On Land

Environment Information
At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on Mac OS X. If you work at Rill, this is your stuff. If you don't, but you work in ArchiCAD, you may find something interesting. Anybody else, I don't know.

Every drawing or set we give to someone else should be archived as a PDF in the project folder at 2 Output : PDF Archive. This is for convenience and our own protection.

Archives should be named with the date, and a description if the set is for a specific purpose, such as a permit set. Example: Somebody Permit 2005-03-11.PDF. (Use Append Date to add the date.)

In OS X, PDFs can be created from any print dialog. PDFs saved in this way will be single files with all the printed sheets in them.

Version 10 adds new PDF abilities to Archicad itself. You can place PDFs in projects, and save PDFs without the use of the OS X print dialog.

As it stands, PDF creation in AC is a bit unsettled at the moment:

• The OS X print method given above still works, as long as you are using the Print command.

• When printing from Publisher, it doesn't work: Instead of a multi-page PDF, you get a single page, which represents only the last saved sheet. Worthless. Unless you're archiving one sheet; yeah, right.

• The Save PDF method, new to AC10, only works via Publisher. That is, you can't view a layout and Save As PDF.

I am a strong proponent of Publisher in general. I like that you can set up the output in advance and stop worrying about it. I also like that the answer to all questions of the form, 'How do I [make output]?' is, 'Publisher'. Using Publisher is using AC the way it is intended.

I can't stop you from 'printing' PDFs. (Check page setup. Select items in Navigator. File -> Print. Make sure 'Selected in Navigator' is on. Click PDF, choose the name and save location. Print.)

But Publisher is better. (Choose Publication set. Select items. Publish selected items.) It's quicker and more consistent, because more of the work is done in advance.

I have built several PDF publication sets into the templates. These include CDs, Schematics, and Existing drawings. All these sets are built with 'clones' of the layout book's subsets; as layouts are added, they will appear automatically in the publication sets.

The only setup you need to do is to change the path in the Publisher Set Properties. It should be [ProjectName]/2 Output/Publisher Outbox. (Use Append Date to move the files to the PDF archive, as well as to add the date.)

You can use PDFs to send drawings to consultants, if they just want to view the drawings and don't need CAD data. If they need actual drawing stuff, you need to send DWGs.

You can view drawing set PDFs using Adobe Reader or Preview, the OS X PDF viewer. I think Preview is better, but they both start to drag when viewing large sets of big sheets.