Archicad’s Flexible Licensing Fits Many Needs

Tracie Simmons ArchiCAD

One thing is for certain – no two architecture firms are alike. The projects you work on, the size of your practice, the type of clients you work for; these and many other factors determine how you approach design and what tools you will use.

In developing ARCHICAD Graphisoft has always taken into account the many facets of architecture. From design through documentation, ARCHICAD is an amazing tool for projects ranging from residential remodels to skyscrapers.

Over the years the type of licensing has also evolved. With Graphisoft’s newest subscription offering, firms have the ultimate flexibility. Now you can purchase or subscribe to ARCHICAD or manage a combination of the two.

To determine the best option for your firm, there are two primary decisions to make. Which version of ARCHICAD is right for you? What type of license do you prefer?


When deciding whether ARCHICAD or ARCHICAD Solo is right for your firm, it’s important to take a few things into consideration.

  1. Are you part of a team or are you a sole practitioner?
  2. Will you collaborate with other firms or teams using ARCHICAD?
  3. What types of projects do you work on?
  4. Are high end renderings important to you?

The biggest difference between ARCHICAD and ARCHICAD Solo is the Teamwork functionality. If you are working with teams, ARCHICAD is definitely the best option as it has a robust Teamwork tool and BIM Server options that make working together seamless. ARCHICAD also includes the ability to manage x-referencing of DWG/Autocad files as well as hotlink ARCHICAD models. ARCHICAD Solo can view x-refs but not create or change them.

Both versions of ARCHICAD include the ability to render.  ARCHICAD includes the Cinerender engine which provides full light simulation with better quality renderings; Solo’s renderings are a bit more muted. If high end rendering is the only capability that you’d miss from the full version, you can always look to Artlantis or other rendering software for this feature.

ARCHICAD is appropriate for all project types from residential to complex commercial, hospitals, schools or any other project type. If you are a sole practitioner or home builder, the Solo edition of ARCHICAD may be all you need.

Purchase vs. Subscription

There are a few things to consider when deciding if you’d prefer to own or subscribe to ARCHICAD. While owning ARCHICAD is a bigger expense up front, there is a peace of mind that comes with the fact that you own your software, forever. You decide if you want you want a service agreement or when you want to upgrade. Over the long haul, purchasing the software is also less expensive.

With the new Subscription offering the up front cost is less but the long-term cost can be greater. You can turn your subscription on and off as needed. Yet in order to open and work on your projects you must have an active Subscription. This option is excellent if you have a short-term need for ARCHICAD such as fluctuating workflows or a summer intern.

Sometimes a combination of owning and subscribing to ARCHICAD is the best option for your firm.

A Simple Comparison

For a quick look on how these versions compare, we’ve created a simple overview.

If you’d like a private demo of ARCHICAD or would like to talk about which option is best for you, please connect with us for your free consultation: 800-522-0554 or