by GRAPHISOFT and Greg Kmethy · updated: 01.17.2013


ARCHICAD 15 was released on June 15, 2011.

The main theme for ARCHICAD 15 is “Broaden your design horizons” and new features include design tools for modeling complex 3D forms; support for renovation projects; improved IFC collaboration and productivity improvements.
ARCHICAD 15 supports 64-bit and multithreading on both Mac and Windows operating systems.

See the product page on the GRAPHISOFT site

Architectural Classics Modeled in ARCHICAD 15

See ARCHICAD 15 in action. In the following videos of the playlist you can see Architectural Classics modeled in ARCHICAD 15:


ARCHICAD 15 supports the following operating systems:

* ARCHICAD 15 has 32-bit Windows, 64-bit Windows and 64-bit Mac versions

ARCHICAD 15 can open or import the following file formats:

  • ARCHICAD projects (.pln, .pla, .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 2×3, IFC 2×3 compressed, IFC 2×3 XML, IFC 2×3 XML compressed – 2D and 3D content
  • DWF – 2D content
  • DWG (2000 to 2011) – 2D and 3D content
  • DGN (Microstation Design file) v7 – 2D content
  • 3DStudio (through the “3D Studio In” goodie tool) – 3D content
  • SKP and KMZ (Sketchup files through the Google earth Connection add-on) – 3D content
  • C4D (Cinema4D v 11/11.5 files through the Cinema 4D add-On) – 2D and 3D content
  • PDF
  • PICT vector images
  • various raster image file formats (SGI*, PSD*, BMP, JPG, JP2*, PNG, PCT*, TIF, GIF, TGA*, QTIF*)*these image formats will not be supported in future ARCHICAD versions

ARCHICAD 15 can save or export the following file formats:

  • ARCHICAD 15 Solo Project file (.PLN), Project archive (.PLA), and template (.TPL)
  • ARCHICAD 14 Project (.PLN) file
  • ARCHICAD object (.gsm) (ARCHICAD 15-equivalent)
  • ARCHICAD object (.gsm) version 27 (ARCHICAD 14-equivalent), through saving a PLN with embedded library to ARCHICAD 13 format
  • ARCHICAD object script (.GDL)
  • ARCHICAD drawing file (.PMK) through the publisher when publishing Views
  • PDF
  • DXF
  • DWG (2000-2011 format, 2D and 3D)
  • DWF
  • IFC 2×3, IFC 2×3 compressed, IFC 2×3 XML, IFC 2×3 XML compressed
  • IFC 2×2 through Goodie tool
  • 3DStudio 3D studio file
  • SKP and KMZ (through the Google earth Connection add-on, on 32-bit Windows OS only)
  • C4D (Cinema4D v 11/11.5 files through the Cinema 4D add-On) – 2D and 3D content
  • OBJ Wavefront file (3D)
  • EPX Piranesi File (3D)
  • FACT ElectricImage file (3D)
  • WRL VRML file (3D)
  • ATL ArtLantis Render Studion file 2.0 and 3.0 (3D)
  • U3D file (3D)
  • various image formats (BMP, JPG, PNG, GIf, TIF)

License Types

ARCHICAD 15 comes with several license types:

  • Commercial license requires a WibuKey or CodeMeter hardware protection key
  • Trial is a fully functional 30-day license that can be downloaded from and comes with a license number
  • Demo license does not require neither a hardware key nor a license number. All save/export options are disabled, but printing is possible.
  • Educational 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
  • Rental license requires a hardware protection key. A Rental license lets you run ARCHICAD for 1,3, or 12 calendar months.
  • License Borrowing – ARCHICAD 14 supports License Borrowing – when a temporary ARCHICAD Commercial license is borrowed from a multi-license CodeMeter protection key.

