end of your view map.  And these views will be set with the current View Settings and Storing Options, so their appearance will most probably not be what you expected.



View Settings

The settings stored with a view are listed below. Keep in mind that if you need to check or edit a View’s settings, simply right click on it and select View Settings. Alternately, at the bottom of the Navigator/Organizer’s View Map mode under View Properties, you can click the Settings button.

Layer Combination: This primarily determines what you will see in each view by turning the visibility of layers on or off. It also sets the locking, 3D view display and layer intersection priorities.
Scale: This determines the size of what you see. Keep in mind that ArchiCAD by default will keep notation scaled relative to the paper they will be printed on.
Partial Structure Display: This determines what part of the structure is shown in the view and is based on three categories: Core, Finishes, and Other. Individual skins of composites and profiles that are applied to walls, roofs, shells slabs, beams and columns can be set to any of these three categories and the model can be filtered according to what needs to be shown. An example may be to show just the core for output to a structural engineer.
Pen Set: This determines the color and pen thickness of the lines of each element. Bear in mind that the pen set of a view can and should be overridden once the view is placed as a drawing on a layout. That way you can work in color, but print in black & water (and color).
Model View Option Combination: This determines how elements in the view will be displayed. A good example are doors and windows which can be shown with or without markers using these settings. And walls can be shown with solid fills or with the fills of their composite skins for different displays between schematic design and construction documentation.
Renovation Filters: This determines if and how elements in remodeling projects can be displayed, based on three categories: Existing, To be Demolished, and New Elements.
Dimensioning Standards: This determines the Dimension Standard for each view. You can set and store different Dimensioning Standards at Options > Project Preferences >  Dimensions.
Zooming: This determines how zoomed in or out of the model the view is set. Depending on work environment settings (More Options), if the zooming is set to Fit in Window, the resulting drawing on the layout will have a frame behavior that is set to Fit Frame to Drawing. This essentially means that you will see the full extents of the view on the layout. Any other setting will crop the drawing, effectively zooming in on an area of the model. For a template, the former is recommended so that you don’t miss out on any information.
Generate In: Only for 3D views, this determines whether the view is generated in the 3D Window or the PhotoRendering Window.
Rendering Scene: If the above setting is set to PhotoRendering Window, this option sets the scene used by the rendering engine.

It’s a good idea to keep the Layer Combination name, the Model View Option Combination name, the Renovation Filter name and the Dimension Standard names all identical for different view types. While this does tend to add complexity, it’s offset by providing not only consistency throughout the entire view map, but also flexibility; if you need to make a change to just one type of view you can update any of these settings and the changes will only affect these views and no others.



It’s worth mentioning trace references at this point. Trace References should be used to determine the extents of your Main Drawing Area. For example, when placing the section and elevation markers on your floor plan, trace reference your default master layout. This way you know at your most common drawing scale that your resulting floor plans and sections and elevations will fit onto your layouts, at least width-wise. And for details, consider trace referencing a worksheet containing the Detailer Template library part which is included in the ArchiCAD library to aid in setting out details at specific scales.



A secondary comment about trace references is that as you work, if you choose to trace reference views, instead of viewpoints, ArchiCAD then needs to keep track of two different sets of view options simultaneously. It will need to display potentially two different layer combinations, model view options combinations, renovation filters, etc. If you have too many views trace references turned on throughout your project, you may notice performance issues. Try to trace reference viewpoints or keep trace referenced views to a minimum.

View Sets

The View Map contains all the View Sets (folders) and Views. These are the often the “stepping stones” between the viewpoints and the Drawings on the Layout.  Most views link to drawings in the layout book, but others can be placed directly into Publisher Sets, such as BIMx Pro, IFC, COBie, Renders, Energy Evaluation, etc.

View Sets should be arranged into typical architectural documentation phases: Marketing Set, Schematic Design, Design Development, and Construction Documentation. These can all update simultaneously, so that you can use them all concurrently. For example you can print out a schematic drawing while deep into construction documentation. The structure of the View Sets and Views should match the structure of the Layout Book. This makes tracking the linked drawings and views very easy and intuitive. If you ever need to work in reverse to find which view a drawing is sourced from, you can right click on the drawing and select Open Source View. So long as the source view still exists in the project, ArchiCAD will open it and show it as bold in the View Map.

Of course in your template, the View Map should contain an overabundance of views - more than is typically required for any one project, because it is much easier to delete those views (and their corresponding drawings/layouts/publisher sets) than it is to recreate them every time. Or you could file them in a [NOT IN USE] folder if you just need to temporarily move them out of the way.



Types of Views

As we discussed in Part 1 of this tutorial, views can come from any type of viewpoint:

  • Stories
  • Sections
  • Elevations
  • Interior Elevations
  • Worksheets
  • Details
  • 3D Documents
  • 3D, including Generic Isometric, Generic Perspective and Cameras
  • Schedules, including Element, Component and Surface schedules
  • Project Indexes, including issue registers
  • Lists, including Element, Component and Zone lists

You can even create views from Project Info and the Session Report, although there’s no way to publish these. All views, except Lists and Info can be placed onto layouts and we’ll discuss this in the next post.

When constructing your views and view sets, think about the final outcome. Marketing Sets may include an illustrative and simple mix of plans and 3D views, including the elevations. The Schematic Set may start to include drawing indexes, existing and demolition sets, and sun studies, but also represented in a very simple but colorful way. Think solid black walls and colored zones, and shadows in your elevations. The Design Development Set is a lead-in to the Construction Documentation set, where things start to look more official and more information is added, such as extra sections and auxiliary elevations, 3D views, indexes and schedules. The Construction Documentation Set is the most comprehensive set of all and contains all the views required in a typical set of Construction Documents, including all schedules, details, interior elevations and specialty plans, such as furniture plans, electrical & lighting plans, etc. Just remember that once you’ve set these up in your template, you’ll never have to do it again. The link between the model and the layout book is being permanently created.



Take the time to build up your view map, and next time, we’ll cover how to construct your layout book. To give you some food for thought, here are some viewpoints from the BIM6x Power Template. To see these templates in action, please visit the BIM6x YouTube Channel.

About the Author

Link Ellis, formerly of ArchiLINK, is now the ArchiCAD Technical Director at BIM6x. Link is a passionate BIM implementer, specializing in ArchiCAD training and templates. With over 17 years in the industry, he has extensive experience and knowledge of ArchiCAD. Clients have requested his services across the globe including in the USA, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia, India, and the Middle East. Link has a long-standing relationship with Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD development team and communicates with their technical support team regularly. He is also an award-winning ArchiCAD alpha and beta tester since 2003, member of multiple ArchiCAD forums, and a highly respected and well-liked member of the ArchiCAD community.

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