January 26

MasterTemplate User Newsletter


Thank you for your interest in MasterTemplate (AMT). We at Bobrow Consulting Group are pleased to report that in 15 months well over 200 licenses of MasterTemplate have been purchased by ArchiCAD users around the world.

Today I have three things to tell you. One is a technical notice about a bug in ArchiCAD that may cause problems for MasterTemplate users. [NOTE: This bug was corrected by Graphisoft in the March 2009 Hotfix.] The second is to announce an upcoming update to MasterTemplate, and request your input and suggestions for what you’d like to see. The third is to request feedback on how MasterTemplate has affected your work in ArchiCAD, hopefully for the better.

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1. TECHNICAL BULLETIN – A Bug that may Cause Issues for MasterTemplate Users

[NOTE: This bug was corrected in the March 2009 Hotfix – this blog entry has been retained for historical purposes.]

Periodically this past fall we heard comments that the Autosave functionality in ArchiCAD 12 was broken. Users reported that when they crashed, and tried to open the Autosave Temporary file, that ArchiCAD would hang during the process, and that they had to go back to an earlier saved version of their project, sometimes losing a significant amount of work. Since the reports were sporadic, we assumed that Graphisoft would eventually find and fix the problem.

However, in late December one of our clients told us that this problem occurred in projects based on MasterTemplate, and not on others started before they purchased the template. This made me concerned, so I spent several hours troubleshooting and finally narrowed down the problem.

It turns out that any project file that uses a Hotlinked Module that has a skylight in it will hang when attempting to open the Autosave file after a crash. Graphisoft has now confirmed this as a bug.

Since MasterTemplate’s Legend file is a kit of parts that includes a skylight, this triggers the bug, and after a crash, the Autosave file will not open successfully.

The simple solution is to open up the MasterTemplate Legend PLN file, find and delete the skylight, and resave the PLN. The next time the template is used to start a project, or any active project based on MasterTemplate is opened, you’ll get a message that the Hotlinked Module is out of date and needs to be refreshed. Go ahead and tell it (using the File menu > External Content > Hotlink Manager) to update the Hotlink for the Legend, and then that PLN file will be OK. Update of the hotlink for each project once, the next time you open them, and all will be well.

We expect Graphisoft to fix this bug in an upcoming hotfix, however we do not have any estimate as to the date this will be released.

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2. MasterTemplate UPDATE – Coming Soon!

BCG has several significant ideas to improve MasterTemplate. I’ll briefly outline them, then will request your input. All of these will be made available in two ways. We will provide new downloads, for those who would like to start with the official distribution of AMT then reimport their title block and make other modest customizations. For others who have customized AMT extensively, we will include detailed instructions for how to add these features into your own version of template.

a. We will improve the speed of accessing the Legend by referencing it as a Virtual Trace from a Worksheet. This simple change will allow keyboard shortcuts to jump to the Legend (for pickup of element settings using the eye-dropper) and back again. This will cut in half the time and effort of using the Legend!

b. We will extend the concept of the Interactive Legend of Visual Favorites by setting up a number of worksheets, Each one will have objects for one room or area, such as kitchen, bath, bedroom, living room, site and landscaping, commercial restroom, etc. Worksheets are 2D of course, and only allow 2D elements plus objects – but these objects can include all their 3D parameters. These room groupings will be supplied as separate MOD files, but will also be embedded into the TPL file into individual worksheets.

c. We will pare down the actual TPL file to make it somewhat smaller, by removing some of the instructional materials and examples. These will continue to be included in the SAMPLE project files, but aren’t needed in the TPL.

d. We expect to finally work with Cadimage to make a version of MasterTemplate that can take advantage of their add-on products, including Window and DoorBuilder, Key Notes, etc. I’m hopeful this can be done at the same time as the rest of this update, but it may have to be released slightly later depending on how much time and effort is required.

e. I will rewrite the manual for MasterTemplate, to improve it’s organization, legibility, graphic style and make sure it is fully up to date and as complete as possible.

f. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Please share them with us. We’d like to make MasterTemplate as fine a product as it can be. Don’t delay – tell us now! We’re about to start work on this update, and may be able to include your ideas!

The release date for this update is not set, however we will be starting work on it shortly and hope to finish it within a few weeks.

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3. FEEDBACK and TESTIMONIALS – Tell us What You Think!

Many of you have written very nice notes telling us how much you enjoy MasterTemplate. We’d like to hear from more of you. Have you been able to get your work done more quickly? Has AMT helped you to understand ArchiCAD better, and take advantage of more of its features and possibilities? Do you feel more organized?

We’ll be creating a separate page on the MasterTemplate website with testimonials, and want to get as many of your comments as we can. If you wish, we’ll use your name and can even post your picture – or you can share your thoughts with us but remain anonymous.

Of course, if you have constructive criticism or suggestions, by all means, give them to us. We want to hear from you, whatever you have to say!

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Thanks again for your interest in MasterTemplate.

We look forward to continuing to work with you for a long time!

Best regards,
Eric Bobrow, Principal, Bobrow Consulting Group


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  1. Hi Stephen –

    It’s on the top of my agenda now. After posting the basic files for the USA version last Friday night, I took the weekend off to celebrate my birthday. Then I wrote an article on Virtual Building Explorer for AECbytes which will be published tomorrow.

    Now I’m able to focus again on AMT, and should have something posted by the end of the week.

  2. Chris –
    It’s pretty much done, but I ran out of time last week to get it posted with instructions and documentation before my trip to the Graphisoft International Partners Conference in Malta. I’m at the conference for the next two days, and will get it posted later this week. My apologies for the delay.
    – Eric

  3. Any updates on a release date for the template update? – I saw that you were demonstrating it at a user group meeting a week or so ago.
    – Chris Belanger

  4. Giorgis –

    Most of the pieces of the new template have been completed, and I expect to spend much of the next week or two putting them together. So at this point, we’re aiming for release in March, hopefully within the next 2 weeks or so.

    The release will be supplied both as a full download (for those who are starting fresh, either new purchasers or those who have not done much customization), and as component parts with instructions. We’ll outline the best ways to integrate the new components into your customized version of MasterTemplate so that you don’t lose your previous work, and can gain the benefits of the new features.

    – Eric

  5. Hi Eric,
    a couple of questions:
    1. when the new release is expected?
    2. if someone (me) makes extended customization to the curent template will it be easy not to lose all the previous work and update? (mean translation of viewsets, layernames & combos, layout names, translating=renaming in general).


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