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ArchiCAD Tip: 'Merging' DWGs into ArchiCAD Projects

When using DWG information with ArchiCAD, it may be required to use/modify the actual 2D geometry from the DWG (instead of simply tracing) - for example, incorporating manufacturers data into a 2D Worksheet.

NOTE If you have not setup a DWG Translator for your office, please see our previous tip before proceeding with this workflow

From our own experience in DCS, the layer structures found in manufacturers DWGs rarely conform in an appropriate way to a typical BIM project - they use either abbreviated or coded layer names.

If a manufacturers set of layer is merged into a live project, it can then cause a management headache as all the layers (good & bad) will be mixed together in the layer listing.

Because of this, it is always suggested to:
- merge any DWG in to a SEPARATE (temporary) ArchiCAD file
- 'clean up' the geometry
- copy the appropriate geometry into the 'live' ArchiCAD project

Step-by-step workflow:

  1. Open an ArchiCAD session and create a new blank project using your own ArchiCAD template
  2. Goto the pulldown, File > File Special > Merge
  3. Choose the Filetype filter *.dwg file, browse to the appropriate folder and choose the DWG file
  4. When prompted, ensure to choose the 'Merge content of Model Space..' option
    If you are prompted to locate .SHX files, the simple suggestion is to choose 'Skip All' through these dialog
  5. Choose the specific methods (e.g. translator to use, and story onto which to place)
  6. Place the DWG
  7. Once placed the 2D elements may be grouped - which means they must be ungrouped, or groups must be suspended - before these specific 2D elements can be modified/deleted

  8. Select all elements and choose Edit > Grouping > Ungroup once, or simply Suspend Groups (also from Edit > Grouping)
  9. Select all elements - with the Arrow Tool selected, (use the keyboard shortcuts CTRL+A, or APPLE+A or goto Edit > Select All)
  10. Goto Edit > Reshape > Edit Selection Settings (or CTRL+SHIFT+T) to change all elements to one layer (i.e. "DWG - Imported")
  11. If your own template accomodates a more expansive layer setup for 2D information, you may need to assign elements to more specific layers

  12. Deselect all elements and re-activate Groups
  13. Select the elements and copy them (use the keyboard shortcuts CTRL+C, or APPLE+C or goto Edit > Copy)
  14. Open a new ArchiCAD and open the ArchiCAD project into which you wish to paste the data.
  15. Open the appropriate project window and paste the elements - ensure to click outside the resulting Marquee to confirm the paste operation

This workflow should now provide you with the means to incorporate editable DWG information into an appropriate area in an ArchiCAD project.