Virtual Trace: Using References to Edit and Compare Model Views and Drawings

In ARCHICAD, you can opt to display two different views concurrently in any model or layout window:

the Active Content – the actual model or drawing you are currently working on (“Active”)

the Trace Reference (“Reference”), optionally placed alongside, on top of or underneath the currently Active content. This acts as a kind of underlay, making it easy to compare multiple model views/drawings on the same screen.

The Trace Reference is essentially a temporary editing aid that is tied to the currently active window. The chosen Reference appears in a predefined default position (appropriate to the type of the Active Content and the Reference item).

Three item types can be chosen as a Reference:

1.Viewpoints. Any item in the Navigator’s Project Map (except 3D window items and list-type items) can be set as a Reference. The Reference Viewpoint will always reflect the current settings of the active window.

2.Views. Any view in the Navigator’s View Map (except 3D window items and list-type items) can be set as a Reference. The Reference’s view settings are independent of the active window. For example, if you change the layer combination in the active window, the Reference won’t change. If a view is deleted from the view map, its Reference is no longer available.

3.Layouts (and their drawings).

For example, you can draw a roof detail in a Detail window (the Active Content) while seeing the relevant wall section as a Reference.



Any given window can display only one Reference at a time. However, as you navigate among your project windows, you can display a different Reference in each:

The Floor Plan window has a single current Reference for all stories

Each Section, Elevation, Interior Elevation, 3D Document, Worksheet, Detail, Layout and Master Layout can have its own unique Reference.

Reference settings are saved along with the window (for example, each Section in your project can have a Reference of a different color and filter different elements).

References are also saved with the project file. All user-defined Reference-related parameters, such as the list of recent References and recently chosen Reference colors, are saved together with the project file.

When using the Print command to output a model window or a Layout, you can opt to print the currently visible Reference as well.

When you place a Drawing onto a Layout, the Drawing content will not include the Reference.

The user can offset and rotate the Reference as needed, though logical default Reference settings for each combination of Active/Reference views will usually align them correctly for the particular context.

On-Screen View Options (View menu) affect the Reference just as they affect the Active.

The cursor is sensitive to elements in the Reference. Consequently:

You can use the Pick Up Parameters command (Alt +C) on Reference elements, then transfer the parameters to an element in the Active.

You can use the Trim command, the Magic Wand, and snap points with elements in the Reference to edit Active elements.

Topics in this section:

Choose a Trace Reference

Show/Hide Trace Reference

Set Color of Reference Elements

Show/Hide Elements in Reference

Move/Rotate/Reset Reference

Switch Reference with Active: Access Elements within the Reference for Editing or Copying

Activate Reference

Rebuild Trace Reference

Compare Reference with Active

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Choose a Trace Reference

Use one of the following methods to choose a Trace Reference. Show Navigator Item as Trace Reference Browse for Trace Reference Choose Trace ...

Show/Hide Trace Reference

Click the Trace toggle button to show or hide the Trace Reference in the current window. The Trace toggle button is available: • in the ...

Activate Reference

The Activate Reference command is available from View > Trace Options, and from the list of Trace Reference commands (from the Standard ...

Rebuild Trace Reference

Use the Rebuild command (available from the Trace & Reference Palette or among the Trace Reference commands) to rebuild the Reference to ...

Compare Reference with Active

ARCHICAD provides several functions to help you identify and understand differences between the Reference and the Active content, especially when ...

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