New ArchiCAD Video Tutorial: Tracker Tricks

ArchiCAD’s Tracker facilitates on-screen, on the fly entry of coordinates and dimensions. This 24 minute ArchiCAD tutorial video starts with the basics then demonstrates and explains cool time-saving tricks and methods used by ArchiCAD experts.

TIPS: If the video appears fuzzy, click the gear icon and choose HD; you can also switch to full-screen. NEW: Try adjusting the speed control to go through the video faster – I use this all the time.


In the default Work Environment settings, the Tracker automatically appears after you make the first click in a multi-click process. It displays your current cursor position relative to the Edit Origin, which is usually the previous click-point. In some cases this can be relative to the other end (or an adjacent node point) of an element you are editing.

When you draw a single wall or line (or a series of walls or lines), the Tracker will show the length and orientation of the element. When you draw a rectangle (of walls, lines, slab, roof, etc.) the Tracker will show two linear dimensions.

When you move an element or a set of elements, the Tracker shows the offset from the original point (i.e. how far you are moving it).

Except for preliminary sketch design, it is not advisable to rely on Tracker values when drawing with the mouse. The displayed accuracy is based on a combination of your current zoom factor and Working Units (which can be set in the Options menu > Project Preferences). For example, if your working units are set for 1/4”, then the Tracker will round dimensions to the nearest 1/4” and your potential error can be as much as 1/8”; this can cause issues in dimension strings later on.

To hide or show the Tracker click the Tracker button in the Toolbar. Hiding the Tracker may be helpful during annotation when precise distances or sizes are unnecessary.

To show the Tracker ALL the time, use the Options menu > Work Environment > Tracker and Coordinate Input > Show Tracker > Always. You can change this back to the default at any time.


Any time you can click the mouse to indicate a position or dimension, you can hit the Enter key instead of clicking the mouse. This allows you to carefully position the mouse, then use the keyboard to confirm the location. This may be helpful if your hand isn’t totally steady, and you find that sometimes the mouse position jumps as you click.

Alternatively, you can enter information into the Tracker to specify a precise dimension, then click Enter to confirm and essentially “click” at the computed location.

The Tracker always has a highlighted input field displayed in bold text. Simply type in a numeric value, and it will be entered into that field. Hit the Enter key on the keyboard to complete the operation.

For rectangular dimensions, one field will be highlighted. Type in…

NOTE: I’ve written up a 5 page PDF as a quick reference guide to the ArchiCAD Tracker, which I’d love to send you. Simply click the button below and tell me where to send it, and you’ll have it in your inbox within a few minutes.

ArchiCAD 20 News and Training

Empowering and Educating Users Via
Professional Courses and Free Tutorials

Eric in Bali - profile pictureAs you probably know, ArchiCAD 20 was released last week here in the U.S. and in several other countries.

It brings a sparkling new interface with a raft of new features and optimization of existing functionality.


To celebrate ArchiCAD 20, I’ll be running a special MASTER ARCHICAD promotion through August 20, with deep discounts on all of my training products as well as pre-release pricing on MasterTemplate 20 upgrades and new licenses.

As the first step, I launched an online ArchiCAD 20 Upgrade Training on Thursday July 7.

It’s designed to help you hit the ground running and take advantage of the enhanced workflow for new projects as well as the most seamless methods for migrating projects forward.

This is the first of 4 Masters of ArchiCAD Training Courses for 2016.

At the end of this post, I’ll also share with you some goodies, including a FREE Guest Pass for two of the most interesting presentations from the recent Masters of ArchiCAD Summit 2016.


Recently I conducted a survey of about 600 ArchiCAD users to help me understand the most important challenges facing each of you. From that study, I have come up with a plan for tutorials and training for the second half of 2016 to help you Master ArchiCAD and get the most out of this powerful software.

Here is an interesting graphic that illustrates the answers to the survey question “What is your biggest challenge when using ArchiCAD?” The size of each word is based on the number of times it was referenced.