New Features

Design Freedom


  • Multi-Plane Roof: a Single Element with Maximum Flexibility
    • Easily create a complex roof that includes multiple planes and several roof levels.
    • Complex roof element remains an integrated whole and never falls apart.
  • Integrated Editing of Roof Geometry
    • Edit the roof geometry as a whole: all parts of the roof change in concert.
    • Edit any plane of the roof separately, or move any roof ridge: all connected roof planes will adjust accordingly.
    • Edit roof contour uniformly for entire roof, or separately for any part of it.
    • Use familiar pet palette commands for easy polygon editing.
  • Custom Modeling of Individual Roof Planes
    • Individualize any Roof plane to model specialized details: change the pitch or make it a gable; change its material, fill or eaves overhang. The whole Roof remains a single, coherent element.
  • Add Special Roof Features Easily
    • Create an Atrium with a pet palette command.
    • Create a Gable out of any roof plane with a single click.
    • Create a tower from a curved roof plane.


  • This versatile new tool lets you create a wide variety of shapes. Use the Shell to model elements, ranging from a building’s entire exterior, to a single custom object.
  • Easy Creation of Shell Geometries
    • Extruded: Extrude a Shell between any two points in space
    • Revolved: Create a Revolved Shell
    • Ruled: Make a Ruled Shell between hand-drawn profiles on any two planes in space
  • Graphical Editing for Full Design Freedom
    • Edit Shell profile graphically in any window: extrude, distort, tilt, rotate or revolve the Shell to fit your needs.
    • Freely define the Shell outline by drawing its contour by hand. Add skylights, fitting them smoothly to a flat or curved surface.
    • Create holes of any shape in any part of the Shell.
    • Customize any edge of the Shell.
  • Accurate Geometric Display on the Floor Plan
    • Shell display on the Floor Plan reflects its real geometry in 3D.
  • Flexible Classification
    • Classify Shell as e.g. Roof or Slab for listing purposes or for export to structural programs.

Enhanced Model Element Connections

  • Associative Connections for Integrated Model Editing
    • If you modify any element, all connected elements will be modified too. For example, if you change the pitch of a Roof, any connected Walls will be trimmed automatically.
  • Precise Element Trimming with Shell/Roof
    • Trim model elements to Roofs and/or Shells, regardless of their complexity, so even many complex shapes fit together the way you need them. The graphical interface gives you full control over the trimming process.
  • In-Place Feedback and Management for All Connections
    • No more “hidden” connections: for any element, see and manage a list of which elements it’s connected to via Roof/Shell Trims; Solid Element Operations or Wall/Curtain Wall Connections


Watch the whole ARCHICAD 15 New Features – Skylights playlist on YouTube:

  • Easier to place: ARCHICAD automatically places them smoothly into curved or flat Roof plane or Shell.
  • Associative: They adjust automatically when Roof or Shell geometry changes.
  • New interface: Skylight interface similar to that of Doors and Windows; Model View Options apply to Skylights, which also have a dedicated Marker object.
  • Skylight display on Floor Plan based on 3D projection.


3D Editing Plane for Accurate Element Placement

  • In the 3D window, the new editing plane gives you a sense of where you are in the model. The result: you can place or modify elements in the 3D model more accurately and easily.
  • Place new elements onto a visible plane, instead of into “mid-air.”
  • Use Guide Lines in 3D for precise placement.
  • Grid lines, Snap grid and Rotated grid available in 3D window.
  • Move the editing plane to a more logical position, or change its orientation, and use it to help define element position through precise numeric input in the plane’s coordinate system.
  • Project the points of elements outside of the editing plane onto the editing plane – horizontally, vertically or perpendicularly, as needed.

More Sophisticated 3D Feedback

  • Get a feel for position of selected items in space
    • Selected items in the background are dimmed indicating spatial position.
  • Find reference lines easily for graphical editing
    • In 3D views, special editing lines (e.g. Wall reference line, Roof pivot polygon) are now shown in their own specific colors, so you can pick them out right away.
  • Coordinate axis feedback
    • Coordinate axes display main (X, Y, Z) directions.

