Command and Control ARCHICAD - Part 1


This is the first of a series of four #justthetip articles showing you how to master the primary keys you need to Command and Control ARCHICAD… and a clue to what these first keys are has just been given right there!

The first key we will look at is the Command or Control key depending on your operating system.  In the articles that will follow over the coming weeks, we will also look at Shift, Alt and the Spacebar.

So let's begin with Command (Mac OS) or Control (Windows)…  there are piles of uses for this key but we will concentrate on four really useful ‘old school’ functions then a couple of shortcuts that are worth know about.

When you are working with Linear Elements (Wall, Beam, Line, Polyline) you can use the following three functions:


There is a Trim Function in ARCHICAD - but this involves finding a shortcut button which can only be used once.  If you need more than one Trim, you need to repeat the action again and again.  However, if you know this shortcut, you can Trim any linear element, at any time, with any Tool active in the Toolbox by simply holding Command (Cmd) or Control (Ctrl) and left clicking… that can save A LOT of time :-)

Trim will work on any linear element that is intersected by another edge / contour.  This could be a line with another line or a wall with a slab edge or any similar combination.  To Trim, you simply hold Cmd or Ctrl and click on the edge you wish to remove.  This will be trimmed to the nearest intersecting edge.  

Here is an example showing nothing selected, the Wall Tool active (any Tool will do!) and the Command or Control key held down showing the intelligent cursor with scissors:



ARCHICAD has an Adjust Function which will Extend elements… but the Extend function is another ‘old school’ function that is very quick to use when you know the technique.  Extend and Break are a little bit different to Trim.  With Trim, any Tool can be active in the Toolbox - but Extend and Break need to have the correct Tool active in the Toolbox.  If you are extending a Wall, the Wall Tool must be active.  If you are extending a Line, the Line Tool must be active.

To Extend an element, it must first be selected and the appropriate Tool active in the Toolbox - then all you need to do with Cmd or Ctrl click on an edge (Mercedes icon) to Extend it to.  

Here is an example showing a Beam being Extended to a Wall.  You will see the Beam Tool is active in the Toolbox and the Mercedes icon is shown on the edge to be extended to… all that needs to be done is Cmd or Ctrl + click to complete:



Breaking Linear elements is something that is useful to know - especially when developing a design.  You may for example start a project with lengthy simple wall structures that require refinement as the project develops.  As with Extend, if you are Breaking a Wall, the Wall Tool must be active.  If you are Breaking a Line, the Line Tool must be active.

To Break an element, it must first be selected and the appropriate Tool active in the Toolbox - then all you need to do with Cmd or Ctrl + click on an edge (Mercedes icon) that intersects the element to Break it.  

This next example shows a Line about to be broken.  The Line is selected, the Line Tool is active and the Mercedes icon is showing on the edge where the Break will take place:



Another really useful and speedy function the Command or Control key performs is to add points to a Dimension line.  Like Extend or Break, the golden rule is selecting the element you want to modify (the Dimension line) and making sure that Tool is active in the Toolbox.  Once this is the case - all you do is Cmd or Ctrl + click on a point you want to add to the Dimension line… and that is it!  Simple!

Here is an example showing the process - you will see the Dimension Line is selected, the Dimension Tool is active and the mouse is showing a Tick and highlighting the element that will be associated to the Dimension Line.  Fortunately it takes a lot longer to explain that actually do this sort of thing!



Whether you use Windows or Mac OS you will likely know that Ctrl and Cmd are used for a whole variety of standard shortcuts.  ARCHICAD uses many of these shortcuts so here are a few of the most useful ones…

Cmd + A / Ctrl + A = Select All which can also be filtered with Tool type and Marquee

Cmd + Z / Ctrl + Z = Undo… who doesn’t need this!!

Cmd + Up Arrow / Ctrl + Up Arrow = Go up one storey

Cmd + Down Arrow / Ctrl + Down Arrow = Go down one storey

These are pretty difficult to try and show in a screenshot - so why not take a look at the following video which runs through all of the items discussed in this article…


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Sandpoint, ID