New ArchiCAD video tutorial: Specifications Tips & Tricks with IFC Fields (Part 3 of 4)

eric-bobrow-headshot-circle-revisedI have just posted another in my continuing series of free ArchiCAD tutorials on my YouTube channel.

ArchiCAD Tutorial | Specifications Tips & Tricks with IFC Fields | Part 3 of 4

Perhaps you’ll want to watch it between Thanksgiving courses?

(Then again, maybe it’s better to wait till later in the weekend.)

In this 27 minute video (part 3 of my 4 part series on the innovative use of IFC fields) I’ll show you how to:

  • Add clickable web links into your schedules and labels
  • Use a “link shortener” to provide a short version of the URL for web pages and PDF documents
  • Create a durable, reliable web link for construction document references using Dropbox
  • Add a Cost field that can be used as part of budgeting
  • Learn a few variations of IFC Mapping to pull precise, current BIM information into your associative labels and schedules


Please add your comments and questions to the YouTube page.

I’d love to know what you think, and whether you feel this will be useful in your practice.


Almost everyone here in the U.S. is getting ready to gather with family or friends tomorrow for the big Thanksgiving holiday. It’s a time to be thankful and express gratitude, and FEAST!

I am so thankful that YOU are an active member of the ArchiCAD user community, and that I can make an honest living by sharing my training materials with you and your colleagues.

As a small but earnest gesture of thanks, I’m going to give all of my email subscribers a gift on Friday. As you probably know, we have this strange “new tradition” in the U.S. of shopping for bargains on the day after Thanksgiving. Anyone know when this actually started?

Anyway, look for it in your inbox on “Black Friday”.

I’ll also be announcing my biggest sale of the year (in case you’re in the shopping mood).


My Incredibly Awesome “Garage Remodel Music Studio SALE”

Perhaps you can relate to my personal story.

It’s a tale of problems and solutions.

Each problem has a creative solution; each solution leads to the next problem (or challenge).

In the end, it has led me to this conclusion: a HUGE Garage Remodel Music Studio SALE on all my ArchiCAD Training Courses and products that runs from today through Tuesday November 3.

Read on and you’ll see how this came about, and what it all means…

(You could simply click the link to check out the sale offers, but then you’d miss all the fun.)
I invite you to take 5 minutes and enjoy the “back story.”



Ayden and his friend Cassie recording a song

Our son Ayden is 25. He graduated with a major in Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is a talented and aspiring musician, a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter who plays violin, guitar and piano.

With his university Literature degree, he went to work in a few retail stores at minimum wage. So much for the value of a college education.

He saw an opportunity to work for a fitness studio chain in their head office, creating and editing music for their fitness classes. He wrote an impassioned cover letter, got the interview, and got the position. Now he’s finally got a job in his field!

It’s only half-time, but it’s a great next step for him.

The only problem: the job is in San Francisco, 90 minutes from Santa Cruz. The good news: we live in San Rafael, half an hour from the new job.

Can you guess what happened next?
He moved back home with us.

Can you relate so far?


Le’ema and I have had an “empty nest” for 7 years now. We’ve been enjoying our beautiful home and our time together.

I took over our son’s old bedroom; we like having the extra space. Having Ayden move back into that bedroom wasn’t even something we considered.

There is a small room above my office (in a little out-building in the backyard), accessible by a wooden ladder staircase. That’s where my son landed, and he’s fine with that. It’s tiny, but cozy and quiet.

The problem: he needs a music studio for practice and working on his music editing and electronic compositions.


Ayden working in his new music studio

The opportunity / solution: Our attached garage is a perfect size.

The big problem: it was filled with boxes, the accumulation of almost 30 years of living together.

The obvious solution: clear out the junk, remodel the garage, put in some nice wall cabinets, and reduce, reorganize and redistribute our boxes.

Le’ema encouraged me. She is an expert in Feng Shui (the Chinese art and science of creating functional and graceful spatial arrangements) and she said that when we cleared out this corner of our home, it would open the way for more energy to flow.