Guide Line Improvements

  • Easier Guide Line definition
    • Guide Lines appear automatically during input, so you can choose one on the fly and keep working.
  • Drag or Delete Guide Lines
    • Click and drag to move a Guide Line to a more useful location. (Or use the Tracker to define its new location numerically.)
  • Better Guide Line Feedback
    • Automatic yellow highlights alert you to main directions (e.g. input parallel or perpendicular to a Guide Line)
    • Automatic feedback on X and Y axes help you stay on track – especially useful in 3D perspective views.
  • Guide Lines in the 3D Window
    • Guide Lines appear on the new 3D editing plane.
    • 3D Guide Line remains visible and its status points available even as you navigate around, and even if it ends up in a “hidden” location.
    • To suggest perspective, the line type of a Guide Line will vary as it recedes into the distance.
  • Simpler Guide Lines Settings
    • Fewer Guide Line settings in Work Environment


Watch the whole “ARCHICAD 15 New Features – Renovation” playlist on YouTube:

  • Element-level Definition of Renovation Status
    • No need to create extra layers: just set a default Renovation Status (Existing, New, To Be Demolished) for all element types.
    • Switch Renovation Status of any/all selected elements with a single click.
  • Renovation Related Plan Types Out of the Box
    • Renovation Filters available out of the box (e.g. Existing Plan, Demolition Plan, New Construction).
    • Renovation Filters show, hide, or override elements depending on their status.
    • Switch among Renovation Filters to display the project at various renovation stages.
    • Redefine or create new Renovation Filters to fit your office standard.
    • Views and drawings graphically communicate the Renovation process.
  • Graphical Highlighting of Elements by Renovation Status
    • Assign an override style (color, fill, line type) to highlight elements by status (e.g. demolished or new).
    • Overrides automatically appear as defined by the current Renovation Filter.
    • Customize override styles to match your office standards.
  • Simple Export of Different Plan Types
    • Saving in DWG: Elements can be automatically sorted onto different layers depending on their renovation status.
    • Saving in IFC: WYSIWYG logic prevails: if the element is shown in the current Renovation filter, then it is exported to IFC. If it is hidden, then it is not exported.

Open Collaboration

Watch the whole “ARCHICAD 15 New Features – Open Collaboration” playlist on YouTube:

Easier IFC Property Management

  • IFC Properties as Native ARCHICAD Parameters
    • Better performance: Since IFC data no longer needs to be synchronized with ARCHICAD data, the Settings dialogs open faster.
    • Access and edit IFC parameters directly from Element Settings (not just from IFC Manager).
    • Show only the parameters you need: display just the core properties, or display all the derived and standard properties too.
    • Build the IFC database easily as you work with model elements in ARCHICAD, since IFC properties are included in: the Project template file; Favorite element settings; Parameter transfer (Pick Up/Inject Parameters); Copy/Paste operations
    • Better support for the “reference model” workflow: when you open an IFC project and hotlink its elements to another ARCHICAD project, all IFC parameters are retained.
    • More properties available to ARCHICAD elements, even independently of model exchange. For example, use the standard IFC Fire Rating property for an ARCHICAD wall.
    • Use Undo to reverse an incorrect IFC property assignment.
  • More Accurate Assignment of IFC Parameters for Library Parts
    • Convert ARCHICAD library parts parameters to IFC properties based on conversion rules. This way you can ensure that, for example, a door’s fire rating parameter will automatically be converted to the right IFC property.
    • Edit these custom properties by object.
    • Conversion rules can be saved and re-used for subsequent export and import processes.
    • Export all used library part parameters as part of the IFC model with a single click.
  • More Powerful IFC Manager
    • Displays IFC elements by type as well as by containment structure.
    • Displays the (custom) converted library part parameters as well as standard IFC properties.
    • Displays sub-element relationships in logical groups: for example, all constituent parts of a Stair are grouped together in the ARCHICAD model and in the IFC Manager.
    • Select any listed element in 3D as well as 2D.
  • Effective IFC Data Handling in Teamwork
    • If you reserve an element in Teamwork, you can now modify its IFC parameters without having to reserve IFC data, and without requiring any special access rights.
  • Improved Localized Text Handling
    • Localized texts in IFC files are transferred correctly to different platforms (Windows/ Macintosh) or machines with different localized versions of ARCHICADs.
    • Export to IFC supports Unicode characters, for smoother interchange of data that includes special characters.

