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ArchiCAD Keyboard Shortcuts – With PDF Cheat Sheet!

ArchiCAD Keyboard Shortcuts - PDF cheat sheet preview

ArchiCAD is one of the more popular BIM cad programs being used today. It’s known for its top-of-the-line solutions for all steps of the design and construction process. If you’ve used it before, you’ll know how versatile and useful it is for handling not just the stylistic and aesthetic parts of a building’s design, but also the technical and engineering part. The learning curve for the software is relatively mild, but if you’re completely new to BIM CAD software, then it might take some time to get the hang of using the program. The interface can be a little daunting since Graphisoft (the developers of ArchiCAD) have crammed a wide range of features into the software. But for the sake of discussion, we’re making the assumption that you’re not a complete novice to CAD programs and to ArchiCAD.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that you have the gist of opening up the program, creating and saving a project, and opening previously saved projects. With that basic workflow out of the way, the next step would be to optimize how you go about working with files. That’s where keyboard shortcuts come in. It might take a little time to get used to these commands, but once they become second nature, you’ll be breezing through creating and modifying project files like the best of them.


Table of contents


About ArchiCAD

ArchiCAD is a BIM and CAD software application for both Windows and Mac systems created by Graphisoft from Hungary. It is primarily used for various architectural processes but is widely utilized in engineering, urban planning, interior design, and other related fields.

ArchiCAD was first developed in 1982 exclusively for the Apple Macintosh. It launched in 1987 with a unique “Virtual Building” concept that has led some to regard it as the first program to use BIM technology. It was the first program to be able to integrate both 2D and 3D geometry and was considered ground-breaking in the amount of data it could store in its 3D models.

The basic features and capabilities of the software include the following:

       2D and 3D CAD/modeling capabilities – Different tools for drafting make accurate and highly detailed technical drawings possible. And with state-of-the-art 3D modeling tools, architects and designers have the freedom to experiment with an unlimited amount of building forms.

       Rendering and Visualization – ArchiCAD has built-in rendering capabilities that let users create accurate and photo-realistic interpretations of building plans and drawings. You can also use the program to compile and compose materials for printing.

       Collaborative features – with its BIM capabilities and built-in access to a central data storage server, collaborating and developing drawings and designs have never been easier.


ArchiCAD keyboard shortcuts

If you’re looking to find a complete list of ArchiCAD’s shortcuts, there’s a way to do so in the program itself. First, click on Work Environments, from there you can access Keyboard Shortcuts under Shortcut Schemes and can click Show Shortcut List in Browser to open up the complete list. It’s about 7 pages long so it could be daunting to go through them all.

Put simply, keyboard shortcuts are key combinations that you press to execute a command on ArchiCAD. Sometimes these shortcuts are just a single button press, often times you have to press a certain combination of 2 or more different keys. Opening a new document, for example, is done by pressing Ctrl + N.

Here are some lists of the more commonly used keyboard shortcuts for ArchiCAD, to help you digest the shortcuts a little easier.

Opening & saving files

Let’s begin with the most essential commands for opening and saving your files. 

SHORTCUT/ COMMAND DESCRIPTION

Ctrl + N

Opens up a new, blank project file for you to work on

Ctrl + Alt + N

Opens up a new, blank project file for you to work on while

Ctrl + O

Opens up a previously saved project file

Ctrl + W

Closes the presently open project file

Ctrl + S

Saves the progress of the open project file

Ctrl + Shift + S

Save as; Saves the progress of the open project file with the option of saving it as a new file with a new file name

Ctrl + P

Plots or Prints the open project file

Ctrl + Shift + P

Opens up the settings for Plotting or Printing your project file

Ctrl + Q

Quits the software

Drawing & editing

Commands related to drawing and editing are likely to be the most valuable shortcuts you will use. Simple keyboard shortcuts like ‘selecting all objects within a drawing’ are sure to be a welcome time saver for you.

SHORTCUT/ COMMAND DESCRIPTION

Ctrl + ‘

Places a file module

Ctrl + Shift + ‘

Opens up the Hotlink Manager

Ctrl + Z

Undo previous action

Ctrl + Shift + Z

Redo a previously undone action

Ctrl + A

Selects all objects on open project file

Ctrl + B

Repeats the last command executed

Ctrl + Shift + A

Find and select an object in the open project file

Ctrl + C

Copies a selected object or set of objects

Ctrl + D

Drags a selected object or set of objects

Ctrl + E

Rotate a selected object or set of objects

Ctrl + F

Split a selected object or set of objects

Ctrl + H

Stretch a selected object or set of objects

Ctrl + M

Mirror a selected object or set of objects

Ctrl + K

Resize a selected object or set of objects

Ctrl + –

Adjust a selected object or set of objects

Ctrl + 0

Trims an object to the level of the roof

Ctrl + T

Opens up Tool Settings

Ctrl + Shift + T

Edits the current selection set

Ctrl + Shift + D

Drags a copy of an object

Ctrl + Shift + E

Rotate a copy of an object

Ctrl + Shift + M

Mirror a copy of an object

Managing groups

Creating groups, exploding groups, suspending groups and more can all be controlled with a simple set of keyboard shortcuts.

SHORTCUT/ COMMAND DESCRIPTION

Ctrl + Shift + G

Ungroups a group

Alt + G

Suspends a group

Alt + Shift + G

Automatically creates a group

Ctrl + =

Explodes a group or set of grouped objects

Miscellaneous editing commands

Here’s a list of handy shortcuts related to the editing process. Commands in this list include a quick method for creating patches, grid snap options and more.

SHORTCUT/ COMMAND DESCRIPTION

Ctrl + ;

Creates a patch

Shift + F6

Brings tools displayed to front

F6

Brings tools displayed forward

F5

Brings tools displayed backward

Shift + F5

Brings tools displayed to back

F7

Shows options to clean up the intersections and connections of selected beams or walls

F8

Snaps an object to the grid

Ctrl + L

Opens up setting for Layers

Ctrl + R

Redraws an object

Ctrl + Shift + R

Rebuilds an object

View options

We end our list of the essential ArchiCAD keyboard shortcuts with a selection of view commands. Change zoom level,  pan and switch to 3D views all with simple keyboard shortcuts.

SHORTCUT/ COMMAND DESCRIPTION

Ctrl + /

Zooms the display in

Ctrl + Shift + /

Zooms the display out

Ctrl + ,

Pans the display

Ctrl + Shift + ‘

Zooms display to selection

Ctrl + ‘

Fit display to window

Ctrl + \

Set display to full screen

Ctrl + Shift + \

Zoom display to home

Ctrl + [

Zoom to previously displayed extents

Ctrl + ]

Zoom to next display extents

Ctrl + 2

Opens up the floor plan

Ctrl + 3

Opens up a 3D view

Shift + F8

Options for grid and background


ArchiCAD keyboard shortcuts: Final notes

This seems like a sizeable list, but believe it or not, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ArchiCAD shortcuts. These are some of the more commonly used ones out there, but depending on your own unique workflow, you’ll find yourself using a different set of shortcuts than other users.

Take some time to explore and really figure out how to streamline your working process. Some professionals see fit to even create their own custom shortcuts; we urge you to give that a shot if you’re looking to customize your experience and tailor-fit it to your specific needs. In any case, you can’t really use ArchiCAD to its fullest potential unless you familiarize yourself with keyboard shortcuts, so mastering these commands is key to developing your skill in the software.

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