Editing Plan Symbols for Imported ARCHICAD ObjectsAECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #87 (June 27, 2019)

Thomas M. Simmons
Founder of ARCHVISTA, LearnVirtual

The ARCHICAD Library comes with thousands of objects that can be customized for projects. The parametric options available for objects, however, are limited and often do not represent the real world of products, furniture, lights and more. To solve this problem ARCHICAD users regularly import objects from manufacturers and web based libraries such as the 3Dwarehouse, TurboSquid and DesignConnected.  

When objects are imported to ARCHICAD, the 2D plan symbol is automatically generated but can become messy with complicated objects or models that have curved forms. The examples below show the issue using SKP and DAE formats when importing a curved Kohler sink with curved handles and water tap.


There are two ways to solve this problem, edit the 2D symbol in ARCHICAD’s Library Part Editor or use a third party tool called ModelPort to clean up the 2D symbol as described in the steps below.

Option 1: Editing 2D Symbols with the Library Part Editor

Using the Merge command in the File menu, you can import SketchUp, Collada, DWG, Rhino and other formats. These imported files are converted into ARCHICAD Library Parts and placed into the Embedded Library. If the 2D plan symbols needs to be edited, follow these steps:

Using the Merge command in the File menu, you can import SketchUp, Collada, DWG, Rhino and other formats. These imported files are converted into ARCHICAD Library Parts and placed into the Embedded Library. If the 2D plan symbols needs to be edited, follow these steps:

1. Select the imported object from the Object Tool, place the symbol into the Floor Plan, select the object and choose File > Libraries and Objects > Open Object.

2. In the Library Editor, click the 2D View button to view the 2D Plan Symbol generated by the 2D script.

3. Draw a Marquee around the 2D View and select Copy from the File menu.

4. Click the 2D Symbol button and select Paste to create an editable version of the symbol. Select lines to edit or delete and add new 2D lines or circles as required. Note that with curved elements, the symbols may require more effort to create a clean symbol.



5. To view the edited 2D symbol, we must make the 2D script, which generates the 2D View, inactive. To do this, click the 2D script button, choose the Select All option to highlight the script and click the Comment button. When you comment a script, it makes it inactive. The edited 2D Symbol will now become the active plan view.



6. When finished editing, Save the updated object.




Option 2: Editing 2D Symbols with ModelPort

If you would prefer using a third party tool to automate the cleanup of the 2D symbol, we recommend using ModelPort from Day8Design. ModelPort allows users to preview models before import as well as edit materials, textures, texture placement, pen weight, fill color and more with powerful parametric editing tools. It also automatically cleans up the 2D symbol upon import.

You can start by going to https://archvista.com/modelport/ to purchase and install the add-on for ARCHICAD. Once installed, follow these steps:

1. Select the ModelPort menu and Open 3D Model

2. Locate the file to open and it will then appear in the ModelPort editor. The 2D Symbol will appear in the Floor Plan view, and if it contained curved elements, the triangulation will be automatically cleaned up in the symbol view.

3. To edit the line weights of the symbol, click the Select by Materials button and then click the area of the 2D Symbol to edit.


4. Click the Contour Pen button, and select a new pen color to set the pen weight of the selected symbol component.


5. When you’re finished editing, click the Create ARCHICAD Library Object button and place the object.




To learn more about editing and importing objects with ModelPort, we invite you to visit https://archvista.com/modelport/.

About the Author

Thomas M. Simmons, the founder of ARCHVISTA, Inc. and LearnVirtual, has spoken at major industry events including AEC Systems, Ecobuild, AIACC Desert Practice Conference, and the AIACC Monterey Design Conference. He has authored several books on Building Information Modeling, ARCHICAD and architectural technology. He was formerly the Director of Technology with the award winning firm of EHDD Architects, San Francisco, and has earned a Masters of Architecture from UC Berkeley. He can be reached at tsimmons@archvista.com.

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