Archicad 17


Archicad 17 was announced on May 7, 2013.

"BIM Lives in the Details" is the main theme of Archicad 17.

Archicad 17 contains significant enhancements and additions that simplify the modeling and documentation of buildings even when the model contains an unprecedented level of detail. Archicad’s end-to-end BIM workflow allows the model to stay live till the very end of the project. The new features are: Priority Based Connections, Industry-first Background Processing, Extended IFC Model View Definitions, BIMobject® Partnership and Workflow Improvements.

See the product page on GRAPHISOFT site

Hard Core BIM - Watch the video series

Priority Based Connections - Watch the feature video


See also: System Requirements for Archicad 17

Archicad 17 system requirements:

Note: 32-bit operating systems are not supported.

Note: Archicad 17 is the last version of Archicad to support Mac OS X 10.6. Only case insensitive file-system volumes are supported.

Requirements for BIM Server:

  • Windows Vista - 64-bit versions*
  • Windows 7 - 64-bit versions
  • Windows 8 - 64-bit versions
  • Windows Server 2008 - 64-bit versions*
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 - 64-bit versions
  • Windows Server 2012 - 64-bit versions

Note: Only case insensitive file-system volumes are supported.

  • * Suitable for running Archicad 17, but not tested by GRAPHISOFT.

Archicad 17 can open or import the following file formats: See all the file formats that can be used with Archicad here.

  • Archicad projects (.pln, .pla, .bpn, .mod, .tpl, .plc, .pca) from Archicad 8.1 or newer
  • Archicad objects (.gsm) from ARCHICAD 4.55 or newer
  • PlotMaker layout Book (.LBK) and drawing (.PMK) files
  • IFC 2x3, IFC 2x3 compressed, IFC 2x3 XML, IFC 2x3 XML compressed - 2D and 3D content
  • DWF - 2D content
  • DWG (2000 to 2010) - 2D and 3D content
  • DGN (Microstation Design file) v7 - 2D content
  • 3DStudio (through the "3D Studio In" goodie tool) - 3D content
  • SKP (Integrated Connections with Google Earth, Sketchup) - 2D and 3D content
  • KMZ (Integrated Connections with Google Earth, Sketchup) - 2D and 3D content
  • STL (Stereolitography)
  • C4D (Cinema4D R12+ files through the Cinema 4D add-On) - 2D and 3D content
  • PDF
  • PICT vector images
  • EMF, WMF, XYZ - surveyor’s data
  • various raster image file formats (SGI*, PSD*, BMP, JPG, JP2*, PNG, PCT*, TIF, GIF, TGA*, QTIF*)

* Beginning with Archicad 15, QuickTime-based images are being phased out. Archicad 17 will still read all Quick Time formats, but later versions may not..

ARCHICAD 17 can save or export the following file formats:

  • ARCHICAD 17 Solo Project file (.PLN), Project archive (.PLA), and template (.TPL)
  • ARCHICAD 17 Project (.PLN) file
  • ARCHICAD Module (.MOD) file
  • ARCHICAD object (.gsm) (ARCHICAD 17-equivalent)
  • ARCHICAD object (.gsm) version 27 (ARCHICAD 16-equivalent), through saving a PLN with embedded library to ARCHICAD 16 format
  • ARCHICAD object script (.GDL)
  • ARCHICAD 2D Lines (.2DL)
  • ARCHICAD drawing file (.PMK) through the publisher when publishing Views
  • PDF, PDF/A
  • EMF, WMF
  • DXF
  • DWG (2000-2010 format, 2D and 3D)
  • DWF
  • DGN
  • IFC 2x3, IFC 2x3 compressed, IFC 2x3 XML, IFC 2x3 XML compressed
  • 3DStudio 3D studio file
  • SKP (Integrated Connections with Google Earth, Sketchup)
  • KMZ (Integrated Connections with Google Earth, Sketchup) - 2D and 3D content
  • C4D (Cinema4D R12+ files through the Cinema 4D add-On) - 2D and 3D content
  • OBJ Wavefront file (3D)
  • EPX Piranesi File (3D)
  • FACT ElectricImage file (3D)
  • VRL VRML file (3D)
  • STL Stereolithography file (3D)
  • LP Lightscape file (3D)
  • ATL ArtLantis Render Studio file (3D)
  • U3D file (3D)
  • various image formats (BMP, JPG, PNG, GIf, TIF)

See all the file formats that can be used with ARCHICAD here.