ArchiCAD word cloud


I taught a 4 week online ArchiCAD 20 Upgrade Training course in July; this will be followed by a 4 week course on ArchiCAD Office Standards and Templates. The courses are made up of a 60 – 90 minute session each week, delivered live through GoToWebinar and recorded for convenient reference in the member website.

From September through November, we’ll have two 6 week courses (schedules to be announced), one on Quantity Calcs and Cost Estimation, the other on Advanced 3D Modeling. These courses will be taught by experts who presented at the recent Masters of ArchiCAD Summit.

For more info and to sign up for any or all of the Masters of ArchiCAD 2016 series of training courses at special discounted pricing through August 20, please visit the MASTER ARCHICAD sales page.

Earlier courses from the Masters of ArchiCAD 2015 series as well as the Summit 2015 and Summit 2016 conferences are also on sale.


MasterTemplate, the Office Standard for ArchiCAD, embeds best practices principles into the structure of the project file to speed your work and improve the quality and consistency of your projects. With each new version of ArchiCAD, MasterTemplate is upgraded to provide full compatibility as well as additional features and functionality.

MasterTemplate 20 will be released in the second half of July. Pre-release pricing is available through August 20 for both upgrades and new licenses of MasterTemplate.


My QuickStart Course is one of the best ways to get up to speed quickly with ArchiCAD. Originally created for ArchiCAD 15, I will be producing a brand new version this year, highlighting the new ArchiCAD 20 interface and working tools.

The Best Practices Course is one of the most comprehensive training resources for ArchiCAD available anywhere, with well over 100 hours of carefully organized curriculum. I plan to review the training videos and create new ones for ArchiCAD 20 wherever it will be helpful. In addition, I’ll be adding both of my new courses: ArchiCAD 20 Upgrade and ArchiCAD Office Standards and Templates, to the Best Practices Course.

Anyone who purchases QuickStart or Best Practices in 2016 will get free access to the AC20 lessons; upgrade pricing will be available for people who signed up earlier.

In addition, during the MASTER ARCHICAD sale, both QuickStart and Best Practices will be offered for a substantial discount.


I plan to create a new series of short videos that I’ll share on my ArchiCAD Tutorials YouTube channel, which recently achieved a couple of milestones: 15,000+ subscribers and 2.4 Million Views. I’ll announce these new tutorials as they become available over the next few months.

MofA-Guest-Pass-2016-3-mastersAs a final treat, I’m making available for a limited time a Masters of ArchiCAD 2016 Guest Pass, allowing you to catch three cool presentations from the 2015 and 2016 Summit conferences with my compliments.

One is a talk by veteran designer Chris Ellis, a graduate of my Best Practices Course. Chris shares how he works “live” inside ArchiCAD in design charrettes with clients and pre-sales meetings with prospective clients. His refined methodology wins him more business and saves a huge amount of time during the design process. His hour-long presentation is accompanied by a 30 page PDF guide with practical notes and checklists that he produced especially for the Summit.

You’ll also get to watch an impressive case study by New Jersey architect Andrew Passacantando from the 2015 Summit. He does amazing work with ArchiCAD on very complex and beautifully designed residential projects with intricate details including ornate mouldings, staircases, turrets and roof planes (see screenshot of his ArchiCAD model).

With the Guest Pass, you’ll also get my ArchiCAD Speed Tricks and Shortcuts mini-class, which may just help you push your working speed up an extra notch.

Click here to grab your free Masters of ArchiCAD Guest Pass. You’ll get an automatic email giving you access to the three Masters presentations, and you can watch them at your convenience.

I’ll be back with more news soon!


P.S. Have any comments? Constructive feedback? Ideas?
Drop me a line – I’m all ears!
Or post a comment on the Master ArchiCAD sales page.


The “One Thing” I’m Doing That Will Make A Big Difference

Eric in Bali - profile pictureI’ve started a process that’s changing my entire attitude about life and work. Day by day, this powerful catalyst will allow me to transform myself and the way I approach everything I do.

