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From AutoCAD to ArchiCAD – Step 2 : Training and Familiarization.


The transition from AutoCAD to ArchiCAD can be a transformative move for architecture firms, offering enhanced capabilities and more efficient workflows. However, this change can also bring about resistance and apprehension among team members. This article delves into strategies for successful training and familiarization, ensuring a smooth transition that maximizes the benefits of ArchiCAD. 

Understanding the New Environment 

Before diving into the technical aspects, it’s crucial to understand the fundamental differences between AutoCAD and ArchiCAD. Unlike AutoCAD, which primarily deals with 2D drafting, ArchiCAD leverages Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology, allowing for a more integrated and parametric approach to design. Familiarizing the team with BIM concepts and the robust capabilities of ArchiCAD is the first step in alleviating concerns and highlighting the benefits of the transition. 

Creating a Fun and Engaging Training Program 

Resistance to change is natural, especially when it involves learning new software. To mitigate this, making the training process enjoyable can be incredibly effective. Instead of diving straight into production-related tasks, consider starting with fun projects that stimulate creativity without the pressure of client deadlines. For example, designing a fantasy building, a beach house, or even a detailed dog house can make the learning process more engaging and less stressful. This approach not only reduces anxiety but also fosters a positive learning environment. 

Structured Training Steps 

  1. Understanding Parametric Technology: Begin with an overview of BIM and parametric modeling to set a solid foundation. Explain how these concepts differ from traditional CAD and why they are beneficial for modern architectural practices. 
  1. Highlighting Differences Between AutoCAD and ArchiCAD: Provide a macro-level comparison of the two platforms. Emphasize the advantages of ArchiCAD, such as its intuitive user interface, enhanced collaboration tools, and automated documentation capabilities. 
  1. Hands-On Training and Certification: Organize structured training sessions, ideally spread over a few weeks. For AutoCAD users with limited BIM experience, two four-hour sessions combined with supplementary materials (like tutorial videos and hands-on assignments) can be highly effective. For those transitioning from other BIM software like Revit, the training time might be significantly reduced due to their familiarity with similar concepts. 

Leveraging Resources 

Utilizing available resources can significantly enhance the training process. ArchiCAD offers demo software and example files that can serve as practical learning tools. Additionally, the extensive help documentation and forums provided by Graphisoft are invaluable for troubleshooting and expanding knowledge. 

Encouraging Leadership Involvement 

Active participation from leadership can greatly influence the success of the transition. When principals and senior architects engage with the new software, it not only boosts their understanding but also sets a positive example for the rest of the team. Their involvement can help address concerns, facilitate smoother communication, and drive overall adoption. 


Transitioning from AutoCAD to ArchiCAD is a significant step that can lead to substantial improvements in efficiency and project outcomes. By creating a fun, engaging, and well-structured training program, firms can overcome resistance and ensure that their teams are well-prepared to leverage the full potential of ArchiCAD. This approach not only fosters a smoother transition but also enhances the overall productivity and satisfaction of the team. 

Through strategic planning and dedicated effort, architecture firms can successfully navigate the complexities of this transition, ultimately achieving greater success and innovation in their projects.