License Types

ARCHICAD 17 comes with several license types:

  • Commercial license requires a WibuKey or CodeMeter hardware protection key
  • Trial license is a fully functional 30-day license that can be downloaded from and comes with a license number
  • Demo version does not require neither a hardware key nor a license number. All save/export options are disabled, but printing is possible.
  • Education license is available through A 1-year license number is available upon approval.
  • Pay-Per-use (PPU) license requires a hardware key. PPU license lets you run ARCHICAD for the number of hours purchased. (not available on all markets)
  • Rental license requires a hardware protection key. A Rental license lets you run ARCHICAD for 1,3, or 12 calendar months.
  • License Borrowing - available from ARCHICAD 16 – when a temporary ARCHICAD Commercial license is borrowed from a multi-license CodeMeter protection key.

New Features


  • Automatic Model-Based Junctions
    • Priority-Based Connections Available for All Construction Elements
    • Other Improvements for Better Intersections
  • Link Element Height to Stories
    • Enable the height of walls, columns and zones to be linked to a particular story: when the story position changes, the heights of the linked elements are automatically adjusted. This way, you do not have to manually adjust element heights every time the story height changes.
  • Core-Based Reference Line
    • for walls and slabs: Option to assign a reference line-plane not just to either side of the wall, but also to either side of the wall’s core skin, or to the top/bottom of the slab core.
    • Use the new Modify Wall Reference Line/Slab Reference Plane dialogs (replaces Wall Extras) to relocate reference line/plane without moving the geometry.

  • Curved Beam
    • Use the Beam tool to create beams that are curved on a horizontal plane. Thus, beams can serve as support structures along curved walls.

  • More Intuitive Element Creation in 3D Window
    • In the 3D window, element input takes place at the elevation at which you click; the input plane snaps to the corresponding story level in space.
  • Anchor Door/Window Reveal to Wall Core
    • Anchor the Door/Window reveal to either the Wall face or the Wall core.


  • Building Material
    • The new “Building Material” attribute, which combines cut fill, surface material, priority, physical property and pens, is defined globally, then applied to any construction element, simplifying the user interface and allowing the same cut fill to be used consistently throughout the model.
    • At element level, pens and surfaces can be overridden as needed, including for Profiled elements.
    • Improved visualization of Building Materials on Composite and Profiled Structures in 3D.

  • Easily Editable 3D Cutting Plane
    • Define 3D cutaway sections of the model graphically, using one or more cutting planes in any location.

  • Improved Door/Window Placement
    • opening location
    • anchor point
    • reveal side
    • opening direction
  • Enhanced Composite/Profile Workflow
    • Select any Profile or Profile element in any view, then right-click to access the relevant Composite or Profile Settings directly.
  • Floor Plan-Based 3D Document
    • With a single click, create a 3D Document based on the Floor Plan: a section view, based on a horizontal cut plane in the Floor Plan window. Define the projection by setting a cut plane height and the projection direction either upwards (toward the ceiling) or downwards (to the floor). This type of 3D Document shows the cut part of the model, including sections of vertical structures (e.g. walls, openings). Interface and settings are based on the 3D Document.

  • Improved Zone Creation and Editing
    • New Zone input methods
    • Keep Zone Area Fixed while Editing
  • Smarter Attribute Management
    • After migration to ARCHICAD 17, using file merge or working with hotlinks, you may need to get rid of the unneeded attributes (e.g. layers, line types, fill types). A new workflow for attribute management helps save you time and prevent costly mistakes, allowing you to safely delete and replace attributes
      • Delete and Replace: After deleting an attribute from its Settings dialog box, you can define which attribute should replace it throughout your model (available for Building Materials, Line Types, Fill Types, Composites, Profiles, Surfaces, Zone Categories)DeleteReplaceLine.png
      • Delete Layers and Move Elements: After deleting a layer in Layer Settings, you have the option to replace it with a different layer. In this case, the elements from the deleted layer are placed onto the layer you specify.DeleteMove.png
    • If you are migrating multiple similar project files to ARCHICAD 17, the Replace Attributes by File function can help you speed up the migration process: it automates the Delete and Replace attributes function.See a description of this process at AttributeMigration.
  • Better Management of Hotlinked Modules
    • Now you can define a custom Master ID to every Hotlinked Module instance.
  • PDF/A Support
    • As of ARCHICAD 17, it is possible to save or publish views, layouts, publisher sets or the entire project in PDF/A format, a standard format for archiving purposes.
  • Export ARCHICAD Model to STL Format
    • You can directly save the ARCHICAD model as an STL file. An STL file carries only the surface geometry of a 3D model, divided into triangles, without any additional information (e.g. color, material).
  • Integrated Connections with Google Earth, Sketchup
    • Open or merge models from Google Earth (.kmz) or Sketchup (.skp) directly into ARCHICAD, or save the ARCHICAD models in either of those formats: the related add-ons are now fully integrated in ARCHICAD and require no extra downloads
    • Use File > File Special > Send Model to Google Earth for a one-step viewing experience
    • When merging a model to ARCHICAD, the user can choose between using the imported location coordinates, or retaining ARCHICAD’s Project Location data and placing the new data relative to these coordinates
    • If you only need the location data, you can import the location data stored in the .kmz or .skp file straight into your ARCHICAD model by using the Project Location dialog box

