William Sutherland


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Conservatories used to be a pain to draw but modelling them in Allplan is actually easier
Tips & Tricks...

Please Note - Pages are now obsolete
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Keep track of Properties...

Coming back to amend a project designed even a few weeks ago can be taxing to the brain as you try to remember the various offsets you have applied to roof coverings and suchlike. I used to write down notes of these but have noticed that there is a 'Print' icon on each properties dialogue. Click this and it will allow a copy of the on-screen dialogue to be printed to the printer of your choice. Very useful - except that (Allplan being Allplan!) the Roofcoverings dialogue does not include this option!
- in v17, 2003 and 2004 more dialogs now have Save and Load styles enabled.
Quick change active file...

A very powerful command tucked away near the bottom of the 'Shortcut' menu (right-click on an element) only appears when you right-click on an element in a drawing file in 'Edit' mode - i.e. not the 'Active' one you are working in. It is called 'Activate Drawing File'. Clicking on this option makes the drawing file containing the element you have right-clicked on the 'Active' one. The enormous benefits of this are that any elements then added will be in the same drawing file as the element you right-clicked. It happens so transparently that the only indication is a change to the title bar at the top of the main window and so some care is needed to keep track of which drawing file you are really in.
A secondary benefit is that it enables you to find out which drawing file an element happens to be in!
Change wall face colour...

To change the colour/texture of one side of a multi-layer wall in the animation window use 'Change Archit. Properties'. Set the pen colour or texture, zoom in on the wall and carefully select the inner or outer layer, and then confirm the change. It does not seem possible to do this when setting up walls - they must be edited after being created.
Update September 2002 - using the 'custom surfaces' tool textures can also be applied individually to wall layers.

Allplan 2004 - completely new and comprehensive wall properties dialogue now included which allows surfaces to be set at same time as thickness etc.
Window opening indicators...

To get rid of the annoying lines that display on windows in animation, section and hidden line views to show which is the hinged side just go into 'Show/Hide' on the 'View' menu and deselect the option 'Smart Symbol Foil A'. I have not seen anything else disappear yet as a result.
Useful notepad in filesets...

Useful for recording Designer's Risk Assessments and suchlike, you can create a text note relating to a fileset within the Detailing Module. There is also an option to paste the note into the drawing file. There is not much formatting available but it is a useful location for such notes.
Text - Find/Replace ...

From the 'Edit' drop down menu on the main toolbar (top of screen) there is a 'Find/Replace' tool at the bottom of the list. Select this and the command line asks you to point at the text to be searched and then for the search text; at this point you can then indicate any text in the drawing file (it pulls it in one line at a time) for further editing as your search text and similarly once you proceed to 'Replace' you can still indicate any text on view for the replace text. In practice this makes life easier as the replacements are usually just things like 'Existing' to 'Proposed' in titles which are otherwise identical.

Update January 2003 - The Find/Replace tool seems to have been improved in v 17, or I have just noticed it. You can drag a box around all the text you wish to search for which is much faster - although it does not ask you for confirmation before replacing the search text.
Why do so many CAD systems have such limited text handling facilities?
Pass me that axe, Eugene !...

You can turn off the beep although I would not recommend it as it lets you know if you have missed snapping to a point (go to 'Tools->Options->Global->Display tab').
A better solution is to change the sound to something shorter - in Windows go to 'Start->Settings->Control Panel->Sounds and Multimedia' then in the dialogue highlight 'Default Beep' in the 'Sound events' window; Click the drop down arrow on the 'Name' window (it defaults to 'ding.wav' usually) and choose another sound from the list - you can test them by pressing the 'play' button once you have chosen a filename. My favourite - because it is the shortest is 'start.wav'. Personally I turn off most of the sounds by choosing 'none' against all the events or set them to 'start.wav'.
Color-pen association - yes/no?...

In the 'Show Hide' command (wherein lurk all sorts of useful switches) it is handy to be able to 'disconnect' colours from being linked to pen thicknesses so that you can use a bigger range of colours in the animation window. I have tried working with and without and I would definitely recommend sticking 'with' the default value of 'Yes' (highlighted). There is a 'Thick Line' option which shows the 'real' printed thicknesses but I find there is no substitute for knowing your pen thicknesses at a glance. Also colour fills will plot out regardless of the pen settings and you can always switch off colour-pen association just for rendering. Note that in v16.1 pen colours (or 'colors') are now 'sticky' - even if edited - I have not yet figured out the reason for this. It was complicated enough before, relating pen colours to animated colours.
Update September 2002 - changed again in v17.0a - any colour with any pen but when color/pen assocation is turned ON, lines will display onscreen in the colours set up in Pen Defaults - in 'Tools->Defaults'.
Update May 2003 Allplan 2003 has changed this (again!) but I think Nemetschek have finally got this right.
Enabling color/pen association allows colours to be locked to pen thickness but the colour actually chosen is the one used in the animation window... UNLESS you tick the option in Animation Display Properties to keep it the same.
Filter assistant...

