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ArchiCAD Tip: Quick Layers


When working in ArchiCAD, it is often required to turn layers on and off frequently.
There is the context-menu option of Layer > Hide Layer - but no option to restore/un-hide that layer.
It can become very tedious using the Layers Settings dialog constantly, and unfortunately there is no 'memory' in the Layers Settings dialog, so there is no way to 'remember' the last layer(s) we chose to show/hide.

The 'Quick Layers' palette improves this situation, by introducing Layer Visibility options and also retaining the history (10 steps) of layer activity.

This very useful palette can be found in the pulldown menu "Window > Palettes > Quick Layers"
This palette is also dockable, and what I would recommend is to dock the palette underneath the default Info Box.

Also note that Quick Layers are not the same as Layer Combinations - do not confuse the two workflows.

The Layer commands that are available on the palette:
"Show/Hide Toggle" - this inverts the visibility of all layers: shown>hidden & hidden>shown

"Lock/Unlock Toggle" - inverts the state of all layers: locked>unlocked & unlocked>locked

"Selections Layers - Hide/Lock/Unlock "
These three buttons affect the state of the Layers belonging to the currently selected elements.
Also, these buttons can affect more than one layers

"Others' - Hide/Lock" applies the same logic as above, for the elements that are NOT selected.

"Undo Quick Layer Actions" / "Redo Quick Layer Actions"
• These commands undo/redo the last Quick Layer actions, and this can be where the power of Quick Layers introduces itself.
• The ability to undo/redo layer options can be extremely useful.
• These Undo/Redo buttons DO NOT apply to any direct modelling changes that have been applied
• They only apply to the 'stack' of Layers commands applied via the Quick Layers palette.

Classic example of Quick Layer usage
"Furniture (on a single layer) is showing on a Floor Plan, and you need to check the plan without furniture"
Workflow:
• Select a furniture object in Floor Plan
• Click 'Selections Layer - Hide'
• Apply any model changes that are required
• Click Undo (on the Quick Layers palette) - this does not undo the model changes applied
• The Floor Plan display returns to previous state.

One minor point about this palette is that it will not remember its state from one ArchiCAD session to another.
This means that you will have to recall the Palette at the start of each ArchiCAD session.

To overcome this minor point (and if you consider yourself well-advanced in ArchiCAD), you could consider developing a Work Environment to incororpate the Quick Layers palette
Work Environments as a separate area of functionality in ArchiCAD are extremely useful once you have passed through the beginner stage of ArchiCAD.
Note: The position of the Palette requires a new Palette scheme, and should be activated & docked first, before saving the Palette Scheme.

To become familiar with Work Environments, please take a look at our previous tip on Work Environments

Last Updated: 28 August 2012