Free Resources for ArchiCAD Users
Here is a list of great resources for ArchiCAD users, mostly online and all free.
ArchiCAD-Talk – The grandfather of all community support resources for ArchiCAD, it’s been going since the 90’s. This community forum is a great place to ask questions – you’re likely to get an answer relatively quickly even at odd hours (members are quite international), or start a discussion that will shed insight on whatever you bring up. Membership required to post, but you can sign up for free. A robust search function allows you to use the forum as a research tool – i.e. “has anyone already asked about this?” Active moderation keeps the board spam free – and all commercial notices are relegated to a separate section on Ads.
ArchiCAD Wiki – The official ArchiCAD knowledge base, maintained by Graphisoft. The wiki is a large collection of articles on different topics. There are tutorials authored by various experts (including me) mixed in with technical notes from Graphisoft relating to bugs, issues, workarounds, troubleshooting guides, etc. for all recent versions of ArchiCAD. The search function allows you to find articles with specific keywords in their title, or anywhere in their text. Of particular note is their page showing dozens of locations where you can download or buy ArchiCAD objects:
GDL Object Depository – Technically this is part of the ArchiCAD-Talk forum, but it deserves it’s own mention because of it’s unique function. Anyone may contribute (deposit) an object to this collection of freely downloadable objects and other resources such as textures. My favorite is the Building Textures collection, which is found in the Archicad Textures section; downloadable in three separate pieces, it contains a total of more than 2,000 textures representing a wide variety of building materials.
Graphisoft Interactive Training Guides – Graphisoft has produced a number of special training courses that are available from this page, or you may use the Help menu inside ArchiCAD and choose ArchiCAD Training. They generally are a combination of a series of video files showing you what to do, a PDF guide, and a series of project files that you “work on” and open up in turn as you move through the lessons. The reason I put “work on” inside quote marks is that they frequently have you draw things that are shown onscreen, snapping to points that are shown as guides. This is not a “realistic” workflow, but it does at least give you the satisfaction that “you built it yourself” even though your hand was held tightly the entire time. Experience BIM is an introductory tour of ArchiCAD’s concepts using an intricate Frank Lloyd Wright Design, but the real introduction to using ArchiCAD is in the ArchiCAD Essentials. Other courses include advanced modeling, creation of custom objects, and several focused on collaboration and ArchiCAD’s Teamwork functionality.
Graphisoft North America blog – This is a recent addition to the online communication of Graphisoft North America. It offers a variety of news articles, interviews, event notices and other posts about ArchiCAD.
ArchiCAD Help – Inside ArchiCAD, use the Help menu to get access to ArchiCAD Help. There is a lot that you can figure out right when you need it. TIP: You can right-click on any icon or tool, or within any dialog box, and select Help, and the Help system will immediately come up, often to the section focused on that dialog box or topic.
ArchiCAD Reference Guide – Inside ArchiCAD, use the Help menu and choose AC14 Reference Guide (or the one appropriate for your version). This is a voluminous and extensive PDF file (the ArchiCAD 14 guide has well over 2300 pages, although some of them have very little printed on them).
Facebook has become a place not only for social interactions with friends and family, it also more and more is a place where business and professional networking happens. In addition to every member’s personal profile page, there are “fan pages” (now known simply as “Pages”) for products, groups and interests. Here are a selection of the most important Facebook pages for ArchiCAD users to check out.
ArchiCAD – Believe it or not, as of June 24, 2011, 29,336 people “Like” the ArchiCAD page on Facebook! That means there are at least that many ArchiCAD users on Facebook. The number has been growing steadily month by month (I recall it was about 15,000 in February) – over 100 people add themselves each and every day. It is a great place to post images of your work for others worldwide to see. You’ll also see announcements about webinars and other ArchiCAD-related events by Graphisoft and others.
ArchiCAD User Group International – This is an “open group” that anyone can join; as of June 24, 2011 there were 231 members. The ACUA International is an organization of ArchiCAD users that produces a few educational events each year in various parts of Europe, and many of the posts relate to either upcoming events or discussions about events that recently concluded. You may ask to join the group using the link near the top of the page; there is no fee.
ArchiCAD Tutorials by Eric Bobrow – I maintain a presence here on Facebook, mainly to post information about my free tutorials as well as my fee-based ArchiCAD training. Please drop by and Like my page when you get a chance!
Other ArchiCAD-related pages, including archiCADmonkey and many others from around the world, may be found by entering the word ArchiCAD in the search bar at the top of any Facebook page.
LinkedIn is undoubtedly the leading social networking site for professionals. Unlike Facebook, there are tools for posting resumes and seeking connections with people for business purposes. In addition, interest groups (such as the ArchiCAD group) may create their own mini-forum, with threaded discussions. While not as widely used as Facebook, it is a growing presence in the online fabric that is good to be part of. Membership is free – visit www.linkedin.com to sign up.
