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ArchiCAD Tip: Importing DWGs Part 1: The 'Drawing' Tool

With respect to bringing DWG information into ArchiCAD projects, there are three separate methods available in ArchiCAD (each has their own reason for being used).

The simplest of these is to use the 'Drawing' tool.
The 'Drawing' tool can be used to link in other documents (such as images & PDFs) but we will concentrate on the DWG aspect here.

You would choose this method when you:
• do want to display the DWG elements in some form in the project
• do NOT want to edit the DWG elements

Some benefits of using the Drawing tool approach are:
• the DWG is linked into ArchiCAD - if the original DWG file changes, it will update in ArchiCAD
• no extra layers are created in your ArchiCAD project
• the DWG geometry elements are locked, therefore they cannot be editted accidentally
• if you decide to change the edit methods, you can simply 'explode' the placed drawing which gives you full access to the DWG elements

How to place a DWG using the Drawing tool
i) Click once on the 'Drawing' Tool, located in the 'Document' section of the Toolbox

ii) In the Infobox, choose an appropriate layer to place the DWG, e.g. 'Imported DWGs'

iii) Click once on the Floorplan
iv) In this dialog, change the 'Files of Type' option to 'DWG'

v) Browse to, and select, the DWG file
vi) When prompted, choose the Drawing Unit option (see attached image) (Note: the Drawing Tool does not rely on a DWG Translator)
• Survey drawings will commonly be drawn with a 'meter' unit in DWG
• Design drawings will commonly be drawn with a 'millimeter' unit in DWG

vii) The drawing will then be placed on the Floorplan
viii) The border of the Drawing acts like the perimeter of a Slab, in that Pet Palettes can be used for manipulation

Additional Tip
If you link in a survey drawing, it is a very common occurrence that the data in the original survey drawing is located relative to a country datum, therefore the elements will be a large distance from the origin point.
The placed drawing in ArchiCAD will then be very large and the important data will be located somewhere in the top right hand corner of the drawing (with everything else just empty space).
If this is the case, then you will definitely need to use Pet Palettes to crop the placed drawing and then you can move the placed drawing back to the origin point.