The Return of Work Environments: The Basics of setting Work Environments plus importing and exporting them

It’s been way too long since I talked about Work Environments in ArchiCAD. We had a good run last spring and summer with close to 10 posts on this subject. Read them all here. I still have a bunch more to say and share. If I haven’t written about a Work Environment you sent me yet, I’m sorry. I do intend to continue this series. There’s just been a LOT that has been happening since the last post  (July 2012). But if you’re a regular on the blog, you know that already.

To the Point!

Recently a friend/former colleague/student of mine asked me about importing work environments into ArchiCAD. He’s doing a stellar job learning ArchiCAD, but doesn’t feel as comfortable with those aspects of the program that are less often updated in an office or tangential to the main work. So I told him I’d record a video for him. Well here it is! As a bonus there’s a little bit of self-deprecation at the end. Enjoy.

Oh and a few things I forgot to mention in the video. I always forget to mention something, don’t I? Work Environments are installation specific, not project specific. So your Work Environment sticks with your version of ArchiCAD on an individual computer, not the files you open within it. Which means if you want the same Work Environment on multiple machines you need to follow the export/import process. Or another way to say it, if you open File A on Machine A and then Machine B, the file will be the same (assuming the correct libraries), but the Work Environment will be whatever is set up on Machine A or Machine B. This also means that every file you open on a particular machine will open with the same default Work Environment (which is good).

ALSO, for a future post: when migrating your old WE into a new version of ArchiCAD (say from ArchiCAD 16 to 17), be careful. I find it’s worth rebuilding much of it from scratch. If you get very customized you can control what menu items exist, what keyboard shortcuts you have, what the toolbars look like, etc. If you just import the old into the new, new defaults (say how often ArchiCAD does a backup) might be turned off instead of on.  Or you might be missing easy access to new features. For instance if you import your ArchiCAD 15 toolbox into ArchiCAD 16, the Morph tool won’t automatically be shown. You have to manually add it. As such, it’s wiser to rebuild from the new rather than build up from the old. The one exception being keyboard shortcuts. We all develop so many that those are worth migrating forward and tweaking. Anyways, that’s just a hint of things to come. I’ll try to do a post/video focused on that later this summer. We can say June now, can’t we?


Want a Work Environment to practice importing? Perhaps one designed for your boss? Here you go, courtesy of Graphisoft North America. Need more about Work Environments in ArchiCAD? Here’s a good place to start. And here’s a good place to continue.


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