In 2D work use the double chevron option to match features of existing elements and the range of filter assistants - terrific for fiddly things - say moving all the leader lines to the text layer. You can then select the entire drawing file in one go. The 3D architecture element filters are more obvious but just as good (why is the list of elements not in any obvious order?).
Update September 2002 - Hurrah! in v17.0a filter elements now in alphabetic order!
Filter confusion ...

Note that the entry in the Arch. element Filter Assistant for 'Hip/valley' only seems to apply to hips - there is another entry further down the list for 'Valleys'.
Filter Options Help...

here is a hard-to-find Filters Help File page I tracked down which covers all the filter options.

Allplan 2004 - in recent versions some of the filters have been moved to different toolbars - but you can always move them back using Tools->Customise..
Install True Type fonts...

You need to use Project Pilot for this - it is described in the Help file. A very good implementation of Truetype in Allplan v16 - it can be tricky in CAD systems but Nemetschek seem to have done a first class job on it.
Update Aug 2005 Allplan 2005 you can assign any TT font just as in all Windows applications.
Customise the toolbars...

create new ones and drag and drop icons (takes a bit of working out) and then Save them - all from the 'Tools'->'Customise...' option on the top of screen menu bar. There are some good tools buried in the menus for 2D drawing. Dig out the 'Trim Lines to Element' for one and stick it where you can get easy access to it
Group numbers...

Creating symbols is easy in Allplan but if you also use the 'Assign Group Number' command (in the 'Format' menu options) the system will create a unique Group number for the symbol elements which allows them to be identified as a 'block' or 'pattern'. The benefit of this is that by holding down the middle mouse button and tapping the left button when selecting elements the whole symbol will be automatically selected. The supplied default symbols all exhibit this behaviour.
Update September 2002 - v17 introduces a more robust grouping tool separate from this regular grouping arrangement.
System Angle tool...

So simple to use but a brilliant idea. Available from the 'Tools' option on the top of screen menu bar. Just point at an element to make that the system angle (the cursor even adopts the new angle to remind you). Thereafter the 'Dynamic Toolbar' options will be referenced to this angle. Terrific for non-square buildings. Don't forget to reset the system angle to zero - if you point it at a vertical line the cursor will straighten up OK but you will find that the dimension tools (among others) will work the wrong way round. Safer to type in '0' at the prompt.
Fillet tool ...

- select the same line twice and the line becomes a curve which 'rubber bands' - very useful for electrical layouts for the 'wire' joining the fitting to the switch (i.e. draw all the lines straight and then edit them all afterwards with the Fillet tool).
Chamfer tool ...

Click on 2 lines and then enter '0' at the prompt to lengthen/shorten/join 2 lines automatically. (See tutorial on some of the special features of the chamfer tool in the 2D techniques page)
Freehand drawing tools...

Hold down the 'Alt' key on the keyboard and you can now draw freehand in the current line style (the Wacom pen makes this easier). I guess the 'granularity' or line length is taken from that last used in 'Create'->'Draft'->'Freehand Line'. (If you want a crash just use the 'Alt Gr' key instead!)
Here is a diagram from the Help file
which lists all the curious things you can do in Sketch mode with Alt key combinations.

Update May 2003 Allplan 2003 allows freehand slicing of dumb 3D objects - great for small landscapes. Why cannot slicing with a straight line be as simple???
Move text while Editing...

While still editing text in the text editor window you can click in the workspace to move the text around - very useful for exact positioning to avoid other notes.
Update the 3D view...

You've copied say, a window or door opening between drawing files but in the target file the wall still covers the window - i.e. the opening is not made although the drawn elements appear on the plan. Use 'Modify'->'Architecture'->'Restore 3D View'. Double right click in the workspace to update the model which also updates the plan. There is a similar tool for updating timber elements in 'Modify'->'Architecture'->'Rafter Design'->'Update' for updating timber elements after you have moved them. For example this 'makes good' the bits of rafters 'birdsmouthed' over wallplates and suchlike when the wallplate is moved.
Rooflight Smart Symbols...

the Smart Symbol Designer will work with rooflight openings (not prior to v16.1)
New option in v16.1 to set the height of the window relative to the roof construction.

Drawing in Isometric...

when tidying up isometric views in 2D (after doing a hidden line removal save) set the 'create'->'draft' dynamic toolbar cursor snap angled option to 45 degrees. This keeps new lines parallel to those in the drawing (assuming the default view was saved)
How do I trace round a curve?...

Puzzled me for a while this one - the slab tool seems to come with the 'autotrace ouline' set already but it can be activated for most operations within a defined area. The trick is not to snap a point but just an element - then in the dynamic toolbar click this option and then click within the area bounded by elements. Remember to turn off autotrace in the 'point assistant' toolbar after using it.
Update - in v16.2 - more options when drawing polylines
Update May 2003 Have careful look at the Help file for explanation of polyline entry tools and options - they are quite sophisticated but need understanding.

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