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ARCHICAD 21 First CAD or BIM App with Apple Touch Bar Support

ARCHICAD’s incorporation of Apple’s Touch Bar support for its latest MacBook Pro will likely spur on a catch-up race with other major and minor CAD developers. We explain why.


GRAPHISOFT—Adding the Magic Touch

The Apple Touch Bar is the Mac-maker’s innovative new feature on the latest MacBook Pro laptops and one technology rumored to extend to other future Macs. GRAPHISOFT has earned the honor of being first to the CAD and BIM market with the Touch Bar supported in its latest offering.


In the just announced ARCHICAD 21, the Hungarian software maker had much bigger news to tout about than its support of Apple’s latest cool thing, but quietly tucked away in this major annual release is the Touch Bar support that will likely make many of its Mac users quite pleased.

Key Takeaways

  • GRAPHISOFT is the first major CAD or BIM software maker to add specific support for Apple’s new Touch Bar in the new MacBook Pro.
  • ARCHICAD 21 gains useful new functionality via Touch Bar, streamlining common operations that involve drawings and BIM model navigation as well as quick access to object settings. 
  • In ARCHICAD 21 even provides Touch Bar support to its GDL scripting environment, a bonus to the small percentage of users who do serious scripting customization work, and to third-party developers and even its own developers. 


Touch Bar Details in ARCHICAD 21

The Apple Touch Bar in MacBook Pro is a thin strip of a touch display that dynamically changes based on the context of what software is running on the MacBook Pro and what part of the application is currently the focus.

01 – This view of the Touch Bar in the Apple MacBook Pro running ARCHICAD 21 shows icon choices that let you navigate between stories (see left side of bar) as well as jump to 3D view mode.

As can be seen in the images above the Touch Bar’s icons (buttons) change depending on what part of the BIM application you are in. If you are in 3D model you have different options. If you are looking at drawings the options change again.

Here is what users can do:

  • 2D and 3D Navigation — users can quickly navigate between 2D projections (drawing views) and the 3D views of the BIM model.
  • Stories Navigation — users can switch between stories in multi-storied buildings when in drawings view.
  • Context-aware Object Editing — users can quickly edit Settings dialogs for objects in a contextually aware manner, including editing functions that immediately let users edit the model via the object at hand.
  • Properties Dialogs — shortcut selections on the Touch Bar take the user into ARCHICAD 21’s primary settings dialogs.
  • GDL Scripting Support — users gain shortcuts for GDL scripting tools built into the BIM program, such as a run script and validation button.

The F1 – F12 legacy function keys can still be customized with ARCHICAD just as before and the user can switch between them and the Touch Bar. Of all the new Touch Bar features, the one that may get the most use is stories navigation buttons, where the user can go up or down a building’s story views.

Analysis and Commentary

It is hardly surprising to find GRAPHISOFT first to the CAD market with Touch Bar support, the Budapest-based AEC software maker has a passionate and storied history involving Apple.

MORE: Just An Emoji Gimmick?—CAD Developers Weigh In on Apple’s Touch Bar

When we queried CAD developers back in December of last year how they thought about the Touch Bar’s practicality and use in CAD the response was pretty consistent and positive. Here are some other thoughts:

  • When we queried CAD developers back in December of last year how they thought about the Touch Bar’s practicality and use in CAD the response was pretty consistent and positive. See this link
  • There are already rumors of future MacBook Pros having the entire lower keyboard area a giant touch bar zone, eliminating the physical keyboard for a haptic feedback, combo screen-based keyboard and touch pad area that would support Apple Pencil. See this link
  • We know from GRAPHISOFT’s sister company, Vectorworks, Inc., is also “exploring” the many ways users can streamline workflows with touch-based technology like this. We see Autodesk, one of the strongest Apple developers in the world, supporting the Touch Bar at some point as well—likely with its next update to AutoCAD for Mac.  


Watch The Video

In the video above you can see the new Apple Touch Bar for the latest MacBook Pro from Apple working with the new Touch Bar features in ARCHICAD 21.

To learn more about ARCHICAD 21 go here.


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