10 days ago I consciously started two new daily habits. I’ve been consistent and motivated, and taken care of these two things every day, even when I didn’t feel like it.

I’ve committed myself to 30 days, then if things have gone well, another 30, so that they truly become habits. Once I’ve instilled them as habits, I know it will get MUCH easier.

What are these two magic things? These are two little hinges that will swing the door of my life and work. I’ll tell you about them in a little while, but first, it’s important to know the back story.


The-One-Thing-bookAs an independent entrepreneur, I continually struggle with focus and always have more tasks on my To Do list than I can possibly accomplish. On my plate are things I know I should do, or want to do, or have promised to do.

Day by day, I chip away at whatever is in front of me, but all too often, I find that at 5 pm, I still haven’t done “the thing” that I told myself was important to do that day. I had answered everyone’s emails, taken care of lots of little things, but not focused or prioritized well.

I realized that I needed help with this core issue, and discovered two very inspiring and practical books that I highly recommend:

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months – by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington

The-12-Week-Year-bookThey both deal with focus and prioritizing what’s important by setting specific goals in line with your long-term vision and mission.

I created a 12 Week Plan that lays out what I’m setting out to accomplish in that time frame, broken up into weekly task lists and targets. To have success with this system, it’s important to start each day by reviewing the planning document, seeing where things stand, and deciding what to focus on and when.

I’ve never been very good at planning my days or my long term goals. When I have a specific project, such as launching the Masters of ArchiCAD Summit, there is urgency and I make sure the most important things get done. However when it’s more long term, my efforts are sporadic and vulnerable to getting sidetracked with the many small but seemingly urgent tasks that each day brings up. And I’m often jumping from task to task, or multi-tasking, rather than focusing on one thing and getting it done.

My usual solution when I realize that I haven’t taken care of things that need to get done that day is to go back to my desk in the evening and work until midnight or 2 am, whatever it takes. Of course, this is not healthy, and impacts my family and my enjoyment of life, as well as my health.

And since I am always a bit tired from the long day before, with a never-ending task list, my only exercise has been my 15 minute walk to Peet’s Coffee each morning (where I work for an hour or two on my laptop) and walking the dog with my wife a few times a week.


  1. When I get to Peet’s Coffee and settle down with my Latté and my laptop, instead of starting by going through my email, I’m reviewing my Weekly Plan and setting out my priorities for the day. Even though I may not get everything done, I’m making sure that first thing in the day I’m getting in touch with my “most important” goals and tasks, so I can make effective choices.
  2. After going through emails and doing some writing or other creative work at the café, I go home and do a workout (for the first time in years). I’m using the Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout app on my iPhone, which guides me through a series of exercises. They’re scientifically designed to alternate muscle groups with 30 second intervals of vigorous or isometric exercises, getting the maximum out of a short workout (you can do longer sessions, up to 20 minutes, with this app).

Johnson-and-Johnson-7-Minute-Workout-appThe daily planning process will lead me to making more effective choices of how to focus my time throughout the day, and ultimately, getting traction on the most important things in my work and life.

The daily workout sessions will give me more strength and fitness, as well as more energy to enjoy life and work even more effectively. This is an investment in my body and my life that will pay many types of dividends.

In the book The One Thing, the authors point out that trying to be extremely disciplined with everything in life is awfully hard, and that “will power” to follow through usually falters and gets used up while pushing through challenging tasks. They recommend choosing and developing productive habits, instilling each one by doing it consistently over a period of two months. Once it becomes a habit, it takes virtually no will power to do it, so you reap the rewards without expending as much effort.

I feel really excited as I create these two specific habits, since they will definitely help make everything else in my life flow more easily. I’ll share my progress with you from time to time, and look forward to sharing the journey with you if you choose to try something like this yourself.

I’d love to read your thoughts. Can you relate to my feeling of having too many tasks on an endless To Do list? Have you ever tried anything like this? Please click here to post a comment…