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The Clean Template for ARCHICAD

It feels like Template Week for ARCHICAD 19. I’m almost ready to share mine, Nathan shared his on Monday, and Eric is about to share his as well. While composing the post about my template, there’s another template I kept thinking about. I wrote so much about this other template that it became too much of a distraction to the discussion of my own template. After all, I want people to get excited about and download my template, not also get distracted by this other template. But my template—and links to other people’s templates—are for another day. This is going to be a link free post. Well almost link free. Because I want to keep it simple and clean.

You’ve heard me talk about Jeroen de Bruin of Master Script before. Jeroen is great. He’s a GDL wizard. A few months back he e-mailed me. He had this idea to create the emptiest ARCHICAD template possible. This of course sounded like an awesome idea to me. He sent me the template, I looked at it, found one or two more things to delete, sent it back to him with questions, he deleted some more, and then sent it back to me. The end result of the exchange was the emptiest, simplest ARCHICAD template I have ever seen. It’s got as little as humanly possible in it. It’s amazing. And at 478 KB, it’s probably the smallest ARCHICAD file you can find as well. Ever wonder how little can be in an ARCHICAD file? Well this is it. Download it, explore it, and try to find stuff you can take out. If you find anything, let Jeroen and I know in the comments. One of us will then make it even emptier. Here is the link:

The Clean Template by Master Script

So why is this so great? It’s got nothing in it—which means if you bring anything into the file, it will be 100% obvious what is coming in. You can use this template as a staging area for DWGs, Objects, anything. You’ll know exactly what kind of garbage is coming with the thing you really want. It’s the perfect intermediary.

But beyond being wonderful for data transfer, it’s also a window into the soul of ARCHICAD. There is so much this empty file can teach us about ARCHICAD. We deleted everything we could. Which means what’s left is undeleteable. How many Attributes does ARCHICAD require? Fourteen. There are fourteen core, hard coded Attributes that you can’t delete. Everything else is built upon these. And only one of them can’t have it’s name changed.

The Fourteen Core AttributesWhen you open this file you can see  what has to remain and also what is unnecessary: all the accumulated legacy garbage that has accumulated in the various official ARCHICAD templates over the past three decades. Do you sometimes look at an Attribute and wonder if you really need it? I don’t mean ‘do I need to keep it because it will cause an error if I delete it’. Errors caused by missing Attributes can be fixed with Favorites. I mean does ARCHICAD require you to keep it. I’m talking about some stupid Fill or Line Type that bothers you or conflicts with your real template. Can that go? Is it unnecessary garbage? Look at this template. If it’s not there, you don’t need. Sure deleting Attributes is not for the uninitiated, but if you are building a template you shouldn’t keep something just because you think you should. You should keep something because you know you want it.

The Clean Template is a work of art and perhaps more useful than any other template you’ll see this year. In the words of Jeroen:

“Clean template is a standard ArchiCAD template, but without any attributes, libraries, views, layouts, project preferences and so on. It is perfect to start building your own template from scratch. Additionally you can also use it to open ArchiCAD fast for merging DWG or IFC.”

But could a project be done with the Clean Template? Surprisingly yes. All the Tools are there, so you can create any form. And there are still Objects. Did you know that? The most basic of ARCHICAD files has hard coded IFC doors and windows, everything you need to build a model.


  • August 27, 2015

    I’m very glad to see this!!! As an advanced-level technician who came to ArchiCAD from other programs, I’ve always been baffled as to why we couldn’t create a clean & small (kb), “empty” file….I’ll definitely be using this. Thank you all for providing it!!!!

  • August 30, 2015


    Hi Jared,

    I had a whole bunch of MEP Systems show up also – not sure if they were created by default at the launch? Anyway, I could delete all but one of them, so now I have a “Basic MEP System” as well…

  • December 21, 2017


    Is there an AC21 empty/clean template out there that you know of?

  • December 21, 2017

    If you find one, please let me know. Thanks!

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