ArchiCAD group – This group of well over 1,000 members maintains a very active discussion board. Basically, anyone can post a question or comment or announcement, and other members of the group can reply by “commenting” on the post. One of the most interesting and heated discussions this year was focused on ArchiCAD Detailing Best Practices, with over 95 posts. You can think of this group as a combination of ArchiCAD-Talk and Facebook – technical discussions (some very basic, others much more advanced) with a lot of participation; along with announcements related to ArchiCAD, including some links to free tutorials by Link Ellis or myself.
ArchiCAD Residential Designers group – This is a much smaller group, with less activity, but there are often interesting little discussions about working in ArchiCAD. It is a closed group, but you may contact the administrator to request membership (there is no fee).
Twitter – To see what’s happening in the wide world related to ArchiCAD, it can sometimes be fun to go to Twitter and search for the word ArchiCAD. You don’t have to join Twitter to do this. You’ll be given a list of all the recent tweets that have that word – most of them will have a brief description and a link to a page of interest.
Note that depending on your settings (including whether you are logged in to Twitter), you may get the “Top Tweets” for this search, or “All Tweets.” You can change this setting near the top of the page in the line underneath “Results for archicad” by using the tiny popup menu next to the word “Tweets”.
BLOGS & OTHER SITES
Bobrow Blog – my own site, where I’ve collected dozens of tutorial articles and videos that I’ve created over the years, and continue to create new material including a 7 part training series on the 7 Keys to Best Practices.
ArchiMAG – This ArchiCAD-focused magazine provides some of the articles from their print edition in free online form.
Shoegnome blog – Jared Banks writes about using BIM on a day-to-day basis. He’s created numerous tips on ArchiCAD, and also talks about BIM and management in general.
On Land blog – ArchiCAD and GDL tips from James Murray of Rill and Decker Architects, an experienced ArchiCAD/Mac practice. Very well-structured, easy-to-search information.
archiCADmonkey – The archiCADmonkey blog by Apollo Spiliotis is a place to find great articles, reviews, tips and tutorials about some well-established architectural + design related programs, as well as some other useful apps for iPhone + iPad.
Heise Education blog – Heise Education is the education arm of the emerging architectural practice Heise Pty. Ltd., founded by Florian and Rachel Heise, based in Queensland Australia. Florian has prepared about 21 short ArchiCAD video tutorials on a variety of topics.
CadimageWorld blog – Cadimage is the largest developer of ArchiCAD add-ons, with an extensive website selling their tools and other products. They have a dedicated support section as well, specifically for their own add-ons. The blog is an interesting collection of news and useful ArchiCAD tips, continually refreshed with new content – they call them Tip of the Day, and they often post new ones each day.
GENERAL WEB PORTALS WITH ARCHICAD SECTIONS
YouTube ArchiCAD section – Well, technically, there is no “ArchiCAD section” on YouTube, but you can do a search for “ArchiCAD” or “ArchiCAD tutorial” and you’ll find lots and lots of videos to enjoy. There were 3980 results when I searched for ArchiCAD as of June 20, 2011. Some are from Graphisoft corporate, and there is a wide mixture of promotional, educational, amusing, and personal contributions. Of course they vary in quality – but you can spend hours checking them out. (I recommend Enounce MySpeed, a tool you can use to watch videos faster while still retaining the sound quality – it allows you to watch more in a shorter time, while actually retaining more.)
I’ve got my own YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EricBobrow where I post all of my free video tutorials (as long as they fit into the 15 minute time limit, which I find somewhat restrictive). You may subscribe to my channel, or others like archiCADmonkey, to be notified whenever new videos are posted.
AECbytes Tips and Tricks – AECbytes is a web portal focused on Architecture, Engineering and Construction software. Their tips and tricks section features regular monthly articles on different BIM and construction software tools, including of course, ArchiCAD. I’ve written more than a dozen articles for this website since 2006.
Cadalyst ArchiCAD tips and tricks – Cadalyst Magazine sporadically has featured a contributed tips and tricks article by an ArchiCAD expert. I’ve published two articles on this site. This page compiles links and descriptions for all of their ArchiCAD-related articles.
CAD Digest ArchiCAD Reading Room – This long-standing collection of references to online articles, videos and tutorials is regularly updated by the editors of CAD Digest, so it continues to be an excellent reference.
TenLinks ArchiCAD page – Tenlinks is a holdover from the 90’s, when pages with human-curated link collections for specific interests were particularly important since search engines were in their infancy. They maintain a “Top 10” list for ArchiCAD on this page, along with some additional recommended links. It’s not been updated for a long while, and is getting out of date, but still may be worth a visit.