2020 | 003 – Get Organized: Project Folder, Template Creation and Development

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ARCHICAD Training Lesson Outline


Clear, optimized organization is a key to using ARCHICAD effectively. The basic principles apply throughout the structure of your file system, your project template and your project file itself.

The structure should be clear and easy to understand.
In general, there should be a place for everything so everything can be in its proper place.

This reduces mental effort and strain, and speeds up both "doing things" and "finding things".

Topics for Today's Session

  1. Set Up A Standard Project Folder
  2. Create A Project Template (TPL) File
  3. Developing A Template File

1. Standard Project Folder

  • Can start by looking at past projects, seeing what files were created and accumulated
  • Generalize and create a structure
  • Make things easy to find
  • Everything has a place

2. Project Template

Can start from a Graphisoft template, a commercial template like MasterTemplate or BIM6x, a public template, or your own well-developed project

Template files have a TPL ending, but otherwise are the same as a PLN

ARCHICAD File menu > New > From Template - will only show TPL files; will open the TPL then make an Untitled copy

Create a TPL by File menu > Save As > ARCHICAD Template

Alternate method: change PLN ending on a project to TPL

Alternative methods for creating a new project:

a. Open existing PLN, do a Save As and rename, then delete the building

Need to save the Source Markers to keep the links

Will need to go through all Viewpoints (at one point or another) to clean out references to the original building

  • BEST PRACTICES: Do this once, then save as TPL - rather than every time you start a project

The only "Pros" for this method are expediency (it's quick and easy) and that it makes it a bit easier to continually improve the template (assuming you get better with each project).

b. File menu > New > Use Current Project Settings

Generally NOT a good idea, the new file will not have any defined Views or Layouts.

Use this for specialized purposes, such as developing supporting documents that have the same attribute structure but do not need any Views. These can include Hotlinked Modules (for unit plans or interactive legend), Favorites files (a PLN that is used as a repository for Favorites), etc.

3. Developing A Template File

Considerations - The 7 Keys to Best Practices:

  1. Get Organized
  2. Do It Once
  3. Save Your Settings
  4. Work from the General to the Specific
  5. Use ARCHICAD's Structure
  6. Model Well, Draw Less
  7. Keep It Safe

Common things to add to a template file based on your experience working on projects:

  1. Layout Masters
  2. Layout Book structure
  3. Interactive Schedules
  4. Composites and Complex Profiles
  5. Favorites
  6. Potentially:
    1. Standard Details
    2. Additions or changes to the View Map
    3. Additions or changes to the Layer Settings
    4. New or changed attributes such as Surfaces, Building Materials
    5. Refinements to Model View Options, Graphic Overrides, etc.

Ultimately, your project template should fit your work like a glove.

You can create multiple templates if different project types would benefit by having a different framework.

Maintaining Your Template File

A good practice is to keep a notes file handy while working on your projects, and any time you add something to the project framework or structure make a note. Periodically, open up your template file and reproduce the changes to continuously improve the template.

Long-Term Management of Your Template

Migration of a template into later versions of ARCHICAD is similar to migrating a project. Basically, you can open up the template in a new version of ARCHICAD and migrate the Libraries, then rework as needed to use only the new Library and a minimum of legacy parts.

As new features are added to ARCHICAD, you'll want to carefully consider whether your template needs revision or new components added.

I do this every year with MasterTemplate.

ARCHICAD Training Lesson Transcript

Description | Comments
Keywords | Categories
Course Reference | URL
IntroductionIntroduction, connect to Slack for communication & community building during the course sessions;
Eric introduced ARCHICADtraining.com, showing where the 2020 Courses and Coaching Program videos are
Quick overview of where we are in the course
0:00:00Slack, Course videosbobrow.com/slack
How to get organizedSet up a structure that is clear & easy to understand, has a proper place for everything so that "doing" and "finding" things is quicker and easier0:14:43
Set up a Standard Project FolderThe Standard Project Folder is a filing system, it has empty subfolders that will fill up as your project evolves, but the structure is (basically) the same for all your projects, so you always know where to look for particular documents/drawings/etc. It's a folder structure you right-click and duplicate for all new projects.0:17:14Standard Project Folder
Eric detailed the setup for the MasterTemplate New Project Folder.
Plan ArchivesEric quickly showed how to save an archived version of the plan that saves the file with all the library parts that theoretically can be opened by any version of ARCHICAD later.0:25:12Archived plan
Best way to set up your Standard Project Folder is to look at your past projects and evaluate what you generate and the clearest and easiest way for you to file them
Where does the basic office library go?Eric doesn't suggest putting a copy of the library in the project folders, because ideally that library is constantly updated and evolving and should be available to all projects.0:28:40Office Library
How to set up a Project TemplateCan start from Graphisolft's template, a commercial template (like MasterTemplate), a public template, or you can create your own; all templates end in .TPL; ARCHICAD opens that TPL then makes an untitled copy.0:31:03Project Template
You create a template by saving the file as TPL, or by changing PLN to TPL on any fileTPL, PLN
Alternate method to create a new projectOpen a plan and click Save As to give it a new project name, then delete the building but be care not to delete the source markers, as they have linked views; you'll need to go through all the Viewpoints to clean out references to the old building; generally this is not the ideal way to go, but have its uses for specialized purposes.0:37:12
How to develop a Template File*essentially anything you use for more than one project should be in the Template File1:03:52
Create your Layout Masters , Layout Structure, Interactive Schedules, Reports, Specifications, Composites and Complex Profiles, Favorites in your Template
When you’ve spent time creating something, and know it will be helpful to use in another/future projects, save it in the Template so it's always available
Updating Template FolderTIP: a good practice is to keep a notes file handy while working on your projects, and any time you add something to the project framework or structure make a note. Periodically, open up your template file and reproduce the changes to continuously improve the template.1:12:01Updating Template
Putting Standard Details, alternate Views, Layer Changes, adjusted Surfaces and Building Materials, refined Model View Options, Graphic Overrides, etc. in the template file to save time1:12:56
Note: you can create multiple templates for different project types, but be aware that you'll then have multiple templates to update as you create more favorites, etc.1:17:12Multiple templates
Migration to ARCHICAD updatesYou can migrate your template the same way you migrate a project, migrating the libraries, and reworking as needed.1:18:44Template migration
Do Layers in ARCHICAD work the same as AutoCAD, or like Revit?Layers control visibility (can be shown or hidden) and edit-ability (can be locked or unlocked). Most effective when used as Layer Combinations1:21:39Layers
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