2020 | 019 – Setting Design Intent via Names, Anchors and References

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ARCHICAD Training Lesson Outline

Setting Design Intent via Names, Anchors and References

The process of design starts from general concepts, goals and constraints and develops iteratively towards specific details and delineation.

ARCHICAD is built around this process, with a framework for setting intent through the navigator structure, attributes and view settings, as well as geometry anchors and reference lines and planes. Use these consciously and you'll optimize your workflow.


We've already talked about Attributes (Layers, Layer Combinations, Line Types, Fills, Surfaces, Building Materials, Composites and Complex Profiles) and View Settings (including Layer Combinations, Model View Options, Graphic Overrides, etc.). These all have one thing in common: a NAME that refers to an intention, and a DEFINITION that specifies the details of that intention.

Update the definition for a name, and everything that references that name changes.


  • Change Layer Combination definition, all Views that reference that LC will update
  • Change Composite or Complex Profile definition, all walls that use that Composite will change
  • Change View definition, the Drawing placed using that View will update


Elements you draw or place into your project have a location (Home Story or Viewpoint as well as one or more sets of X, Y and possibly Z coordinates) and parameters.

Parameters that refer to NAMES (such as a Layer, Wall Type or a Library Part) will update when the definition of the name changes.

Location coordinates provide an anchor for the element, which can be tied to your design intent.


  • Placing a window or door by center point or by corner point
  • Drawing a wall using a reference line associated with the outside framing line vs. outside face vs. center line
  • Slabs placed with the top surface or face of framing as a reference plane (for floors) or underneath surface etc. (for ceilings)
  • Text or labels placed with left, center or right anchor points

ARCHICAD Training Lesson Transcript

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