Large Scale Part 2: Drawing Manager

Hello everyone,
Following our previous post about handling Big Models I would like to add a few more lines regarding the workflow with this kind of projects. Today I am going to talk about how to improve the management of a big amount of documentation using the Drawing Manager. Probably most of you know of its existence and advanced users surely use it in a daily basis.

The Drawing Manager in ARCHICAD is a palette that can be found in Window/Palettes/Drawing Manager or in File/External Content/Drawing Manager. The reason for this is that it manages the drawings produced in ARCHICAD plus the drawings we import from an exterior source such Pdfs and DWGs.
This palette displays all the drawings we have in our file. It displays the name, the path, the ID the Status, etc.. We can visualise the whole list of drawings organised by any of these criteria fields which is quite useful.
Let’s have a look to the advantages that we can get from using the Drawing Manager.
Update Drawings
Using properly the DM will save us a lot of time and will help us to keep under control the status of our drawings. Drawings are usually everything that is placed on a Layout that comes from an ARCHICAD view. But also it can be external sources. Usually the way that drawings are updated is automatically when we “look at them” in our ARCHICAD screen. This standard method is very useful because it would be a bit painful to have to update them all manually every time we look to them. It usually takes just a few seconds.

When drawings get heavier and display big amount of information this update takes longer time. If we want to work on the layouts we may want to avoid this waiting time of the update of the drawings. The way to do that is to select a drawings and in the Drawing Selection Settings, change the Update type from “Automatic” to “Manual”. This means the drawing will only update when we make it manually. With this method we can select the Drawing, do right click and select “Update”.
Remember that Sections, Elevations, 3D Documents can take longer time to be updated because of the amount of geometry and graphic data they display.

What if you need to do this for 200 Drawings? It is a huge waste of time to go one by one right? First in the DM Palette if you select a group of Drawings and then do right click in one of the selected ones we can select Drawing Settings from there. You can select all the drawings and then on the Drawing Settings select Manual Update type. Then we can work in our model and move through the Layouts without waiting a second for the drawings to update.
The moment you want to check all the changes in all your drawings (Details, Floor plans, Diagrams, Axonometric, etc..) you select all of them and click Update from the DM palette list. It can take a few seconds or a couple of minutes depending on how many drawings you have and how complex they are. All of them will be updated and you can go through all of them easily. Is just more efficient.

Linking Drawings and Open Source View
Doing Right Click on any drawing on the list of the DM will allow you to link the drawing to a different source view from the view map and also Open the Source View of the Selected Drawing to work on it. These options can be use as well when you are on the Layout that contains your Drawing, but thanks to the DM you can do it easier and faster since you don’t have to fly through your Layout Book to find a drawing in particular.
Re – Link External Drawings
When we have linked in our file CAD files or PDFs and we wan to update them because we know the file has been updated or the path of the link is broken, which happens quite often, or we want to choose a different source… the Drawing Manager Palette will help us. External Drawings are easy to recognise in the DM palette because the Icon on the left is different than the others. Also the name and the path are quite different.
This feature may not feel super useful. But when it comes to link large number of drawings from other consultants and some of them are heavy because the project is big then well, this feature becomes crucial. Also because sometimes the AC file gets very heavy and you don’t know that the reason is that there are big drawings hidden in the file and you just forgot to delete them. We can easily see how many external drawings are placed in your file witht the DM.

Modify Drawing’s Settings
In the same way we changed the Update Type as I mentioned previously, we can manage all the settings of our drawings at the same time using the Drawing Settings. Just do right click on the drawing of the list and then select Drawing Settings.
I would like to take the chance to mention here that a big advantage that the Drawing Settings offer to us is the possibility of changing some appearance options of our drawing. For instance we can override the Pen Set of the Drawing independently of the Pen Set that the Source View has assigned.

Why is this so awesome? Some times we need to use the same source view for different purposes with different Pen sets. If we don’t change the Pen Set in the Drawing Settings we would have to duplicate the Source view and apply to this one a different Pen Set.  Is just more tedious. Some times changing it in the Drawing itself saves a lot of time.
All these features of the DM would be useful as well in any kind of project even if they are not big. In big projects its advantage is clear but I must say I use this workflow for interiors as well and any project in general to boost my productivity.
I hope you found this article useful.
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