  • One-Step Renovation Status Update for All Elements
    • When a renovation project is finished, you will need to update all elements’ renovation status: for example, those that were “To be Demolished” can now be deleted; those that were “New” are now “Existing”.
  • Conceptual Design
    • New Morph scheduling features support conceptual design and mass modeling.
      • List the volume and area of Morphs separately by story (even as the multi-story Morph remains a single element).
  • Improved Tool Settings Interface

Open BIM

See also: OpenBim

  • IFC Improvements
    • Support for Multiple IFC Standards
    • IFC Publishing
    • Other IFC-related Improvements
  • Saving Elements to Common DWG Blocks
    • Until now, multiple instances of a single GDL Object - if they used varying parameters - were saved as separate DWG Blocks. As of ARCHICAD 17, such GDL objects will be saved as a single DWG Block. This way, you only have to edit a single block in AutoCAD, rather than multiple instances.

Energy Evaluation

See also: EnergyEvaluation

By introducing multiple thermal blocks to the Building Energy Model, Energy Evaluation for ARCHICAD 17 produces an increasingly sophisticated and accurate report of the project’s energy demand, using a standard-compliant engine. An expanded interface and new evaluation features take advantage of the more detailed data provided by multiple thermal blocks (instead of the single-block method used in ARCHICAD 16).

  • Easy Creation and Visualization of Thermal Blocks
    • A project’s Thermal Blocks are defined by the user; their geometry consists of one or more ARCHICAD zones. Each Thermal Block (e.g. Stairwell, Office, Basement, Technical Area) typically has its own energy characteristics and needs.
  • Streamlined Management of Structure/Opening Data
    • Use the Model Review Palette’s new Tree View to browse, edit and visualize the Openings/ Structure data, organized by Thermal Block
    • Properties panel provides editable list view
    • Openings page provides individual analysis (listing, editing and visualization) of each opening
    • More detailed parameter set allows for a more accurate energy simulation
  • Model-based Solar Irradiation Study
    • Model-Based Solar Irradiation Study determines precise solar gain through each individual opening in the building envelope
    • Graphical Solar Analysis feedback for each opening
    • Solar analysis also considers shading effects of building environment (e.g. adjacent objects, other buildings)
    • ARCHICAD plant objects act as intelligent shading devices: their shading capacity is scheduled for the reference year, making it possible to factor in whether the plants used for shading are coniferous or deciduous
  • Custom Operation Profiles
    • Define custom Operation Profiles (in addition to default profiles) to fine-tune occupancy according to local regulations or to match actual building usage
    • Hourly scheduling for the entire reference year guarantees accurate input of occupancy patterns
  • Assign Multiple Building Systems
    • In ARCHICAD 17, assignment of MEP systems is available for each thermal block separately - not just for the project as a whole. The resulting Energy Simulation thus presents a more realistic picture of the project’s energy demand.
  • More Detailed Energy Reports
    • More detailed energy reports in PDF and XLS formats
    • New formatting options, including colors, font, add image as header

Library Enhancements

Please note: Some new Library part developments are available in certain localized libraries only.

