Plan/Section Views in Layouts

Recently I’ve learned ArchiCAD, too, and one of the (different, but nice) concepts I had to learn the fact that ‘Views’ and the ‘Project’ are basically separate things.

With VA, you have to put a View (plan, section) somewhere into the project (= 3d-scene). However, the VA views become part of the scene in doing so, and can interfere with other views, or simply slow down editing.
(What I do is move the plan views somewhere to the side, or put it on layers and use layerstates, or both.)

So, I just tested if it is possible to invoke a vaPlanView command, and place the view directly into a layout - nope, not possible, the command gets cancelled.

However, wouldn’t this make sense?
It’s possible to draw normally in 2D in Rhino layouts anyway - why not be able to put a VA view into the layout 2D-context, too, so it does not get in the way in the 3D scene?

No idea if this would be technically feasible. I reckon not without ‘deeper’ changes, but for the sake of discussion…

Thanks for reading!
Best regards


You are wrong :wink: you don’t have to put a view into your model space. Just add a detail to a layout and set a plan or section, set desired scale and that’s all. VA remembers the state of details. Then you can add anything, just in the layout: dimensions, notes, additional lines etc. See my layout, all geometry is generated, and put directly in a layout as plans and sections. Additionally, you can set various layer states to show an element you need.
Regards, Jaro

By the way, would it be possible if details remember layer states? Thus we could add several different details in one single layout…
Regards, Jaro

Hi Jerry, thanks for the interesting answer!
What I don’t get: isn’t a Detail always some sort of window into the 3D-scene?
So, the moment I create a detail and place a vaPlanView inside it, it also sits somewhere in the 3D-scene, no?

Best regards

Hi @Eugen,

What @jerry.bakowski is suggesting is to set the detail to a real-time section or plan view using the Level Manager or the Section Manager.

Plan and Section View, as objects inserted into the model, are a old implementation coming from VisualARQ 1 that uses Make2D as the method to hide lines. This objects are deprecated, as we don’t plan to add new features, we’ll just fix serious bugs. They are slow, and there are some features that don’t work and won’t work never, like support for solid hatches or texts: try to update a plan view with some solid hatches or texts in the model occluded by other objects, only the boundary of the hatches or texts will be shown. There is no easy way to support them. Real-time sections and plans do support texts, hatches, and any other kind of object. They use OpenGL as a hide method, which is real-time. This is the same method that ArchiCAD, Revit, or any other modern architectural application use to display plan or sections.

The only reason plan and section view haven’t been removed yet is because there are users that want real curve objects from the geometry (as in Make2D), so my plan is to convert them to new commands called Make2DPlan, or Make2DSection, which will work just like Make2D, generating the geometry into the model as non-updatable curve objects.


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Ok, sounds cool!
How would I do that? What button to push? The missing puzzle piece…

Edit: never mind, I figured!
These “Toggle Cut Plane” and “Toggle Section” buttons in the Plan or Section Manager are per-viewport (or detail) settings…
Makes sense now, and is a solution to the initial question! Thanks!!
Best regards

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I second that!
Layer States seem to be a general setting, not per-detail. Not good.

Btw., ArchiCAD remembers many things per View, Layer States, Graphical Overrides, …

@Eugen, remember that in order to print the 3D model (in plan view, section view, etc…) to vector output you need to use the “Hidden” display mode from the model or Detail views.

Understood, thanks for the tip!

Hello again!
Trying out this new workflow. It has it’s quirks, however:

  • When dimensioning objects a layout, sometimes the scale of the Detail view, on top of which I draw the Dimension, is correctly taken, sometimes not. See screenshot.

This is crucial, of course. Must be a bug.

  • Is there a way to ‘explode’ a Detail, meaning a quick way to copy the contents of a Detail into the Layout view containing it?
    Because the automatic Section or Plan Views rarely deliver a ‘clean’ graphic representation of the building. Mostly, there are things to correct, add or simplify.

  • Keeping the viewport pan/zoom of the Detail view, on top of which is drawn, unchanged is important!
    If the pan/zoom in the Detail is changed (accidentially maybe), it can be hard to set it back to what is was before, so that the drawing on top remains aligned. If ‘UndoView’ does not work (which can happen), there’s no other way that move the 2D-drawing to the new position of the objects in the Detail view instead the other way around.

In case you are not familiar with it - ArchiCAD avoids the above problems because it has the concept of “Worksheets” (and the similar “Detail Views”), which is an intermediate 2-dimensional step between the scene an the print layout, so to speak.
After creating a new Worksheet, it’s simple to place views in it and edit them. The drawing scale remains the same as in the scene, so dimensions are always correct. These worksheets are then placed in a layout, where their scale, style, and even an irregular border (for composing multiple Worksheets together) can be set.

Best regards

The trick here seems to be to create a 1:1 Layout/Detail, and only set the plan/paper scale in the print dialog > ‘View and Output Scale’.
Dimensions, Length and Distance commands work correctly then.
However, this somewhat contradicts the idea of a Layout - being a ‘paper space’, and prevents having Details with multiple scales on one page.


Are you looking for something different from the layer settings on the far right column of the Layers tab? Those settings apply only to the active detail.

Thanks, that’s news…! Until now I never really understood those Layer panel columns…
When in a Layout, extra columns appear with ‘Layout On’, ‘Layout Color’, …
When in a Detail, there’s ‘Detail On’, ‘Detail Color’, …
These can be saved in Layer States, and the checkboxes at the bottom in the Layer States panel now make sense.

However, this concept brings with it the need to create extra Layer States for Details/Layouts, instead of being able to just use the ‘scene’ Layer States, which would be a little more intuitive - that’s why it’s an easy thing to miss.
In ArchiCAD, it works like this, btw - it simply remembers a Layer State per plan view (and restores it when the view is activated).

But anyway… thanks again!

Still investigating Dimensions in Layout views…

Basically, Dimensions become associated to the objects they are picked from, and show their correct size when drawn on top of a Detail. This works for VA objects, too.

Nice: when Dimensions are associated with regular Rhino objects, they update themselves when the object is changed, and also after the Detail view is panned/zoomed!

Unfortunately, this is not working with blocks, and thus not with VA objects (which are blocks).
The warning “History failed to update 1 object.” is shown then.

-> one has to be careful not to pan/zoom the Detail view with Dimensions on top if it contains VA objects.

Just to sum this up:
Working in Layouts with a 1:1 scale just rises too many problems getting the actual PDFs. The layout would have to be done somewhere else (InDesign or whatever), but it’s a hassle.

That’s why an intermediate drawing ‘stage’ exists in ArchiCAD - the Worksheets. So, getting a plan on paper is (or can be) a 3-step process there. 3D View > Worksheet (convert 3D to 2D, like ‘Make2D’ in Rhino, draw additional 2D in the correct scale) > Layout.

For now, as Jerry recommends, I use multiple Detail views on a Layout, with different scales, and draw on top of them in 2D if needed. To make Dimensions display the right size, the parameter ‘Length factor’ (Dimension properties > Lenth units >) can be used. However, if the Dimensions are picked from an existing object in the Detail, this isn’t necessary. Bit confusing…
Lenth and Distance commands won’t display the correct sizes. That’s a disadvantage.

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