For the past couple of months we’ve been going through all of our “stuff”, giving away and recycling quite a bit of it.

I’ve moved so many boxes so many times I’ve become quite fit. Well, more fit, anyway.

Now he’s got a great little studio for practice and creative work.
Hooray! It looks awesome. I never thought our garage would look so cool.
(Check out the picture with him working in the space.)



Framing detail above new window (showing gas line and electric conduit, now set behind the furred out wall)


New entrance door and window, furred out wall (notice the fresh wood 2×2 strips building out the original 2×4’s)

Well, the garage remodel cost some bucks.
We did it on the cheap, but still…

We needed a new garage door.
We added a new window to provide natural light.
Then there was the new side entrance door.

The wall had to be furred out to allow space for the gas line and electric conduit that ran in front of the existing studs.
Then of course there was insulation and drywall.
Additional demolition and framing.
Mud and paint.


Panorama of the garage created using Photosynth app on my iPhone

The space transformed.
Adding in wall cabinets, then a nice piece of carpet on the floor.
A fan in the rafters.

Total bill: approaching $15K.
As I said, we did it on a budget.


So now we have our son home, with a music studio.
It’s mostly wonderful.

But then the next month of bills came in.
The problem: I’ve been busy working on the remodel, and our extra funds had gone into the garage.

Which brings us to the final solution in this chain of events.
The one that directly concerns you.


Well, I’m nothing if not creative and resourceful.

As you know, I have created a business from my ArchiCAD experience, teaching ArchiCAD users like you to get up to speed and take greater advantage of the power of the software. Over 25 years, I’ve developed an entire “Best Practices” methodology that works well for lots of ArchiCAD users around the world. (About 1500 architects and designers from 70 countries at last count.)

I need to raise some cash right now.
I don’t want to have a “Fire Sale” – we’ve had some big fires in California recently and that’s not the right metaphor.

Besides, this is really just a “natural occurrence”, not a natural disaster.
People remodel their garages.
Everyone has to pay their bills.

So I’m calling it my big “Garage Remodel Music Studio Sale.”


All of my ArchiCAD training courses and products as well as MasterTemplate, my popular “office standard” in a box.

How big is the sale?
Put it this way, the discounts are HUGE – certainly large enough that you should take a look.

If you’ve found my free tutorials useful, you’ll love what’s “behind the curtain” in the member area of my websites.

If you’ve bought some of my training products, you know what I mean.

If you’ve got only SOME of my products, here’s your chance to round out the collection at a bargain price.

For all the details, please go to this page.


New ArchiCAD Tutorial Video: Specifications Report Tips & Tricks Using IFC Data Fields (part 2 of 4)

eric-bobrow-headshot-circle-revisedWant to generate a nicely formatted and organized Specifications Report on your project directly inside ArchiCAD?

My latest ArchiCAD video tutorial continues the exploration of how you can set up Specifications Reports using Interactive Schedules based on IFC field data.

In the first video of this series (released earlier this month) I demonstrated the basic concept: adding special IFC fields for automatic labeling of elements as well as inclusion in Interactive Schedule reports.

In my new 28 minute video (part 2 of 4), I show how to organize your report into trade categories (e.g. Masonry, Carpentry, Roofing, etc.) or a multi-level hierarchy such as the U.S. standard CSI Divisions and Subdivisions.

Specifications Report Tips and Tricks Using IFC Data Fields

I also share methods that help you to speed up the process, quickly adding category information based on layer or element type.


My favorite tip is to define a special schedule that gives you immediate access to the schedule fields directly in the Info Box.

Without this trick, you need about 10 clicks and go through multiple dialog boxes each time.

If you’d like to easily and quickly create a specifications report inside ArchiCAD, watch this 28 minute video.

Note: you’ll understand it better if you watch part 1 first:
Generate Specifications and Optimize Annotation using IFC Data Fields (Part 1 of 4)

Questions? Comments? Feedback?
Email me or post your comment on YouTube.

– Eric

P.S. All this Specification Reporting and IFC stuff is fully implemented in MasterTemplate 19.
“We set it up, so you don’t have to.”

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