Autocount allows the software to search for and count identified symbols on a plan page.
To use autocount:
- Create a Count type takeoff, and select Autocount from the takeoff menu on the right-hand toolbar
2. Draw a box around the symbol you want to find by clicking once in the upper left corner, and then double-clicking in the lower right and corner (just like using the rectangle tool).
3. You will see "Autocount in progress" appear at the top of the screen. You can close this and continue to work. You will also notice a Pending notification at the bell icon (clicking the bell to view the notification is optional). Clicking the name of the takeoff inside the notification window will take you to the page the autocount was started on.
You can continue with other takeoffs, start another autocount on the same page, or on another page. Autocount will run in the background, you do not have to wait for the results.
When finished, the system will place counts on each of the symbols and update the takeoff quantity.
Choosing a Template Symbol
It is important to choose a good template symbol, otherwise you may not get the results you are expecting.
A good template symbol is as "clean" as possible. This means it isn't in a busy area of the plan, without intersecting lines, arrows, or other elements passing through or touching the symbol.
Here is an example of a poor symbol. It has lines passing through and touching it. It is difficult to draw a box that isolates this symbol from the other information around it.
Here is an example of a good template symbol. There are no intersecting elements, or background pattern.
Sometimes Autocount will work perfectly. It will find every symbol on the first try.Other times, you will need a good search strategy in order to be successful.
Consider Running Multiple Searches
Sometimes the same symbol will appear very differently on different parts of the plan.
For example, both of these triangles represent the same thing, and are used on the same plan page.
In this case, searching first for one triangle and then searching again to capture the second triangle successfully counts nearly all the symbols. This strategy also helps when a symbol appears over different background patterns. For example, all the symbols below represent the same thing.
Running three different searches for this symbol, one for each background pattern, is more effective that a single search.
Don't Search Directly from the Legend
It's tempting to draw a box around a "clean" symbol template from a legend or schedule. Unfortunately, this usually will not work. Often times, the architect shrinks (or enlarges) the symbol inside of the legend. Autocount doesn't understand these smaller symbols are the same as the larger symbols used on the plans, and won't find them.
Search for only a Portion of Large Symbols
Trees and shrubs will often appear very large on the plans. These large symbols frequently overlap other elements and are tough to search for. See how this tree overlaps a roadway and a couple other trees, making it difficult to select a clean template.
The solution is to select only a portion of the tree. By selecting only the orange highlighted area as the search template, autocount was able to find almost all of the trees on the plan.
Before running an Autocount, what can I look for to determine the likelihood of success?
Check for Rotated Symbols
Autocount will automatically look for any symbols that are rotated at any 90 degree angle from the template you select. Any symbols rotated at a different angle, though, may not be found. This happens a lot on irrigation pipping - the symbols will be rotated to follow the pipe.
Here is an example. These sprinkler heads (triangles) are rotated slightly. Searching for one will not find the others.
Check the Page Resolution
Zoom in on your page. Does the page quickly start to look grainy or blurry? If so, it is a low-resolution image and may not yield good search results.
In this example, I have zoomed in on the page. See how the numbers have become hard to read, and the edges of the symbols look like a blocks instead of smooth? This is a low-resolution image. Autocount will not work well on this page.
Deleting: Use the edit arrow (or multi-select) to highlight a mis-count, and then press Delete on your keyboard (or click the trash can icon in the edit menu).
To Add Counts: You can either start another auto count, or manually count any symbols missed. To manually count, click Count and then click the mouse on any missed symbols
To Start Over: If auto count goes terribly wrong, it may be quicker to delete the takeoff and start over. Click on the name of the takeoff to access the sub-menu. Then click Delete.