In my Last Post I discussed my Top 5 Features in ArchiCAD 18. One of the features that need further review in detail is the Revision Tool. It has been one of the most requested features by users for a number of years and it is finally here in ArchiCAD 18. It is a tool as I have previously stated that requires time to trial to fully understand. I recommend that you take the time to investigate this feature and make sure you include it in your workflows, as you will benefit from timesaving and quality control you achieve through using it. 

I have been fortunate to talk to and meet the designer from Graphisoft HQ that managed this feature during its development and despite the debates with him about minor differences of opinion. The team at GSHQ needs to be congratulated on this feature. As we all know everyone revises Documents differently and for Graphisoft to be able to release such a flexible feature it should be commended.

When you look at a New Feature you first need to look at your deliverables and then investigate where it can at least improve one of two things in your process. The Quality of the output or the Time it takes to deliver it. The Revision Tool enables you to manage the Revision Numbering on all of your Layout Sheets in ArchiCAD. ArchiCAD maintains a database of all of the Revision Information against each Layout Sheet. This improves the Quality of your Documentation Management. The Time Saving is in the batch processing of Changes through a variety of different methods to the Layout Sheets, through to the accompanying Renaming Feature in the Publisher that includes numerous Renaming Options. This removes the need to manually undertake this process on every Drawing Issue.

With every new feature you need to start by looking at your deliverables. Currently when we issue drawings there are occasions when we need to amend the naming of PDF, DWG files to include issue dates, Revision ID etc. The addition of the Publisher naming feature automates the renaming process to include the Revision ID of the layouts in the current Issue. This small feature on its own will save hours on every project and improves your QA system and will work well with Document Management Systems.

There is almost an infinite number of ways to use the Revision Tool, and when I started writing this post I had intended to pull the whole tool apart and explain how you could use every part of it. I changed my mind to simplify the post and give you an insight into the way that I think and am currently using it. We are using it in 3 different ways, all suited to differing levels of complexity and deliverable requirements during the different phases of the project.

Before looking at the workflows it is really important to understand the 3 parts to the Revision Tool.

Change Tool

The Change Tool gives the user the ability to create a change and associate a variety of different parts too it. The beauty of this tool is that you can apply a change to an element and any view that element appears in will automatically revise the layout sheet. You can also apply a change directly to a layout. Changes can be applied with or without clouds to provide great flexibility. These clouds can be placed in views or directly on the layout sheet.


A Revision occurs to layout sheets. It can occur in 2 ways, through the application of a change (to an element in a view, or directly to a layout) or you have the ability to force a Revision, which provides a quick and easy workflow.


An Issue is what it says it is. An Issue is the layouts that you want to include in an Issue. These drawings may have a New Revision or not. The layout sheets that are included in an Issue are recorded in the Project Indexes Database for the purposes of creating Document Transmittals.

Workflow 1 – Concept Design

This is the quickest workflow that we currently use as the phase is generally fast moving and typically all Layout Sheets that are issued include changes and would require a new Revision Number. In this simple workflow we do not use the Change Tool. All we show on the Layout Sheet is the Current Revision Number without any Revision History.

The Workflow is as follows.

  • Update views on Layouts.
  • Open a New Issue.
  • Change the Issue ID to your preferred Revision Naming Structure. (First time only)
  • Change the Name details to suit your Issue Details
  • Check Override Revision ID of all included Layouts and it will automatically check the Create New Revision in all included layouts. (First time only, all other Issues, select Create New Revision in all included Layouts)

  • Open the Organizer and Select Layouts, Set Tree by current issue.
  • Right Click on Folder / Layout Sheet and Remove Layouts from Current Issue that you are not going to include in the Issue.

  • Close the Issue
  • Publish

Workflow 2 – Design Development / Documentation

In this phase we start to use the Change Tool. We apply changes to individual or groups of layout sheets with Individual Users responsible for the application of changes to Layout Sheets.

  • Update views on Layouts.
  • Create a New Change.
  • Give it a Change ID. We use User Initial and Sequential Number. So we can track who was responsible for the Layout Sheet Issue.
  • We also use a Custom Parameter in Initial for our Revision Object on the Layout Sheet.

  • Open the Change Manager Palette and Drag and Drop the Change onto the relevant Layout Sheets in the Navigator. (You can apply changes to Layout Sheets in a variety of other ways also)

  • The information will appear as follows in the Revision History Object. The date is missing as it is not part of a closed issue.

  • Open a New Issue.
  • Change the Issue ID to your preferred Revision Naming Structure. (First time only)
  • Change the Name details to suit your Issue Details
  • Check Override Revision ID of all included Layouts and it will automatically check the Create New Revision in all included layouts. (First time only, all other Issues, leave both boxes unchecked as there will be drawings that are issued that will not be revised in a number of issues.)

The resulting workflow is a manual process of selecting the sheets that changes are occurring on so it requires the users that make changes to elements contained in views to apply the change to the Layout Sheets that the change has occurred on. At this point in time as the Layout Sheets are not contractual we do not use the Clouding feature of the Change Tool.

Workflow 3 – Tendering / Construction

In this phase we expand our use of the Change Tool to include the Clouding Feature. At this point in time it is critical that we identify the changes clearly to the contractor, as changes to documents will affect the cost of the project. Workflow 2 is followed above except in lieu of dragging changes from the change manager to the Layout Sheets in the Navigator we use the Change Tool and draw Clouds on the Layout Sheets over the views where we have made changes in the model. This is worthy of debate and others prefer applying the Cloud to the model and selecting the elements and applying the change to the elements so that the views are highlighted in the Layout Sheets as changes to be highlighted. I prefer to place the Clouds on the Layout Sheet directly as that is the document that you are issuing and time and care needs to be taken to check that firstly the document requires a cloud and that the cloud isn’t cropped by a view box etc. We also looked at applying the change directly too elements but this becomes quite labor intensive if there are multiple changes occurring.


In Conclusion the workflows that I have discussed above are only a few ways in which you can use the Revision Tool. We may find that these workflows could change as more projects go live on ArchiCAD 18 and we find we need to make changes to suit particular projects.

The one thing I didn’t discuss is Document Transmittals and unfortunately ArchiCAD can’t meet our needs with this part of the process. We have developed a Transmittal Template in Excel that reads a XLS export from ArchiCAD as a workaround. Other than that it works well for us. It will benefit us not only on our large projects but our small ones as well. The one I will endeavor to write another post that covers some of the other great features of the Revision Tool shortly. There are many features including Custom Parameters that you can apply to each Layout Sheet as see below that we haven’t even investigated yet. 

Feel free to discuss your thoughts below on our workflows or talk about how you are using it to meet your needs to help others embrace this great feature.