ArchiCAD Training | The Last Step – Make Your Work Count – Keep It Safe!

Eric BobrowThis is the seventh and final installment in my 7 Keys to Best Practices mini-course. I hope you’ve enjoyed the lessons as much as I have enjoyed creating them.

Boiling ideas down to the essence is an interesting exercise. I had to ask myself: just what are the salient points, the minimum necessary to communicate the principle? How can I include or create a specific visual example?

My aim: to say enough, and just enough.

All my work preparing these lessons is now “safe”: the entire series is posted here on this site in the section on free ARCHICAD TRAINING.

How safe is your work?


Over the past 21 years, I’ve had a number of unnerving calls from frantic ArchiCAD users who have crashed and are facing the prospect of losing hours of effort. They ask me – doesn’t ArchiCAD automatically save my work?

I ask them – when was the last time you saved your file manually? Sometimes the answer is – “I haven’t saved it since lunchtime” – or worse – “I can’t remember if I saved the file since I opened it this morning.”

ArchiCAD Autosave settings dialog

The Autosave feature in ArchiCAD is powerful and convenient. Every 10 editing actions, or at another user-defined interval, ArchiCAD saves in the background a copy of your current work. In theory, and most of the time in practice, if the program closes abruptly because of a problem, you’ll be offered the opportunity to resume your work with that Autosaved file.

However, occasionally this doesn’t work, particularly if a crash happens at the moment of the Autosave. It is essential to save your work periodically during your session using the File menu > Save command or the equivalent keyboard shortcut or icon button.

Don’t go all day or even several hours without saving – you’re taking an unnecessary risk! Hit Control-S or Command-S whenever you stop to think or take a phone call – you’ll be glad you did. How much time can you afford to lose?


Portable hard disks make great backup devicesIt’s important to develop good habits for saving and backing up your work as you go along, as well as periodically migrating projects from older versions of ArchiCAD to the current one. This will help you to avoid data loss or any loss of work, from day to day or over the long term.

File backup strategies are often neglected or misunderstood, particularly by busy sole practitioners or principals of small offices. The basic rule for minimizing the chance of loss of data is to have redundancy.

Periodically save a copy of your working files to another media, such as a file server, an external hard drive or a flash drive, so that if your internal hard drive goes down you won’t lose that work.

For greater safety, on a regular basis (perhaps once per week) make a copy of your critical files off-site (perhaps on an additional portable disk drive that is carried home, or through an online backup service), so that if there is a burglary, fire or other disaster you’ll be able to recover.


Migrate files from older versions of ArchiCAD on a regular basis to reduce the chance that you’ll have an unreadable file just when you need it most – when a client comes back to you for a remodel or follow-up project!

I suggest you resave your old files in the current ArchiCAD version every 2 to 4 years to keep them easily accessible and minimize the chance of a disk or file being unreadable.

Over the years, you’ll benefit greatly from all the efforts you put in towards optimizing your practice, as well as developing the good habits that keep your work well-organized and safely at hand. The return on investment (ROI) on learning and training yourself to work more efficiently is enormous.

For example, suppose you could be just 10% more efficient due to learning and implementing a few of the ideas I’ve introduced to you in this series. How much is 10% of your time worth, over the course of a year?

If you run your own office, with or without staff, you know that these days the profit from a job is only a modest percentage of the fee. If the hours spent producing drawings are not managed, you can even lose money. Imagine what 10% or perhaps 20% improvement in productivity could mean, in terms of profitability!


If The Best Practices Courseyou like my free tutorials, you’ll love my Best Practices Course. The course is much more than just a large number of lessons. It’s a comprehensive system that will give you an in-depth understanding of the important principles, strategies and tactics that will save you time, money and frustration. I boil 21 years and 17 versions of ArchiCAD down to the essentials.

The Best Practices Course includes both prepared training videos and an intensive coaching program. You’ll get all the support you need to be successful. There is a whole community developing around the Best Practices Course, so you’ll never be alone if you need help.

Please visit the Best Practices Course website for more information and to register.

The ROI on great training like this is better than almost any other investment you can make.

If you have questions about the course, or comments about this mini-training series, I’d love to hear from you, either by email or by posting a comment here on the website.

Share with your colleagues
Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: