Nov 15

Video Tutorials for MasterTemplate

By Eric Bobrow | News

We have started to produce a number of video tutorials for MasterTemplate. You’ll find them listed in a drop-down menu under the Support Forum link in the Navigation Area. Each one covers a specific aspect of installation or usage.

  • Installation – how to download and install MasterTemplate, including relinking the Hotlinked Modules and other linked files.
  • Your Company Logo – replace the AMT logo on the Layout sheets with your own company logo.
  • Starting a Project – after saving the customized version of AMT, start a new project from the template, and use the interactive legends to quickly access the kit of parts.

We will be adding to these over the coming days and weeks, as well as revising the QuickStart Guide and Manual. Your comments and suggestions are encouraged!

Nov 09

AMT 13 International Version released

By Eric Bobrow | News

Bobrow Consulting Group is proud to announce the availability of the international version of MasterTemplate 13. After extensive configuration and testing, AMT 13 INT was posted on Thursday November 5, 2009.

AMT 13 INT uses the international ArchiCAD Library, with Interactive Legends (arrays of Favorite parts) and master layouts set up to metric standards. As with all previous versions of MasterTemplate, it may be adapted to any country, regional or office standard.

While preparing AMT 13 INT, a number of additional enhancements were made in the AMT 13 USA version, which has now been updated and reposted.

AMT licensees who purchased after October 1, 2008 are eligible for a free upgrade to AMT 13. Earlier licensees may purchase it for $49 through November 30, 2009; after that point all upgrades will be $75.

To download AMT 13 (USA or INT), please login to the MasterTemplate website ( using your email address as the user name, then click the DOWNLOAD page link in the top navigation bar. One can login to the site using the LOGIN panel at the lower left of the Home page, or directly on the DOWNLOAD page.

New passwords have been set as part of a general site overhaul, and are being emailed to licensees today. If you have not received an email from BCG with your login info, or are having problems logging in to the site, please email for assistance.

The MasterTemplate website Support Forum has been replaced with a system that integrates it more completely with the rest of the site. All posts from the previous forum have been transferred. The download links that were previously part of the Forum are now available on the DOWNLOAD page.

To post a question or comment in the Support Forum, please login (see info above). If you have any questions or need assistance using the new website forum, please email

Oct 11

MasterTemplate for ArchiCAD 13

By Eric Bobrow | News

After several weeks of work, we are proud to release MasterTemplate 13. The new update provides full compatibility with ArchiCAD 13, and also contains new features and revisions based on feedback and suggestions from users as well as our own discoveries and innovations.

The U.S. version is now posted, and the International version is expected to be available later in October.

Here is a summary of the most important new features in AMT 13:

  1. Interactive Legends: We converted the complete Legend kit of parts from the ArchiCAD 12 Library to the ArchiCAD 13 Library. While some elements automatically found their counterparts in the new library, many dozens had to be swapped manually using parameter transfer techniques. Over 400 labels were also updated to reflect the new object names.
  2. The process of Preliminary Design was significantly simplified with the use of new Layer Combinations and View definitions. It is now much easier to go back and forth between the preliminary design model and the Legend kit of parts.
  3. New fills were added including soft insulation, image fills and a DEMO fill (a partial white-out) that makes elements appear dashed.
  4. New composites were created that use ArchiCAD 13’s new soft insulation feature. A methodology was introduced to control visibility of the insulation separately on plan from sections and 3D Documents.
  5. Commercial restrooms in the U.S. version were revised to meet ADA standards. Informative notes were added to show ADA minimums, maximums and other requirements.
  6. A new AMT Work Environment Profile is provided to simplify setup of keyboard shortcuts and other recommended workstation settings.
  7. A variety of other cleanups and fine-tuning has resulted in a tighter, nicer-looking template.

A complete description of the new features, along with instructions for upgrading user-customized versions of MasterTemplate are included in the Release Notes.

New AMT licenses and upgrades include a full year of update coverage. MasterTemplate users who purchased their license or an upgrade after October 1, 2008 will receive free access to AMT 13. Other MasterTemplate users may buy upgrades for $49 USD through October 31, 2009. After that date, AMT upgrades will cost $75 USD.

For more information or to purchase MasterTemplate, please visit or contact your preferred ArchiCAD reseller, distributor or online store.

May 16

MasterTemplate Website and Support Forum Merged

By Eric Bobrow | News

After much deliberation and testing of different website tools and structures, I took the plunge and combined the MasterTemplate website (the site that showcases the template and offers it for sale) with the BCG ArchiCAD Forums (the support board where users ask questions about MasterTemplate and other ArchiCAD Best Practices).

Technically, the Forum is embedded into one page on the MasterTemplate site. However, it has it’s own login and internal navigation links, so it still has the dozens of postings and discussions from the past 20 months. I moved the NEWS postings to the main site, accessible from the NEWS & BLOG tab in the navigation bar at the top of the site. I also created a new Testimonial page that combines many of the wonderful quotes we’ve received from users.

We again are hosting the Daily Tips feed from – check it out from the TIP OF THE DAY link at the top right. These are wonderful quick little nuggets of goodness – you’ll like them!

I believe the new site will provide a better experience for users, and ensure that people who purchase MasterTemplate are easily able to find the Support Forum. It’s been a lot of work merging everything together and reconfiguring it in a coherent way, and I’m still not satisfied with the graphics but it will have to do for now.

Please give us your feedback. We love to hear from you!


Apr 27

MasterTemplate 12.1 Now Online!

By Eric Bobrow | News

MasterTemplate 12.1 (USA version) is now available for download!

Here is a short list of what’s new:

  1. Interactive Legends – greatly expanded with Quick Rooms and Parts Matrixes
  2. Legends – FAST access through a Worksheet using Virtual Trace!
  3. 3D Views and 3D Windows show many of the Legends for study and easier use
  4. Custom Profiles – many new wall profiles show the possibilities
  5. New Fills, Materials, Textures and a smart custom Label
  6. Layers – a few adjustments, new layers and layer combinations

The Release Notes are now posted online at:

The Release Notes are a 23 page document describing what’s new in version 12.1, as well as how to install it and set it up.

I’ve written some guidance on how to upgrade from AMT 12 in two different ways:

1) installing the new template and transferring previous customizations into it, or
2) copying some or all of the new features from the new template into a highly customized template that is already in use.

The version posted April 17 is technically called Release Candidate 1, which means that although it has been tested internally and works nicely, we are requesting feedback from users on anything that may need cleaning up.

Now that I’ve completed the technical description of the new version, my next step is to create marketing materials that explain very simply what’s new and what the benefits are. I’ll also be updating the overall website that describes MasterTemplate, and going back to the original Manual and integrating everything into it.

In parallel, as Scott Bulmer’s schedule allows, we’ll get an International version prepared, as well as finishing up special Legends for Cadimage Tools users.

Somewhere along the line, I’ll be creating promotional materials that we’ll use for our affiliate websites. These are the sites of ArchiCAD resellers and other software distributors such as Objects Online, CAD Garage, Graphisoft West, Cadimage Tools, Object Stop, and others that will be starting to list and sell the MasterTemplate.

I only wish I had more time to devote to this project, so all of this could have been done already!

Jan 26

MasterTemplate User Newsletter

By Eric Bobrow | News

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

Jul 29

MasterTemplate for ArchiCAD 12 – Now Available!

By Eric Bobrow | News

Bobrow Consulting Group is pleased to announce the release of MasterTemplate 12, now fully updated for compatibility with ArchiCAD 12 USA and International versions.

Revisions include modifications of composite walls for use with the new Partial Structure Display; inclusion of some views and examples of 3D Documentation; addition of Curtain Wall components into the Interactive Legends of Visual Favorites; adjustments for compatibility with the new ArchiCAD 12 Library; and miscellaneous fine-tuning. Both USA and INT versions have been prepared for simultaneous release.

The update is a free download for all MasterTemplate licensees. Login to the BCG ArchiCAD Forum, then click the MasterTemplate Download link.

Revisions to the MasterTemplate Manual and Quickstart Guide will be completed in August. Until then, the previous MasterTemplate 1.1 versions are still quite relevant and useful.

Here is a more extensive list of changes to the Template since version 1.1:

2. Deleted layer: C | SLAB | MODELING BASE (TERRAIN).3D.
3. Added layer combination: MODEL | BUILDING ONLY | 3D DOCUMENTATION that allows dimensions to be visible as part of the view.
4. Added layer combination: LAYOUT | REGISTRATION STAMP.
5. Added 3D Document viewport and axo example: AD-01 ANNOTATED 3D DOCUMENT.
6. Created a clone folder for 3D Documents.
7. Placed CUT AWAY-01 ANNOTATED CUT AWAY view onto Layout sheets A.12 ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS in the A SMALL PROJECT EXAMPLE SET, as well as sheet A8.01 in the standard project set.
8. Set the clone folder STRUCTURAL PLANS | DWG to use the Core Only Structure Display setting.
9. Converted all Visual Legends PLN Module objects to ArchiCAD 12 Library parts, and integrated all Legend MOD files into a single PLN file hotlinked into the template, located at the top level of the AMT folder instead of inside the MasterTemplate Library.
10. Deleted Modeling Slabs from EXAMPLE SOURCE SAMPLE and DESTINATION REMODEL PLN files, however they are retained but moved to the C | MESH (TERRAIN).3D layer.
11. Set all composites Structure Display Settings, including Complex Profiles.
12. Added layer: U | PRESENTATION | PLAN + SECTION + ELEVATION.UNIQ to accomodate new Image Fills.
13. Added Image Fills to PRESENTATION DOCUMENT VIEWS (Presentation Site and Floor Plans) in sample projects.
14. Renamed files for legibility and consistency.

Jul 16

MasterTemplate for ArchiCAD 12 – Coming Soon!

By Eric Bobrow | News

BCG is finishing up the updates for MasterTemplate to ensure compatibility with ArchiCAD 12. We expect to be able to post the new version within the next few days.

Revisions include modifications of composite walls for use with the new Partial Structure Display; inclusion of some views and examples of 3D Documentation; addition of Curtain Wall components into the Interactive Legends of Visual Favorites; adjustments for compatibility with the new ArchiCAD 12 Library; and miscellaneous fine-tuning. Both USA and INT versions have been prepared for simultaneous release.

The update is a free download for all MasterTemplate licensees. A notice will be posted when the files are available.

Jun 10

BCG Announces MasterTemplate International Version

By Eric Bobrow | News

Bobrow Consulting Group announces the release of the international version MasterTemplate (AMT). This version of AMT has been reworked to use the international ArchiCAD Library, standard attributes from the Graphisoft international template (pensets, fills, materials, etc.), and metric standards for building components, drawing scales and layout sizes.

To access the international MasterTemplate, please login to the BCG ArchiCAD Forum and visit the MasterTemplate download page.