New Features of IFC Import/Export

  • Story-Mapping
    • When merging an IFC project, you can define the ARCHICAD story to which the imported IFC model data should be mapped – just like in ARCHICAD’s PLN Merge.
  • Simplified Model Export
    • If your purpose in model exchange is to display model geometry – such as in a viewer or in an MEP program – now you can use the simplified BREP (boundary representation) geometry export option. The result: perfect geometric display of element intersections and Solid Operations, without including all element properties and data.
  • Improvements in Detect IFC Model Changes
    • The Detect IFC Model Exchange workflow now allows you to choose and edit the preferred translator as you go.
    • Better management of Model Changes entries in the Mark-Up palette: multiselect entries for deleting and zooming.
    • Distinguish the modified elements coming from the newer- and older file versions: the older- version’s modified elements are shown with the “Corrected” style, while the newer-version’s modified elements are shown as “Highlighted”.
  • Improved Merge to IFC Function
    • The entire architectural model or a part of it can be added to an existing IFC file while keeping its original content; existing model elements will not be overwritten. This way you can insert your architectural model into a consultant’s IFC file (e.g. MEP or structural model) and see them side by side.
  • Renovation
    • Elements’ renovation status are saved as part of IFC data, in a custom property set. Renovation status is also taken into account after merging the IFC data back to ARCHICAD.


Easier Library Migration

  • Automatically use latest library part versions
    • If you consolidate your older ARCHICAD libraries (13 or 14) with the ARCHICAD 15 library, placed objects from the older libraries will automatically be replaced with their latest compatible version in the ARCHICAD 15 library.
  • Backward compatibility supported for library parts
    • When back-saving your ARCHICAD 15 project to version 14, any library parts that were revised for 15 will be automatically replaced by their original counterparts in version 14.
  • Avoid duplicates when embedding objects
    • You may wish to embed a particular library’s placed objects into your project. Now you can ensure that you won’t embed objects that already exist in other, linked libraries, by using this new Library Manager feature.

New and Enhanced Objects

  • Note: new library content is language-version specific. The list below refers to the International English version
  • New Objects Supporting Sustainable Design
    • Rain Water Tank
    • Solar Collector Evacuated Tube
    • Solar Photo voltaic Panel
    • Wind Turbine Household
    • Wind Turbine Industrial
  • New Objects Supporting Hospital and Health care Design
    • Bedside Cabinet
    • Dental Chair
    • Examination Bed
    • Hospital Bed
    • Infusion Stand
    • Medical Cart
  • New Furnishing Objects
    • Modular Wardrobe
    • Office Partition Panel
    • Built-In Fireplace
    • New Fireplace Freestanding types
  • New Sanitary Objects
    • Shower Cabin
    • New Urinal and Urinal with partitions object
    • Multi-Basin Counter
    • New Tap and Wall Mounted Tap objects
    • More sink types
  • Boats
    • Three sailing boats and a motorboat

Door/Window Enhancements

  • Note: new library content is language-version specific. The list below refers to the International English version
  • Door Enhancements
    • New doors with sidelights
    • New industrial garage doors
    • Frame for pocket doors
  • Window Enhancements
    • Restructured Basic Window folder
    • New parametrization logic for shape definition, sash type selection and opening options.
    • New W1, W2, W3 (single/double/triple sash) windows
    • New W4 4-sash sliding window
    • Six new historical windows


Watch the Whole “ARCHICAD 15 New Features – Performance” playlist on YouTube:

  • 64-bit ARCHICAD on MacOS
    • ARCHICAD for MacOS is now a 64-bit program. Starting with ARCHICAD 15, only the 64-bit version is available for MacOS.
  • New Autosave mechanism
    • Unlike the earlier Autosave function, all data modifications are now instantly saved into a background project. Thus, in case of a blackout, system error or other crash, ARCHICAD can retrieve the very latest state of your project. Autosave works on the same “delta logic” principle used by the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server, making it so speedy as to be unnoticeable, even with large-scale projects.
  • Accelerated IFC Usage
    • modifying IFC data in the Element Settings as well as data import and export works faster
  • Optimized BIM Server
    • A single BIM Server will manage multiple projects more efficiently, because running the Server takes up less memory than before
    • Send and Receive response time is slightly faster, because the BIM Server’s internal processes have been speeded up

Customer Experience Improvement Program

  • The Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) allows every user to contribute to improving ARCHICAD. While ARCHICAD is running, the CEIP works in the background to gather information on how users interact with the program, without affecting ARCHICAD’s performance. GRAPHISOFT will use the resulting statistics as part of its product design process, with the aim of improving the user experience. Participation in this program is voluntary and anonymous.
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