PDF Tips & Tricks

by Dániel Alexander Kovács · updated: 05.09.2017

There are many ways to make use of vectorial PDFs in ARCHICAD. Below You can read about are the most commonly used features and tricks.

Saving PDFs from ARCHICAD

You have two options to save PDF from ARCHICAD:


You can also publish PDF documents by setting up Publisher Sets in the Navigator. With Publisher Sets you can Publish multiple Layouts/Views at once, either with the same or various PDF settings. You can find out more about the Publisher in the Reference Guide.

Save As…

You can use the ‘File > Save As…’ menu to open the save dialog, and then choose ‘PDF File’ as file format. Next to the ‘Format’ Drop-down menu You can find the ‘Document Options…’ button, which opens a dialog where you can set several attributes for the saved PDF.

This is only recommended if You want to export an unsaved Viewpoint, or if you haven’t set up your Publisher sets yet. You can also use the Marquee tool to select the area you would like to export before saving.

You can find out more about this option on in the Reference Guide. The video below presents how you can set up a PDF document during Saving as, highlighting the option to save the PDF in a PDF/A format:

Saving PDFs with 3D content

You have the option to place rotatable 3D content in PDFs. You can do that by following the steps given on this page. Here’s an example PDF that shows You how it works (You need to open it in Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0 or newer to rotate the 3D model):

Download (PDF, 146KB)

Placing PDF documents in ARCHICAD

Placing PDFs

PDFs can be placed in ARCHICAD as “Drawing” Elements. You can place them in any 2D plan View (Floor Plan, Section, Worksheet, etc.), or on Layouts – anywhere you would be able to place a drawing Element. You have several options to do it:

  • You can use the ‘File > External Content > Place External Drawing’ menu, browse for the PDF on your computer, and then after clicking OK, click where you want to place it in the current View.
  • While having the Drawing Tool active, you can click anywhere in the current View, and then in the next window browse for the pdf You want to place.
  • You can Drag-and-Drop the PDF file from the File Explorer (Finder on Mac) into the current View.

Managing placed PDFs

Here are some suggestions on how you can effectively use your PDF drawings in ARCHICAD:

  • You can manage linked PDFs (along with other External and Linked Drawings) in the Drawing Manager.
  • If you are planning to share the model with someone else (or open it on a different computer), select the drawing and open it’s Drawing Selection Settings, and then tick the ‘Store Drawing in the Project file‘ checkbox. This way it will still update the contents when the PDF is updated, but will not be missing when it is not available.
  • If your PDF had Layers in it, You can turn the visibility of it’s layers on/off in the ‘Drawing’s own Layers…’ sub-menu of the Drawing Selection Settings, under ‘Size and Appearance > Embedded Layers’.
  • You can change the color of the PDF to Grayscale or Black and White in the Drawing Selection Settings of the PDF, under Size and Appearance.
  • If You are to import a PDF drawing at Scale, set the Scale of the current window to the same Scale as the drawing before placing it. This way the drawing will be placed at the correct scale (1:1).
  • You can crop or resize PDF drawings as you would any other placed Drawing Element.

Exploding vectorial PDFs

You have the Option to Explode a Vectorial PDF into native 2D ARCHICAD Elements (Polylines, Lines, Fills, etc.), and Edit them. Just Select the PDF Drawing, and choose ‘Explode into Current View’ from the Right-click menu, and select the settings for it. Here’s a video presenting the process and explaining the options You have for the Exploded Elements:


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