Annotation Overview; Text Tool

By Eric Bobrow

Feb 10
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ARCHICAD Training Lesson Outline

Annotation Principles

Annotation helps explain, clarify or document the design. Its primary function is as an adjunct to the virtual building model.

By its very nature, annotation is 2D, and can be created in any "draftable" Viewpoint in the Project Map as well as directly onto Layout Masters and Sheets. Non-draftable Viewpoints are 3D Views, Schedules* and Indexes.

Annotation can be drawn or placed independently or associated with model geometry or data.

IMPORTANT: 2D annotation only shows in the Viewpoint that it is placed.

Standard Annotation types include:

  • Line Tools (Lines, Arcs, Polylines, Splines)
  • Text
  • Labels
  • Dimensions (Linear, Elevation, Radial, Angle)
  • Fills
  • Grid**
  • Figures (Imported or Pasted Graphics) and Drawings (external files placed into the viewpoint)
  • Objects (some Library Parts are 2D only, others are both 2D and 3D)
  • Hotspots (technically not an annotation, as these do not print out; they are drafting aids)

* Schedules can include Preview Drawings that can be dimensioned and annotated. A common application of this is for Window and Door Elevation Views.

** Grid Elements are placed on Plan, and may be 2D only or set to show in 3D.


A special type of Annotation, used to create or reference Viewpoints such as Elevations, Sections, Interior Elevations, Worksheets and Details.

Change Markers refer to revisions made since a previous Transmittal Set, and may be placed in any draftable Viewpoint or directly onto a Layout sheet.

Issue management commands (an expanded version of the Markup palette available in earlier versions of Archicad) can add 2D clouds and annotation and/or reference model elements.

Placement and Parameters

In the Info Box, settings are available for Layer, Geometry Method and styles or types.

Geometry Method shortcut to cycle through various options: "g"

Construction Method shortcut to cycle through options: "c"

Line Tools settings can be coordinated using the Uniform Settings checkbox.

Unfortunately, Font choices are scattered and hard to coordinate between Text, Labels, Dimensions and Markers, with different places where they are set, and no overall control. Favorites are helpful to set office standards.

Layers - Best Practices for Annotation

It is usually not necessary to have separate layers for different 2D tools (e.g. Electrical Lines, Electrical Dimensions, Electrical Symbols, Electrical Labels).

A good rule of thumb is to use one layer specific for each Drawing type (Floor Plan, Electrical Plan, Reflected Ceiling Plan, Site Plan, etc.) and place 2D annotation on this layer if it is only relevant to that Plan Drawing.


Overall controls include Font, Size, Color, Bold, Italic, Underline, Superscript, Subscript, Strikethrough

Paragraphs and blocks also have Alignment and Boundary Geometry.

Parts of the text can have different styles, such as Font Size, Color, Bold, Italic, Underline, Superscript, Subscript, Strikethrough. These are controlled in the floating Text Palette.

Automatic line wrapping for longer text blocks:

  • Click twice with the Text tool on the same point to start entering text with no boundaries; manual line breaks are available using the Enter or Return key.
  • Click in two different locations to set the width of paragraph-style text blocks; lines will automatically wrap.
  • The wrapping width of text block can be adjusted using the arrow tool.
  • "Wrap Text" is set by default when you click two points to determine the width of the text block, however you can uncheck it at any time if you wish.

Editing Text:

  • To edit text, select it with the Arrow tool or Shift-click, then with the Text tool active, click inside the Text block.
  • Shortcut: Double-click with the Arrow tool (requires QuickSelect magnet icon to be active).

Multiline alignment is similar to standard text editors: Left, Center, Right and Justified alignments are possible, and are applied to the entire text block or one or more paragraphs.

Anchor Point

The Text Anchor Point is an important concept. Anchoring the text properly allows it to more precisely fit the context as more or less text is input.

  • Anchor Center/Center for Room Names, Captions or Quick Descriptions
  • Anchor Left when placing to the right of the relevant elements
  • Anchor Right when placing to the left

Use Top, Middle or Bottom when multiple lines need to fit in relation to other elements.

Additional Options

Indentation and Tab controls are available in the Ruler that shows above the Text element while inputting or editing text. These are fairly similar to standard word processing tools such as Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, however there is no support for lists with bullets or numbers. These can be simulated using indents and by entering numbers or bullet characters manually.

TIP: To add a bullet on a Mac, type Option-8. On a PC, the shortcut is [Alt] + [0149].
You can also copy the character (for example: • )and paste it in.

Additional effects are available:

  • Contour Line - outline for the text block, with Offset adjustable in a separate parameter
  • Background Fill - to make it easier to read when placed on top of other elements

The "Always Readable" checkbox is useful for maintaining the text orientation, preventing rotations or mirroring operations from making the text go upside down.

Within a text element one can place Autotext referring to general context information such as the date, field data from the File menu > Info > Project Info, or Layout info (such as Layout ID or Number, etc.). Autotext can be highlighted within the Text block and deleted or replaced or styled; it cannot be edited like other text since the info is coming from the associated data.

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