Command and Control ARCHICAD - Part 3


This is the third of a series of four #justthetip articles showing you how to master the primary keys you need to Command and Control ARCHICAD… in this article we will take a look at the Alt key and what it does in ARCHICAD.

The Alt key can be shown with a variety of symbols… alt, Alt, ALT or even Options on some older Apple keyboards!  The bottom line is they all mean the same thing!

The Alt key works mainly as a modifier in combination with other keys - but the first action it does all on it’s own combined with only a simple mouse click...

Pick Up Parameters / Set as Default

When you are working in a model with elements already in place, you often need to create something that is already elsewhere in the model.  

Rather than manually set the parameters (again!) all you need to do is hold Alt and click on one of those existing elements.  This does a number of things instantly... it picks up ALL the parameters, sets them as default and activates the appropriate Tool.  

As soon as you hold Alt, you will see the intelligent cursor change and show a Pipette.  When you move over any element, it will highlight in blue and show what you are about to pick up parameters from.

Personally, I use this option a lot - even just to switch to a Tool so I can then use Shift (discussed in the last article) to enable me to filter my selections.


Inject Parameters

Now that you have Picked Up Parameters you will likely want to use them somewhere.  To do this, all you need to do is combine Alt with Cmd (Mac OS) or Ctrl (Win) and click on the element you want to Inject the Parameters in to.

This time, when you hold Alt+Cmd or Alt+Ctrl, the intelligent cursor will change to show a Syringe.  When you move the mouse over any element, it will highlight in blue to show what you are about to Inject the parameters to.

Please note: Injecting parameters can only be done within the same type for element.  For example, you can pick up parameters from a Wall and inject them in another Wall - but you cannot inject them into a Slab or Roof.

Here is a closeup of the Pipette and Syringe intelligent cursor symbols in ARCHICAD 20:


Move User Origin

Sometimes when working in a Project it is necessary to move the User Origin.  There is a shortcut button (shown below) that can be used for this… but the ‘old school’ method is to move the mouse to the point you want to use (until the Intelligent Cursor shows a Tick Mark) then press Alt + Shift...  the User Origin moves to the new point!

The example below shows the Project Origin (which cannot be moved) at Point 1 and the local User Origin at Point 2:



There are lots of shortcuts using the Alt* key - but only a few that I personally use or recommend getting to know:

Cmd / Ctrl + Alt + N = New and Reset Project

Alt + G = Suspend / Enable Groups (I use this one all the time!)

Alt + E = Suspend / Enable Element Snap

Alt + F2 = Suspend / Enable Trace and Reference

Alt + Left Arrow = Go to Previous Layout

Alt + Right Arrow = Go to Next Layout

* Please note: the BIM6x Work Environment uses Alt as the modifier for duplicating elements (Drag / Drag a Copy etc).  Please refer to Options> Work Environment> Keyboard Shortcuts to check your specific settings.

Shortcuts are pretty difficult to show in a blog, so here is a video that runs through all of the points mentioned above...

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"As the complexity of our designs have increased, Archicad has proven to be the tool that allows us to work through our designs in 3D, then allows us to provide documents that demonstrate our design intent."

Michael A. Gardner - Principal, Studio G Architecture
Las Vegas, NV
"We use Archicad exclusively in our office for all phases of design. We have developed a template over the last several years that saves us time on every project. We are also very pleased with the graphical output, using the software to produce project maps, construction documents, 3D details and photo real renderings that update automatically as the design evolves. Our clients are impressed with our ability to study various options on the fly using Archicad."

Jake Ostlind, Carney Logan Burke Architects
Jackson, WY