  • General Library Developments
    • To speed navigation among objects, similar library parts have been merged, while retaining all their parameters.
    • Some objects have been renamed to eliminate confusing abbreviations.
    • A new criterion allows library parts to be scheduled based on the name of the subtype they originate from.
  • Objects
    • Coordinate Dimension
      • The Coordinate Dimension object now has a 3D appearance, so that you can easily place it on the target point by using gravity.
    • Stairs and Railings
      • New 2D appearance for stairs and simple railings, similar to those created by Stair Maker.
    • RoofMaker Elements
      • Roof elements used by RoofMaker have a new graphical user interface.
      • Lumber Cut Size and Rounded Lumber Size values are calculated automatically.
      • Structural Length, Lumber Size and Lumber Size (rounded off) are displayed correctly and available for listing and schedules.
      • Subtype-based schedule scheme for Roof construction elements can be created.
    • New Object: Multileader Label Symbol
  • Labels
    • The Dimension label can display an element’s bottom and top elevation
    • The label was improved with a user interface for better transparency
  • Zone stamps
    • More Flexible Zone Stamp Data Display for Zone Stamp 2 and local stamps.
  • General door/window developments
    • Improved Placement of Doors/Windows
    • New closure types
    • Better Documentation of Openings
    • Sill and Threshold Improvements -> DACH only
    • Casing representation -> NOR only
  • Doors
    • New Doors
    • New Door Leaf Types
    • Improvements for Doors with Sidelight
    • Improved 2D Representation of Doors
    • More Parameters for Sliding Doors
    • Garage Door Enhancements -> DACH only
  • Windows
    • Basic Window improvements
    • New Sash and Opening Types for Windows
    • Better Opening Symbol for Elevation and 3D
    • Window Frame Improvements -> SWE, DACH only

ARCHICAD Performance Improvements

  • Faster Navigation with OpenGL
    • When navigating in large projects in the 3D window using Open GL, an improvement in 3D engine processes has speeded up navigation: up to ten times faster.
  • Improving SEO Performance
    • If your project contains a large number of Solid Element Operations, your performance will improve noticeably - due to more sophisticated data management, which avoids the need to recalculate Solid Operations that are used multiple times.
  • Double-Quick Library Loading Times
    • Library loading is now twice as fast! If you have loaded a library on this machine before, the next load will be much speedier, thanks to new caching processes. Works for any kind of library.
  • Better Performance with Older-Version Libraries
    • If you are using library parts from older-version libraries and older-version PLA files, the 2D rebuilds and 3D display of these library parts will speed up - thanks to improved management of archival library part data.
  • Faster Handling of Library Parts’ 3D models
    • The handling of library parts’ 3D models has been improved on a multicore processor: when you switch to a 3D view, the view can be generated up to 50 percent faster, depending on the number of library parts in the project.
  • Background Operations for Faster 3D
    • ARCHICAD uses background operations to calculate the precise geometry of construction elements which intersect or collide with each other. Background operations means that you can, for example, work on a floor plan view while the application calculates the geometry of elements not visible in the current view - without interrupting your workflow. Benefit: when you switch to another model view, the result will be displayed much faster.

Notes on possible change of file size from ArchiCAd 16 to ArchiCAd 17

ARCHICAD17 uses a different file format compared to previous AC versions.

  • files are optimized for reading and saving speed, not for file size.
  • opening and saving speed is already faster than in version 16, but the new file format offers possibilities to reach even speedier results in the future after some perspective development.
  • at open ARCHICAD does not read all the data of the file, only the necessary data to start
  • at save ARCHICAD does not write all the data of the file, only the data that changed since the last save
  • compared to the old format AC17 stores more data to support quick opening of files
  • instead of generating elements tied to hotlinks and xrefs, the 17 file contains these
  • in the case of damaged files, we are able to restore data in more instances. The repair function can be reached through the Open/repair file checkbox
  • the previous 2GB limit to filesize does not apply anymore, the computer's capacity is the only limit

File size changes caused by Save and Open & Repair

ARCHICAD users sometimes notice changes of the file size after Save or Open & Repair without having previously changed anything in the project. The reason for this is that project files contain "empty" parts without any useful project data as well.  These are necessary for maximizing the speed of saving. If the size of these "empty" parts exceed a certain value or more empty space is needed within the file the program compacts the file or increases its size. So if useful project data size increases by a certain amount it will not automatically increase the size of the file by the same amount. The same is true for reducing the data and/or file size. The only file format that is completely free of such "empty" parts is PLA. When repeairing the file with Open & Repair the program rebuilds the database of the project, which can cause that the size of the file changes even if there were no corrupt data to delete.